Location and Transportation

Maps, driving directions, and transportation options

We are located in the mountains above La Fortuna, San Carlos, home of the Arenal Volcano.

It is a 25 minute drive to get to La Fortuna from Leaves and Lizards. You should expect to travel on at least 3 km of rough, rocky road to reach us if you come by what we call the ‘Green Route’ through Monterrey. If you come up the ‘Yellow Route’ past The Springs Resort and Spa it is 8 km of rough road. The ‘Red Route’ is 9 km of rough road. Do not try the ‘Red Route’ in heavy rain, the river runs over the bridge. It is best to have a 4×4 so you have good clearance, if you plan to rent a car. Please see the area map below for the routes. Do not forget to print it and bring it with you so you can find your way. The WAZE system works pretty well in Costa Rica, Google Maps can be a bit “misleading”.

Our cell phone number is 8333-6863 and our land line is 2478-0023.
Our address is: 500 meters Sur de Super Kike, Alto Monterrey, Monterrey, San Carlos, Alajeula, Costa Rica

Rental Car – Driving directions are below. It is best to rent a 4×4. You can rent a GPS from the rental car agency. Our guest feedback indicates they work pretty well, especially when used with a map. To find our town, Monterrey also known as Santa Domingo, TRY: Santa Domingo. San Carlos or try Banco de Costa Rica, Monterrey. If you plan to rent a car please plan to get here before dark. If you flight arrives after 2 pm, it may be best to have a private transfer or explore other options.

Our GPS coordinates are:N 10.5319 W 84.6615 (N 10° 31’55” W 84°39’42”). Elevation is: 419 meters. We are in the San Carlos region. If you are a Geocacher, there are at least two caches in the Arenal area.

Check out TrebolAlamo, Vamos Rent-A-Car, 

Check out this offer! If you rent from Trebol, mention Leaves and Lizards when you make your reservation and get a free GPS and cell phone to use! In addition, Trebol can provide you with a driver to drive you in your rental car to Leaves and Lizards to get you started that first day in Costa Rica for FREE! That is service!

HINT:  Many guests opt for a private pickup from the airport and rent a car on their second day from Alamo in Fortuna and then drop it back at the airport when they go home. That makes it easy to get here and a smooth transition on the long first travel day.

Public Bus – Buses leave from Downtown San Jose to Cuidad Quasada to Monterrey (Least expensive takes 5 hours). This method is not recommended.

Tourist Buses – GrayLine or Interbus. They do not drop off at our place, you will need to pay around $25 for a taxi fare from up from La Fortuna.

Private Transportation Service – We offer Private Transport Services.  Transfers rate Sheet 2018. It is $175 -$200 for a group of 6 or less (see rate sheet for complete prices) – one way from the airports (SJO or LIR). Many of our guests will opt for a private airport pick up, then rent a car after they get here. Alamo in Fortuna will deliver the car here when you are ready for it. However, if you decide not to rent a car, we can provide any transportation services you may require.

By AirplaneSansa has flights to Fortuna/El Tanque and we can arrange for a taxi pick up or you can then rent a car in Fortuna. Only Alamo and Mapache have offices in Fortuna. You can drop the car off at any location in Costa Rica.

Private Flight Fixed Wing or HelicopterHeli Jet Aviation provides groups, individuals or families with private flight services. They also provide medical transport services for emergencies. Helicopter lands on our soccer field (5 minutes away) and fixed wing lands at El Tanque  (30 minutes away).  Private Flight Services to Leaves and Lizards Retreat

The Yellow Route is the fastest way to come up to Leaves and Lizards from Fortuna. When coming from Lake Arenal do not go all the way into Fortuna, 3.5 km past the Tabacon complex, look for the signs to THE SPRINGS RESORT AND SPA and follow the YELLOW ROUTE UP. We are about 25 minutes from central Fortuna. The GREEN ROUTE is best when coming from Cuidad Quasada (San Carlos) or Muelle. Do not take the RED ROUTE on your first day. It floods and the bridge is frequently out. Click the map for a larger, printable version to help you find your way to Leaves and Lizards. Please use 4 x 4 when driving around our property to save our roads.


SCENIC, FASTEST and MOST DIRECT -The Red Route on the map through San Ramon-Tigra-Chacagua-Fortuna-El Tanque-Monterrey. This route has less truck traffic and is faster. Head towards San Ramon on Hwy 1. Travel through San Ramon city following the volcano signs. Stop along the way and try some of the freshly made cheese made in the surrounding villages. Allow 3 hours-with no stops on a perfect driving day.

