Driving Directions: Jaco Beach to (and from) the SJO international Airport
First is a piece of driving advice. There are signs everywhere that are upside down triangles that say Ceda al paso which means to yield to oncoming traffic. There are a bunch of one way bridges on the way to Jaco and if you see one of the signs then you have to wait for all the oncoming traffic to pass before you are to go. So here it goes…
From the airport if you were to walk out of the terminal then you will see the highway directly in front of you. Make a mental note that Jaco is to the left and San Jose is to the right. So if you take a taxi or shuttle to get a rental car then make sure that you are heading toward Jaco since a lot of people make the mistake of going into San Jose instead. If you pick up a rental car from the airport then exit the airport and take the first off ramp only a few hundred meters ahead on the right side that points to Alajuela. That will spin you around and point you in the opposite direction heading toward Jaco. Immediately you have to merge onto another road and you want to stay in the left lane that has a sign pointing to San Ramon. Don’t go to the right where the sign points to Alejuela.
If you take a taxi or shuttle to the rental car place then you will most likely head toward San Jose. So once you get your car then get back on the highway and head back toward the airport. As you are approaching the airport the two left lanes will take you to the airport and the right lane will keep you on the highway where you want to go but make sure that you don’t take the first exit to the right that points to Alajuela.
From there it's going to take you about 8-10 minutes to where you have to exit on the right side for which there are many signs pointing to La Garita, Punta Leona, Orotina and a bunch of other towns and resorts. Once you exit, you're going to turn left and go over the small bridge. There is a sign that points you toward Los Suenos and Jaco.
Now you need to pay attention because after about 5 minutes after you made that left turn you will see a soccer field on your left side where you need to make a left turn. Once you make the left you will go down that small road for about 5 minutes until you see the toll road. Turn left right before you go under the highway and when you get to the traffic circle make two quick rights to get on the road toward Jaco (West).
You will hit a toll booth in about 5-10 minutes and the fee should be around 625 Colones ($1.25). The tolls range from 90 cents (450 Colones) to $1.25 (625 Colones) and you can pay with dollars if you do not have Colones and they will give you change in Colones.
After about 15 minutes you will hit the 2nd (and last) toll booth. After the toll you will immediately merge to the right to get off the highway onto the coastal road. There is a sign pointing to Jaco.
Returning to the airport
Exit Jaco and turn left. After about 30 minutes you will exit right following the signs pointing to San Jose and Orotina. Immediately you will have to pay a toll. About 15 minutes later you will have to pay another toll and about 5 minutes beyond that you will exit where the sign points to La Garita/ Turrucares. When you exit right (click on the diagram or here to see a map) you need to go around the traffic circle and head left back under the highway. Then on the other side of the tunnel you want to head left so go around this traffic circle to head left but don’t get back on the highway heading back to Jaco. Then the road will immediately come to a T where you make a right.
Follow this small road for about 5 minutes until it comes to a T and turn right. After about 5 minutes you will see a sign for the airport pointing to the right and you will exit onto this 4 lane highway. After about 10 minutes you will see the exit for the airport.