Keep in mind that rates quoted online generally do not include any sort of insurance (which is sometimes even more than the rental rate) and that the car rental companies will definitely require proof of coverage elsewhere before agreeing to let you wave any insurance coverage they will sell you.
Driving directions / GPS: N 9° 37' 40.57", W 82° 39' 47.43" - Congo Bongo, Manzanillo
Driving to Congo-Bongo Manzanillo from San José is really easy (except for road conditions at times).
From the airport you drive for about 8 km in direction to San José. On your right hand the Hospital Mexico will appear. After the Hospital Mexico, you must take the exit La Uruca. Take the third exit in the roundabout. Turn right at the traffic lights, then you’ll have the cookies factory (you'll smell it!) Pozuelo on your left hand. Follow San José, keep the middle lane as much as possible.
After the garage Mercedes/Jeep/Chrysler you will see a Shell gas station at a Y- junction, keep left. Take the exit Guapiles-Limón. Follow the road (nr. 32) direction Puerto Limón or ask a taxi driver to show you the road if you are in San José and pay him some coins.
You will first go through the mountains and will be very high up. It is likely that you will encounter fog (clouds) and rain. Please drive with your lights on. Half of the local drivers do not. The drive through the mountains is beautiful. You will see many nice views and real tropical rain forest. After the mountains the road to Puerto Limón is practically straight with no hills.
When you reach Puerto Limón, just before you enter the city center you will see a sign (at the Texaco Station) where you turn right to go to Puerto Viejo. If you need gas, this is a good place to get it. There are no “legal” gas stations in Puerto Viejo; but in Hone Creek about 5km (3 miles) before entering Puerto Viejo there is. From that sign you just follow the coast all the way down.
After about 1 hour of driving, you will come to the little town called Hone Creek. At that point continue the paved road about 5 km into Puerto Viejo. Just before Puerto Viejo you will find Playa Negra. To get to the communities of Cocles, Playa Chiquita, Punta Uva and Manzanillo, drive through Puerto Viejo and continue following the beach road. Congo-Bongo is 12 km (7 miles) after Puerto Viejo on the beach side you will see the sign there just before entering Manzanillo.
Please note that if you have not left San José by 2:00pm in afternoon, you will be driving part of the way at night. We do not recommend this for first time travelers driving in Costa Rica. Roads do not have lines. Rain can be bad and there are potholes and people walking/cycling that you can not see very well.
If you arrive late just stay that night in a good hotel Hotel Grano De Oro and on the way back as well if your flight is leaving very early that morning just leave the day before and stay in this great hotel to be relax on your travel time.