By Car: Head west out of San José on the San José–Caldera Highway (CR27). Just past the fourth toll booth at Pavón, follow the signs to Jacó and turn onto the Costanera Sur (CR34), the Southern Coastal Highway. From here, it’s a straight shot down the coast to Playa Herradura. The trip should take a little over an hour.

By Bus: All buses to Jacó will drop off passengers at the entrance to Playa Herradura, which is about 1km (1/2 mile) from the beach and Los Sueños resort complex. See “Playa de Jacó: Getting There” for bus info.

Gray Line ((tel) 800/719-3105 in the U.S. and Canada, or 2220-2126 in Costa Rica; and Interbus ((tel) 4100-0888; both have two buses daily leaving San José for Jacó, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. The fare is $42. Both companies will pick you up at most San José–area hotels and drop you off at any hotel in or around Playa Herradura. Both also offer connections to most major tourist destinations in the country.

Buses from San José to Quepos and Manuel Antonio also pass by Playa Herradura. (They let passengers off on the highway about 1km/ 1/2 mile from town.) However, during the busy months, some of these buses will refuse passengers getting off in Playa Herradura or will accept them only if they pay the full fare to Quepos or Manuel Antonio.

Don’t Feed the Crocs

The Costanera Highway passes over the Tárcoles River just outside the entrance to Carara National Park, about 23km (14 miles) south of Orotina. This is a popular place to pull over and spot gargantuan crocodiles. Some can reach 3.7 to 4.6m (12–15 ft.) in length. Usually anywhere from 10 to 20 are easily visible, either swimming in the water or sunning on the banks. But be careful. First, you’ll have to brave walking on a narrow sidewalk along the side of the bridge with cars and trucks speeding by. And second, car break-ins are common here, even in the seemingly safe restaurant parking lots north of the bridge. Although a police post has slightly reduced the risk, it’s not a good idea to leave your car or valuables unguarded. Consider leaving someone at the car and taking turns watching the crocs.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.