Getting to Costa Rica is getting easier every year. The Juan Santa Maria International Airport is a modern airport just outside the capital city of San Jose and is the country’s largest airport offering many non-stop flights to and from popular American and European cities. North American travellers to Costa Rica appreciate accessibility with no jetlag. Situated in the Central Standard time zone, the time in Costa Rica varies by no more than two hours from any U.S. location.

Getting to the Pura Vida Ecolodge Reserve is effortless. You can catch a local forty-minute flight from San José to Palmar Sur via either SANSA (from San José International Airport) or via Nature Air (from San José Municipal Airport) or an even shorter flight to Quepos. These flights arrive at Palmar Sur in the morning and at Quepos throughout the day. You can have a rental car (always rent a 4x4 not an AWD in Costa Rica) arranged for your arrival. A 20-minute scenic ride along the paved coastal road (passing the new 'ultra-modern' 85,000ft2 hospital in Cortez) will take you to the village of Coronado. From there it is a bumpy (4x4 only) but short and beautiful drive up to our mountain estate. Please note that (for privacy reasons) we are not signposted; make sure to bring the directions you receive after making your reservation.

If you wish to explore more of Costa Rica’s scenery, you may want to rent a car at one of many international rental car agencies in San José downtown or at the airport. With recent improvements in the road infrastructure the drive from San José to Pura Vida Ecolodge takes between 3 and 4 hours, depending on time of day, the season (dry or rainy) and which of the two scenic routes you choose:

Go by way of Jaco and Quepos and enjoy the coffee plantations, ranches, and palm plantations – with a stop near Carara National Park and observe the crocodiles lazing in the river. Or, go south from San Jose, by way of historic Cartago, the scenic and lush mountain area of Chirripo (Quetzal area, Costa Rica’s most famous bird), and onto southern Costa Rica’s gateway town of San Isidro.

Either way, you’ll enjoy Costa Rica’s natural diversity, as well as the opportunity to stop for some local cuisine and several arts and crafts shops.



Sansa Air ( or Nature Air (

Palma Sur – Flight time from San Jose 45 minutes (approx)

Daily flights (SJO to Palmar Sur) 10 am – Prices start from $70 Daily flights (Palmar Sur to SJO) 10.20 am – Prices start from $70

Quepos – Flight time from San Jose 22 minutes (approx)

4 flights a day (SJO to Quepos) – Prices start from $50 8 am, 11:05 am, 12:42 pm, 3:16 pm 4 flights a day (Quepos to SJO) – Prices start from $50 8:32 am, 11:37 am, 1:28 pm, 3:56 pm



We highly recommend Vamos Rent-A-Car, one of Costa Rica's best 4x4 specialist rental companies.. Please be sure to mention Pura Vida Ecolodge when reserving to benefit from the best possible deal. (They will also price match if you find a better deal elsewhere). There is also Rioja Rental, Alamo Car Rental & Hertz as well as a plethora of other rental companies, some of which have offices in the nearby Uvita, should there be a problem. Prices typically start from: Jimmy 4x4 - $50.00 a day inc basic insurance & tax, Daihatsu Terios - $60.00 a day inc basic insurance & tax, Rav 4 - $80.00 a day inc basic insurance & tax, Fortuner - $110.00 a day inc basic insurance & tax. Please bear in mind that availability runs out quickly as the peak season approaches. We also recommend that you take Fully Comp car insurance.

Taxis and ‘meet & greet’ services also available from both Quepos & Palmar Sur airports as well as the Coronado crossroads (with the Costanera Sur Highway) Please enquire for further details.



The road conditions may differ a lot from what you are used from your country. Some of the roads are not paved in Costa Rica and potholes are very common. A big limb on the road may indicate a pothole or another kind of obstacle on the road.

Costa Rica is a mountainous country. Often it is necessary to drive through the mountains on small, curvy roads. That is why a journey often takes longer than it looked on the map. In addition there are other obstacles, like trucks, that slow down the traffic. Especially the loaded trucks that come from the ports of Limon or Caldera and head to San Jose often create long lines behind them. The curvy roads makes overtaking even more difficult.

For  more useful tips on driving in Costa Rica, including maps, estimated route times, driving at night, taffic laws etc please visit the Your Travel Map using the following link:



All of our guests are sent the Pura Vida Ecolodge 'welcome pack part one' shortly after confirming their reservation and then will receive 'part two' 2-3 weeks before they arrive. The packs includes directions to the jungle villa as well as a very useful 'landmark photo map' clearly illustrating both how to arrive at the Pura Vida Ecolodge retreat and what is on our doorstep. Nowadays, there are two routes from the Costanera Sur, the shorter route is from Coronado and has recently been re-surfaced in part by the local Municipality whereas the longer option leaves from Puntamala, shortly after Ojochal.

In the welcome packs, guests will also find some valuable tips for 'living the pura vida' at our retreat, as well as some useful local telephone numbers, notes on internet connection, water supply, heating, laundry service, tours & excursions, local beaches and of course the 'what to bring with you to Costa Rica' list. 

NOTE: We do advise all guests to try and arrive on their first day before sunset so that they can familiarize themselves with the area, the route up to the lodge and the various landmarks along the way.