We are located near the town of Pejibaye (Desamparados de Pejibaye) which is about a 4 hour car drive (or a 5.5 hour bus drive) south of the San José International Airport (SJO) in the central to southern zone of Costa Rica about 1.5 hour car drive from the Pacific beaches. See Google Map to obtain more specific directions if you are coming by car.
Staying Overnight near SJO
If your flight arrives late in SJO, you can stay overnight at Alajuela Backpackers Costa Rica (recommended by Trey) which provides free shuttle service to and from SJO (if your flight arrives during their shuttle service hours). You can get more information and make reservations on their web site. An even cheaper favorite recommended by Gizella Turbok and Maria Teresa Espina Flores with very friendly service and free breakfast (if you do not mind the train that comes by the hostel at 5:00am every morning) is Hostel Shakti. Both overnight stay options offer free Wi-Fi and everything from shared bunk bed rooms to private rooms with their own bathroom as well as onsite dining.
Directions by Bus from SJO
The entire segment of the trip by bus is on paved, asphalt roads. Here are the directions if you want to go by bus (the most cost-effective option):
- From SJO, take one of the many taxis (for about $30) that speak English to the Musoc bus station terminal (see this web site for departure times). Or, you can take a bus to the Musoc bus station for about $6.
- Take one of the many buses that depart from the Musoc bus terminal to San Isidro de El General, which is the second most populated town in Costa Rica after the capital of San José. Take a direct bus if you can to save time. Direct buses only make one stop in the middle for a bathroom and food break and the total bus trip time would be about 3 hours and 30 minutes. The last stop for all buses from this terminal is San Isidro so there is no chance of getting lost.
- Once you arrive at the San Isidro bus terminal, take another bus to the town of Pejibaye (about a 1 hour and 15 minute bus drive). Take the bus route that is from San Isidro to El Aguila, which is the town after Pejibaye. Though all the buses in this route makes a stop in Pejibaye, only one of the buses in this route has a last stop in Pejibaye (noted next to the time below). Approximate departure times from San Isidro (Monday through Friday, Saturday and Sunday times may be a little different): 5:00am, 6:30am (last stop in Pejibaye), 8:30am, 9:30am, 12:00pm, 1:30pm, 4:00pm, 7:00pm, 10:00pm
Domestic Flights from SJO to San Isidro de El General Airport (MRSI)
Since December 15, 2015, Sansa Airlines, a local subsidiary of Latin American airline Avianca, provides domestic 35-minute flights three days a week (two times each day) between SJO and MRSI which is only 1.86 miles (3 km) south of downtown San Isidro de El General. Every Tuesday, Friday, and Sunday a modern, 12-seat, glass-cockpit Cessna Grand Caravan plane will depart from SJO at 7:55am (flight 1014) and 1:00pm (flight 1016), with return flights from MRSI departing 8:40am (flight 1015) and 1:45pm (flight 1017) on the same day. Tickets are $106 one-way which includes taxes and fees. This is actually much cheaper than taking a taxi from SJO to MRSI if you are traveling by yourself. After arriving in MRSI, you can take a short taxi to the San Isidro bus terminal to take a 1 hour and 15 minute bus drive to the town of Pejibaye (see #3 of the previous section above).
From San Isidro de El General to Pejibaye
If you are coming by bus, then see #3 of the Directions by Bus from SJO section above for directions. Below are the directions if you are coming by car (the entire way is paved asphalt road):
- From San Isidro de El General, go South on the Pan-American Highway 2 for about 5-10 minutes.
- When you reach the first major fork in the road, turn right (i.e., take the right side of the fork, you’ll see a bar restaurant there on that corner on the right and a gasoline station on the left). This is Highway 244 on the Google Map. You will not see any sign or post on the road though stating this.
- Take this windy road Highway 244 all the way to the town of Pejibaye. It will be about a 40-50 minute drive. There are no major forks on this highway so it is pretty easy to figure out and stay on the road all the way to the town of Pejibaye.
