Costa Rica does have a great bus system, but we strongly recommend renting a car. And more specifically a 4x4. Can you get here by bus? Yes. Is it convenient and user friendly if you don’t know Costa Rica? No. Can you hire taxis? Yes. Are they expensive? Yes. Are they hard to schedule? Yes.
Outside San Jose, things are spread out. Walking to things can involve hills and stretches along the highway. A 4x4 gives you the freedom to explore when you want and where you want. You can get to Alma in a regular car, but you will want to go places that do require a 4x4.
For travel times and distances from points in Costa Rica you can use different tools. Examples are yourtravelmap.com, waze.com or googlemaps.com. We think Waze works the best here and around the world. If you use Waze, you can use this link:
You can also use the lon/lat within the link with other programs or GPS units
From SJO to Alma de Ojochal
There are two main routes from San Jose, but we recommend the new toll highway (Hwy 27) & coastal road (Hwy 34) which takes 3.5 to 4 hour from San Jose International Airport.
Travel on Route 1 beside the airport toward San Jose for a little over 11 kilometers. Exit to Route 39 toward Hatillo/Escazu for approximately 2 kilometers. Exit Route 27 toward Escazu/Orotina/Jaco. (There is a quicker way to 27 if you are familiar and comfortable with Costa Rican roads or have GPS/Waze.) Route 27 is a toll road, so best to have about 2000 colones with you. After 58 kilometers on Route 27 exit Route 34 toward Jaco. You are now on the Costanera highway. You will travel approximately 170 kilometers to our exit. You will pass through Dominical, Uvita and see the sign to enter Ojochal. Pass this left and continue on the Costanera over a bridge and take the next left. You will see painted wooden signs for El Castillo, Azul and Alma. Turn left at the signs. (If you pass Restaurante Boca Coronado on your right, you missed it.) You will come 1 km up the road and see another sign for Alma at the entrance to the drive. Up the drive and you have arrived...and that calls for a cocktail.
From Palmar Sur or the South to Castillo
Drive north on the Costanera from Palmar Norte. This is where the Costanera begins. You will drive approximately 30 kilometers and see signs for Ojochal. You will pass Restaurante Boca Coronado on your left and take the next right up the mountain. (If you see the entrance to Ojochal shortly after a bridge, you missed the turn.) 1 km, you will see a sign at the bottom of the drive. You have arrived.