Casa Mono Congo Driving Directions

Peatones - Pedestrians here in Costa Rica think that the roads are for them to walk on - they pay their taxes and they should not have to walk on the gravel. Don't be surprised if the walkers walk two and three across the road. They will NOT move off the road when they hear you coming - it's your job to avoid hitting them!

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Casa Mono Congo
Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

Driving Directions from SJO San José International Airport (Alajuela)

GPS Coordinates 9.403146 -84.157100

Some Basics

Very few roads in Costa Rica have names. Only in city centers are the streets named or numbered. And even when they are, you will not see any street signs or markings telling you what street you are on. All directions in Costa Rica are given by landmarks. (ex:turn left at the Coca Cola plant then right at the church 300 meters BUT that Coca Cola plant may have been torn down over 30 years ago.) We will give you plenty of landmarks (that Still exists today) to follow and the approximate kilometers to help you in your journey.

This will be a beautiful trip, but very taxing to the driver: you'll be driving through the mountains. Take your time. You never know what will be around the next curve: cattle crossing, stopped vehicle, a car passing coming the other direction, brush in the road (may mean an accident or stalled vehicle ahead), or fallen rocks.

Speed Limits

The speed limit in school zones (escuela) is 25km/h (16 mph). The speed limit in most cities is 40km/h (25mph). Smaller villages have higher speed limits of 60km/h (37 mph). The fastest speed limit on this trip will be 80km/h (50mph) along the Pacific coast. Do watch your speed. After that long drive through the mountains you'll be tempted to speed along the few straight highways. The police know this and will be there to wave you down to give you a speeding ticket. Just breathe and relax.
Passengers, have your camera ready for the many wonderful views along the road.
Driver, keep your eyes on the road at all times because it's not unusual for people to stop in the middle of the road to look at something!

Toll Roads

If you do drive into San José or rent your car from downtown, you will have to drive out of the city and go through a toll booth peaje. Tolls are 75 colonés. There is an express lane on the left that allows you to pay with a 100 coin, no change will be given and you can't pay with anything but the 100 coin. You will not be given change because you are donating 25 colonés for the privilege of going through the express lane. Note: Toll Booths only exist on multi-lane roads Pistas out of the city. There are no tolls going towards San José from the airport.

Road Signs

Ceda - yield.

Puente Angosto - narrow bridge. If you're on the side of the Ceda sign, you must stop to let the oncoming traffic pass over the narrow bridge first, when it's clear, you may continue over the bridge.

Derrumbe - land slide. Which really means "falling rock" - just drive carefully. Be ready to stop and/or drive around something in the road.

Escuela - school. So this is a school zone - 25 km/hr. It's supposed to be only when students are present/visible but, some police try to enforce this whether or not any school children are visible.

Peaje adelante - toll ahead. There currently is one toll from the airport to Quepos. It is right after you pass through Orotina. The toll changes every 3 months. Right now it's 480 colonés. Try to use exact change, and if you don't have it, please count your change before you move on.

No Hay Paso - Do not enter Usually on one way streets.

Kilometers to Casa Mono Congo from SJO airport
KM Landmarks and what to look for while driving


Trip odometer - set to 0 when you leave it or pass it

San José International Airport

There are few rental cars at the airport. Almost all rental agencies will take you to their physical location away from the airport. If you do get a car from the airport: take the first exit to Alejuela (exit to the right-this road doubles back) then stay in left lane to San Ramon. Don't take the second exit to the right that says Alejuela.

Hampton Inn, Holiday Inn Express & Rental car agencies

Get on the Panamerican Highway (Highway 1) going towards the airport (North, NorthWest.) Stay in the center lane (sign says San Ramon.)


Exit to Atenas (Highway 3 - exit ramp right then turn left on Highway 3.)

This starts your drive up the mountain. There are many curves and one lane bridges along this road. "Puente angosto Adelante" means Narrow Bridge Ahead. If you have a sign that says: "Ceda el Paso", then you need to yield to oncoming traffic (this may be a long line of cars and trucks) before you cross the bridge.


Sign for "Vista Panorama" pointing to the left.

Vista View Take the time to go left and then left onto the gravel parking area. Stop and take pictures. (Of course if the mountain is cloudy and you're in the fog, keep driving.) This is the closest to the top that there is any place to stop and enjoy the view. You'll see coffee plantations on the sides of the hills, you'll even see the Pacific if it's a clear day.


Sign that says Manuel Antonio 111km

Soon after that sign the road will turn right (if you look straight ahead you'll see a sign that says "No Hay Paso" that means it's a one way road the other way.) Follow the curve to the right for 1 block and turn left at the next block; there is a blue church at this corner. If you miss that turn you'll pass a city park with trees. Do a U-turn and go back turn right on the road that goes past the front entrance to the blue church. Once you get to the end of town (San Mateo) you'll see another sign that says 115km to Manuel Antonio. We don't know how you did it, but you just added 4km! It's a Costa Rican mystery.


First of two stoplights on trip

It's at a railroad track in Orotina. 200 meters after the stoplight, there is a gas station on the left and on the right is Pollo a la Leña Yami. If you're hungry and want some of the best chicken you'll ever have, stop and eat at Pollo a la Leña Yami. They don't speak a lot of English, but you can get your idea across by pointing. They take only cash - colónes or dollars.


Toll Road -take ramp to right

500 meters past the stoplight is a turn off to the right. Follow the sign to Quepos/Manuel Antonio/Jacó. You will need 450 colónes to pay this toll. (just under US$1)


Exit Right after you pay toll

100 yards or so after you pay your toll, take the ramp to the right that says Jacó (It's the first ramp after the toll booth.


