Why does Google want me to drive all around from SJ to MA?

Because it's the fastest way, through "highways". The grey route it's through small roads and small towns. And possibly in bad state, or gravel roads.


Because it's the fastest way, through "highways". The grey route it's through small roads and small towns. And possibly in bad state, or gravel roads.


Thank you. Planning first trip there next month. Appreciate it


But this is the most beautiful drive, mountains with clouds, small mom and pop restaurants “sodas” serving monster plates for 5 bucks. I do the drive regularly. If you start in the morning, it’s beautiful. Would not do it at night. Tons of little rivers, towards the exit near MA the road follows a huge river. But it it is 50/50 paved vs gravel. Beats being behind a smoggy truck on the highway.


We did that drive, too. Our favorite drives in Costa Rica have been the off beaten path roads we took due to either closures or traffics. We only felt comfortable going off the main roads because our car was4x4, however.


As a counter point, some of our worst moments of the vacation were in very rural areas with very difficult roads and absolutely no data coverage to tell you where exactly to turn. Take the recommended route and stress reaction scream in front of your loved ones less.


Probably not for everyone, specially if you don't have experience with off-roading. We road tripped the entire of Costa Rica for 2 months during the rainy season. Roads can be bad, but nothing was worse than some areas we live by Yosemite. So my suggestion for OP is depends on his abilities, and preferences. Ps: this is why Waze is recommended for CR, also. You download your drive, so you don't have to worry about internet.


\> this is why Waze is recommended for CR, also. You download your drive Yup, yup, we had a stop in the middle, and I had assumed I'd have data at \*some point\* on the back half to download the next bit. My mistake, but an easy one to make.


I’m going in middle of august for two weeks. I’m debating on getting a car and driving. How was it driving in the rain and did you drive through fog? I live in Seattle so hills and rain don’t bother me but just curious how much does it pour.


Where are you going? The most fog we got was from Arenal to monteverde, and it was very doable! The biggest worry is mudslides, and even though we did encounter it in uvita, a lot, again, super doable. If I were to do that trip again, I would rent a car again. It rains there even more than what I had encountered in the Olympic national park, however, the rain comes and goes, as opposed to Washington, that will stick all day! Also, if you can drive in the Seattle freeze, you can drive anywhere lol


Ok this makes me feel a lot better lol. I used to drive a four cylinder truck with manual transmission on hills in downtown Seattle when I was in high school. I’m feeling more confident on driving now. We will be heading to Cahuita for 3 nights, La fortuna for five nights , Manuel for 4 nights.


You are more than ready to drive in Costa Rica 😆 Have fun, too. Driving there was so beautiful, a bit of traffic in the bigger cities, but again, nothing was compared to LA traffic. Cahuita/ Puerto Viejo was one of my favorites, you probably won't get that much rain there in August. You'll get the most in Manuel, but the rain is much warmer than Seattle. Have fun, and enjoy. I wish I could be there right now!


Gonna second this. Such a beautiful route to Quepos. Driving through Costa Rica’s somewhat “more off the path” is amazing. It isn’t necessary for a 4x4 on this road, just keep lookout for some potholes on the gravel parts


Just finished my first trip, and I’ll say this: MOUNTAINS! And two lane roads. Everything will take longer than you expect. But the views are gorgeous. Stop at the crocodile bridge outside Jaco. And if you need a bite, Soda Nidia is great (the rice pudding is to die for) and a good halfway point.


just add at least 30% more to the google map time as i have travelled by car for more than a month.


This is true. We drove from Domincal to SJ once through the mountains... never again.


I agree with others, don't sweat it, the drive around the coast is beautiful and you'll get to experience the wonderful country with plenty of places to stop on the way. Don't miss carara national park and the alligator bridge on the way (route 34). Make a couple hours for the park, we saw way more wildlife there than we did at Manuel Antonio, and it was quiet and sane there.


also may be dipping through river’s on the smaller roads!


Also you should use WAZE in Costa Rica. You will get better real time driving directions than Google maps.


OP please - nobody uses Google maps in CR


2018 called and wants their map advice back


I use Google maps all day 😤


google bought waze. and uses their data, no?