From Pejibaye to Our Motherland
Starting at the end of the town of Pejibaye, there is only 2.5 miles (4 km) of dirt/gravel road up the mountains to the Ardent Light Motherland in which a 4×4 vehicle is highly recommended (required if coming during rainy season). If you do not have one, or cannot rent one, or you are coming by bus (the bus from San Isidro de El General stops in the town of Pejibaye), you may request to be personally picked up by us at the town of Pejibaye (see Personal Taxi Service below for details) or you can just ask someone in the town for a taxi (the word taxi is the same in Spanish so they should understand what you mean). Ask them to take you to la finca del Chino which means “the farm of the Chinese” which is the nickname the locals here have for JAL since they think JAL looks Chinese even though he is Hispanic. You can also say his actual name Jose Alberto Luzardo (Jose is pronounced as ho-ce) if for some reason they do not recognize his nickname. If that does not work, you can give these directions or address: 200 metros sur de la escuela de Desamparados de Pejibaye. The cost of a taxi from Pejibaye to the farm could be as low as 3500 colones and as high as 5500 colones depending on the taxi driver you get in the town of Pejibaye. Be sure to get their phone number if you like their services and price and we will list them below for others to use. So far we have the following recommended taxi drivers in Pejibaye:
- Polla (pronounced po-ya) Taxi 8316-6327 (recommended by Trey) – speaks some English (lived in the U.S. for a while), charges 3500 colones, but Trey always gives him 4000 to include a tip
If you think you will be arriving after dark (i.e., after 5:30 pm), we recommend making an appointment with a taxi in advance to make sure they are available for you when you arrive in the evening. Otherwise, it may be hard to find a taxi in Pejibaye after 5:30 pm unless you arrange to have JAL personally pick you up (see Personal Taxi Service below for details) or hike (or hitchhike) 2.5 miles up the road. It takes about 15-20 minutes to travel up or down the 4 km dirt road by car since it is on an incline and can be narrow and bumpy in some parts so driving slowly is always recommended. The drive is very scenic so driving slowly will also allow you to enjoy the beautiful river, mountains and valleys.
Here are the directions from the town of Pejibaye to the Ardent Light Motherland if you are driving, hitchhiking (locals here are friendly and sometimes even offer people rides), biking, or hiking:
- Continue through the small town of Pejibaye until you cross two bridges. The first one is small and the second one is a larger one that crosses a beautiful rock slab river and marks the end of the town. Make a right onto the dirt road that is right after the larger second bridge. This is where the 2.5 miles of dirt road starts.
- Continue up through the dirt road and keep right when you reach a fork in the road that is within the first mile of the dirt road.
- You will pass a total of two small schools on your left. When you reach the second school you will be only 200 meters away from the Motherland. When you see a beautiful large wide tree on your right, keep left and go up the road. You will notice an even steeper incline. The previous gate to our Motherland is about 100 meters (328 feet) up to the top of the road right before it starts to turn to the right. The new gate (which is smaller) is about another 100 meters up the road on the left side of the road. The gate is almost directly across the road from the gate of the big modern-looking house with reddish-orange octagonal roof and greenish painted exterior that is on the right side of the road. Give us a call when you arrive at this smaller silver/grey metal gate and we will come up and open the gate (or we will make sure to have the gate unlocked so you can let yourself in if you give us advance notice of your arrival).
Remember to write down our phone numbers from the Contact Us page in case you get lost or need additional directions. If you do not have a cell phone to call us, you can ask the taxi driver to call on your behalf or you can ask a local to call for you. They are usually very friendly and will do it for you. Asking staff at the supermarket Vargus (there’s only two markets in Pejibaye) to call Jose Alberto Luzardo (el chino) since they all know him there is another way to get a hold of us. If you want to use Wi-Fi to contact us when you arrive in Pejibaye, there is free Wi-Fi outside the large ICE building (on weekdays and during business hours only). Ask for ICE (pronounced “ee-say”) and the locals can show you where it is. The town is small and the layout is rather simple so it should be easy to find. ICE is the monopoly electricity company here in Costa Rica. They also provide Internet and cell phone service under the name of Kolbi. ICE is near the end of the main road that passes through and marks the end of the town of Pejibaye, on the right side, right before the first small bridge that is towards the end of the town.
Departing From Pejibaye to San Isidro
You can have us personally drive you back to the Pejibaye bus station (see Personal Taxi Service below for details) or you can call for a taxi to pick you up from the Motherland. The 2.5 miles (4km) of dirt road down to the town of Pejibaye takes about 15 minutes. The following are the approximate departure times for the bus from Pejibaye to San Isidro Monday through Sunday. Exceptions are noted below in parentheses. The bus trip from Pejibaye to San Isidro will take about 1 hour and 15 minutes.
Personal Taxi Service
JAL can provide the following personal taxi service (up to 6 people depending on luggage) if you would like to be picked-up from or driven to SJO, San Isidro de El General, or the town of Pejibaye:
- From/To SJO: $270 one-way, $540 two-way (round-trip)
- From/To San Isidro de El General: $70 one-way, $140 two-way (round-trip)
- From/To Pejibaye town: $10 one-way, $20 two-way (round-trip)
Alternatively, for cheaper rates, you can use the following drivers recommended by previous guests, visitors, or interns:
- “Churlie” 506-8802-9018 cell number. Recommended by Marina Kocinski (May 2016): Nice, quiet, patient, caring person, speaks English. Drives dark Toyota Land Cruiser. Most other taxi drivers charge $200 to or from San Jose to San Isidro de El General, but he charged Marina $180 and she tipped him $20 so he received $200.
- Christian, owner of Costa Rica Driver. Recommended by Lisa Beyersdoerfer (December 2014). Patient, made stops whenever requested, made good recommendations, speaks English. Charged her $150 to pick her up from a hotel near the San Jose airport to San Isidro de El General.