Speed Trap Speed Trap Speed Trap

There are at least 3 speed traps in this 16 km stretch. Watch your speed. When the speed limit drops to 60km/h, step on the brake to slow down, don't wait to coast to a slower speed. It appears all speed traps are in the 60 km/h zones. Sometimes the speed limit changes for no apparent reason (to encourage traffic tickets, maybe.. :-)

Courtesy flash of lights: if on coming traffice flashes their headlights at you, there's probably a speed-trap ahead, slow down. Then, when you pass the speed trap, please be courteous in return and warn oncoming traffic of the speed trap waiting for them.

If you do get pulled over, accept the ticket - you can pay at your car rental agency when you leave (remember to give them the ticket and pay when you turn the car in or you'll be assessed an even higher fee on your credit card months later.) Do NOT offer the police a bribe (don't encourage this practice)

Someone said: "in Costa Rica you can drive like a bat out of hell in all speed zones 40, 25, 80, but if it changes to 60 km/h, slow down!"


Crocodile Bridge

A long two-lane bridge is called puente cocodrilo - crocodile bridge . Stop at either end of the bridge (don't stop on this bridge!), lock your car, and walk to the center. It's a good idea to have someone stay by your car even though there is a Police station there. You're guaranteed to see some huge (15 foot long) crocodiles below you.


Jacó - 2nd Stoplight

This is your last stoplight you'll see on the trip. It's there for the school crosswalk so unless there are children in school, it'll be green (or completely off)


Perfect Tree Perfect Tree a Higueron

We like to call this tree "our" tree (and we've even heard some of our neighbors call it their tree too. - Maybe you'll call it your tree once you see it in person.) It's a Higuerón tree. We think it is photo perfect.



When you enter the town of Quepos, cross the one-lane bridged and drive slightly left and down the small incline to the main road (the road that goes straight and at the same height of the road is a foot/bike path.) Pass the Hotel Kamuk on the left. On the right is a sign for Manuel Antonio Parque 7 km with an arrow pointing left. Take this road. Look at your odometer (or reset it to 0.)


Turn Hard Right "Pacific Canyon Drive"

Exactly 4.3 km from Quepos is El Byblos hotel on the left (big yellow sign) On your right is a road that turns almost 180 degrees. Take this sharp right and go 300 meters (past the Spa Uno on your left) to the first driveway left. Take this driveway down (yes, it's probably steeper than any of the roads you've traveled so far.) Casa Mono Tití is down the stairs from the parking lot: the lower house. Take the stairs from the bottomof the driveway down to the house. Casa Mono Congo is at the end of this parking lot with the garage.


Pete & Terry 2417-3286 in CR

Casa Mono Congo in Costa Rica dial 2777-5145 -or- from the USA and Canada dial 011-506-2777-5145

Directions to give to the taxi driver in Quepos to get you back home:

We suggest you print these directions out.

location map

  • Tome la primera calle en la mano derecha después del Hotel Villas el Parque (opuesto del Hotel Byblos). (Calle está abajo del Hotel Villas el Parque.) Maneje 350 metros al oeste (200 metros después Spa Uno) Baje el camino después la casa verde en la mano izquierda. Casa Mono Congo es la casa morada

Welcome Home to Casa Mono Congo

This is a wonderful place to stay.  We saw and thoroughly enjoyed the howlers, the white-faced capuchins and the squirrel monkeys, especially the moms with babies.  How adorable and the squirrel monkeys in and out of the pool and wrestling on the patio floor.
We’re off to Manuel Antonio National Park but I can’t imagine anything better than what we’ve had here.
Neville down on the beach to the left took us out snorkeling yesterday and we’re going back there today.  The night watchman is so nice and even helped us with and sometimes did our laundry.  Maid, pool and gardening services were all very good too.  This home is a perfect place to stay!!  Thank you.
- Perdue / Pederson Group – Washington USA

Sally, Shelley, Erin & Hunter could not have had a better vacation.  Why did we wait so long to visit?  Work – that’s what – but you can bet we won’t wait that long again!  Much needed rest and relaxation.  The view is spectacular from the house.  Having our morning coffee and watching the ocean – listening to the howler monkeys and just observing nature at its best is the best way to start one’s day.
- The 4 of us braved our fears and did the Canopy tour and we’re fortunate enough to experience it while I rained on us.  What a rush!  We decided to do the dolphin boat rip, but Shelley got extremely seasick and had to be taken back to shore via the raft motor boat.  Not the experience we had hoped for – but an experience indeed.  By the end of the week our butts and calves were pretty used to the slep back up the hill.  The first couple of days were, let’s say exhilarating. 
-All of the restaurants were excellent – good food and drinks and friendly people wherever we went.  We loved Agua Azul.  They let us sit at a table for 5 hours and ate and drank.  Thank you so much for this wonderful vacation – we are truly grateful.  Next time we’re bringing the rest of the family – sans Shelley’s mom who’s walker isn’t conducive to these elements. 
We will be back for sure and we’ll talk this up to all of our friends as a must do!
-What an amazing time!  We have fallen in love with Costa Rica.  This vacation felt like pure luxury.  From the hot stone massage at Spa Uno to the ziplining through the rain forest to lounging on the beach with full service or the day trip on a catamaran with snorkeling and an open bar! 
-We love our friends the monkeys especially the one we named Stumpy (he had no tail!).  All the local restaurants were great and the people couldn’t be nicer. 
Casa Mono Congo is a special place that we dread to leave, but can’t wait to return to ASAP!  Pete & Terry, thank you so much!  We had the time of our lives.  Thank you for your generosity.
- Crosby-Selwan Group – Chicago, IL & New York NY USA