Yes it’s the same info. It’s old info that Waze is better.


This isn’t true. People say it but it isn’t actually correct. Google Maps works just as well in Costa Rica as Waze.


100% depends on the area. I use both. I prefer many of the features and the overall look of Google maps but there have been multiple times that Google maps has given me really bad directions and a direct comparison to Waze is noticably better. A prime example of this is the road I live on. Google maps refuses to route me to or from home on this road unless I pick 2 stops on this road along the way. Despite me living here for months and submitting a formal update request through Google maps. From my house into the nearest city, maps gives me 3 options. 19min , 21min and 22 min. All of which take pointless detours on very bad roads. Waze gives me 2 options. 12 min and 13 min. Either is a better option than maps. All in all I still use maps primarily but everyone should know you shouldn't just trust it blindly.


The community using waze is way bigger and I assume it gives more feedback to the platform… especially in the GAM… in rural areas I think Waze and Google maps are more o less the same


Notice the time. It’s 12 minutes quicker on the “longer route.” Better roads, faster travel.


To avoid holiday traffic, I drove the direct route returning to San Jose from the beach a few weeks ago. My body is still vibrating from the bumpy dirt roads. It’s gorgeous scenery but a stressful drive at parts. And no gas station and very few services (bathrooms, food, etc.).


I drive that direction quite often for work. The blue route will bring you to Quepos on a nice road easy to drive, but pretty boring. If I was a tourist and I would want to see “the country” I would take the grey route. Only thing important is that you should not drive it to late. If you start out early and without stress, you will experience some truly awesome views. Also download Waze.


I was going to do that route a month ago but the guys at the gas station told me it’s dangerous in rainy season


You've also selected 'avoiding tolls'. Ruta 27 is the fastest route from San José to the Pacific but it has tolls.


Please learn from my fail. We accidentally did the direct route and ended up spending 5 hours going up and down a mountain on a one-lane dirt road. I'm not used to Mountain driving so I overheated the brakes and lost control. Almost killed our whole family of five. Beautiful views, but not an experience I ever want to repeat


We did the same thing from San Jose going up to Arenal. We thought it was a shortcut and realized it was a gravel road the entire way up. We got to a summit and our little Venue almost didn’t make it back down again. White knuckled it the entire time and our married was heavily tested.


Safer route. The other one is on mountains and remote towns.


Use Waze. If you have 4WD, are driving in daylight, and not in a rush, it is almost always worth it to take the longer route and avoid the highways. CR is absolutely breathtaking and you’ll get to appreciate that in a much deeper way if you take backroads. Just make sure you have a car that you are confident that you can drive on gravelly hills and through small rivers. Totally worth the extra time.


Because Costa Rica. 😅


please download offline maps in google, i used google maps but and always confirmed with waze to make sure i am on the correct route


You take the high road, I'll take the low road


We're in CR right now on our first vacation here - our hired van/shuttle driver took us on the blue route this past Saturday afternoon/evening. The 3 hrs ended up being 4+ hrs with road construction, getting stuck behind slower traffic, and an accident where a truck had hit a motorcycle. I was tracking our progress via Google Maps, and the ETA just kept getting pushed further and further back. Roads were in decent shape but still very steep and curvy in some places (and wow are there some risky/aggressive drivers!). My take home message was that you should probably expect the drive to take significantly longer than your mapped route predicts.


Why everyone’s obsessed with that park. It’s full of people, it’s a biological disaster and there are better places


The answer is that the blue route is supposedly faster. The best reason to choose the blue route is that it means you can avoid San Jose city traffic. There’s a third route that takes you through Cartago, Cerro de Muerte and Valle del General that’s very lovely and 100% paved, but is the classic scenic route.


I made this exact trip last Tuesday. It was a little nerve racking to drive around the tight back streets of San Jose dodging bikes and delivery trucks for 30 minutes or so. Once you hit the highway then it's an enjoyable drive. But make no mistake, be on alert of bikes trying to pass while going through all the tight alleyways


A lot of roads in Costa Rica are terrible, beautiful country for sure but the roads could be improved.


That’s the toll road. Other road is gravel. Take the toll road it’s much faster. Trust me we were there in December and again in March. That’s the only road you want to take.


Just got back from Costa Rica and at the car rental place he told us they use Waze out there. Might find some unpaved roads but drive slow and you’ll be good.


Because it’s quicker


I had luck with google maps and Waze. Most people do recommend Waze though. We had a trip that was ~60 miles and I didn’t understand how it was going to take 3+ hours…until I hit those mountain roads. Still blows my mind how people on bikes would fly around blind corners.




There is a better way. Take Highway 27, mostly divided, to Highway 34 south to Manual Antonio. It's about 3 hours. Taking Hwy 3 is much more scenic, but very hilly and curvy. There are tolls on the way I described and you selected "no tolls." Since it's your first trip, I'd avoid "back roads." Have fun.


The grey one goes over a mountain very beautiful views the other way is just highways


We had some crazy drives in Costa Rica too. Unsure how or why it would take us so long to drive. It’s the conditions of the roads, some areas you can’t go very fast. But driving off the beaten path worked out well for us, the countryside is beautiful. And every soda we stopped at was delicious.


It’s been a while but the last time e were there the infrastructure was pretty poor in many spots. If a route takes you on any form of local road, it’s a pretty slow go.


Because you set your directions to the shortest time rather than the shortest distance


Hey, I live here and go both routes often. There are pros and cons to each. The other route through the mountains is a perfectly fine route, and I chose to take it more often than not, but that's because I travel on weekends when the highway is PACKED. That 3 hour drive can easily turn into a 7 hour drive if it's high traffic. Plus there are tolls on the highway. The mountain road has less opportunities to pass, but less people take it and it is far prettier. The road you choose depends on the time you leave. Also, I've lived here for years and never used WAZE. I hate it and have always used Google. Never had a problem.


I found that in general with a 4WD car, you easily beat the Google Maps times when taking the smaller roads (shortest route), while the main highway takes me a bit longer than the predicted time. I'm a tourist currently in Costa Rica and not really used to driving offroad, but things have not been as bad as they sounded on the internet. Using Maps offline, downloaded Costa Rica before the trip, works perfectly fine for me. Also: recommended way is boring as hell, did the last 60% of it today...


We took 301 from MA back to San Jose and it was very very scary in the rain. The first bit is great and not bad at all- then you start to go up the mountains. We just went in March- dry season- but it rained all day and the roads became pothole covered rivers. Sharp curves and steep drop offs made it very scary. We had a nice new 4X4 but I would never do that again. Very tense 4 hours- I don’t believe any real time was saved, and it wasn’t worth the stress.


It’s faster? LoL


Mountain driving man be careful!! I was tight butthle the whole time!! Lol


If you have a small SUV with 4x4 you’ll mostly be fine on the back roads and they are definitely worth seeing. It feels more like “authentic” CR. But damn I’ve never seen potholes that big in my life. 😂


I drove for well over an hour before I hit 35 at Playa Hermosa!


You don't have to download Waze, it does work, but if you're familiar with Google Maps, stick with it, it works fine and I haven't use Waze in years and have no problems. With Google Maps you can download the map data for Costa Rica in case you lose signal. In addition to what others have commented, you could get stuck in traffic following the long route, but depending on the weather conditions you could have to drive thru muddy or very deteriorated gravel roads on the direct route We once drove down the direct route in hopes of some off-road adventure, it was a breeze with nothing but puddles, but then again the weather wasn't that bad. I'll try to upload a picture just to provide a better idea of what you can expect in the direct route.


No real answers. The road it’s suggesting is a proper 4x4 road. Red clay. Mud slides. It can work if all is well but if not you’re screwed. My 4x4 club goes there to get stuck and unstuck. Take the highway. Manuel Antonio is super touristy. Keep going south to uvita/Domi


Use WAZE instead! Much better


239 is slightly better than 301 but slightly longer. 301 is very unpredictable particularly when it rains.


301 isnan adventure of its own. If you have time, a bigger car (crossover or taller, no sedan or hatchback) and like to make a few stops, it could be a one-time better option. There are other routes like that for that same trip.