CULTURAL – San Jose-Grecia-Sarchi-Naranjo-Zarcero-Ciudad Quesada-Florencia-Mulle-Tanque-Monterrey. This is the truck route. Follow the Dark Blue Route, taking the Pan-American Highway #1 north from the Airport and continue for about 20 kilometers until you see the sign to Grecia. Turn right and continue to Grecia downtown. Once you reach downtown you will see a red church on your left. Drive to the back of the red church by turning left and at the next corner turn left again (so you will be at the other side of the church) here you will see and follow the signs to Sarchi. Once in Sarchi continue the road to Naranjo. As you arrive in Naranjo follow the signs to Zarcero and Ciudad Quesada. Once in Ciudad Quesada follow the signs to Tanque and La Fortuna. At the one intersection in El Tanque there is a large hardware store called Colono, turn right towards Monterrey. Allow 4 hours on a perfect driving day with no stops.
Exploring the Cultural  Route

Grecia: This community was founded in 1838 its most interesting structure is the church. The church is made of iron, and was prefabricated in Belgium in the 1890’s, shipped to Costa Rica and then transported to Grecia from Alajuela by oxcart. Sarchi: This town spreads though the rolling hills, notice coffee growing as you drive through the area. Sarchi is known for furniture craftsmanship, but it is most famous for its fancy brightly painted oxcarts.Zarcero: The central park in this town looks like it was designed by Dr. Seuss. Evangelisto Blanco, a local landscape artist carefully shaped cypress topiaries in fanciful shapes. The artwork in the church was done by late local artist Misael Solis. Ciudad Quesada/San Carlos: This large city is the center of activity for the Zona Norte (Northern Zone). It is the only town, that we know of, in the Zona Norte with any US type fast food chains. A Pizza Hut and Kentucky Fried Chicken can be found in this busy area.

Head South on HWY 1 (yes the Pacific Coast Highway that goes all the way up the West coast!) to (Las Canas) Canas to Tilaran, to (Neuvo) Arenal around the lake to La Fortuna then see the above map.Interesting sights along the way include the Lake Arenal, of course, as well as the wind generators on the hills around the North end of the Lake and the cute little town of Nuevo Arenal. A good place to stop for lunch is the Lucky Bug or Cafe Macadamia, both located a few minutes before getting into Nuevo Arenal.


  • When driving in Costa Rica, there are few road signs, the best advice is to always know which town you are headed to next.  Follow the signs to the next  town along the route. If you get lost people are eager to help you find your way. Just say:  Donde (where) está (is) Monterrey (place which ever town in the sentence is the next town on your route)?
  • A good map (Click HERE for our favorite), a compass and a current Costa Rica guidebook will make your travel more interesting and enjoyable.
  • Do not drive at night to your next destination. Plan to get to your destination by dark. It is dark by 6:00pm all year round.
  • Road conditions change quickly – and can contain surprising hazards – pedestrians, cyclists, herds of cattle, oxcarts, horses, goats, dogs and chickens all share the same road. Please be careful and drive defensively at all times. However, overall the roads are pretty good and well maintained.
  • Plan for extra time to stop and explore.
  • On paved roads you can figure it will take approximately 3 hours to travel 100 miles. The Adventure is the Journey!
  • Even if a road is on a map, it may not be passable by car, but only by horse or tractor. It is better to ask a local before considering a ‘shortcut’ along the route. (Spoken from experience!) Check with your rental car agency for current road conditions.
  • Most bridges are only one lane, be prepared to yield to oncoming traffic. The Spanish word for yield is ‘Ceda’ and the yield signs are upside down triangles.
  • Give way to oncoming semis, buses and taxis. Watch for motorcyclists, they can pop up out of nowhere and will pass you on either side.
  • Assign one person in your party to be the road hazard watcher and navigator. It is very difficult to drive and navigate.
  • Do not leave expensive electronics out in the open in your car, even if it is locked. Take your backpack with your camera, passport, money and any other valuable items with you, do not leave them in the car.
  • Local restaurants are called ‘Sodas’ they are simple little cafes with typical Costa Rican foods.
  • There is a new force of ‘Tourist Police’ their specific duty is to assist tourists. They are located in all major tourist locations.
  • Be very careful not to speed. There are new driving laws and ticketing guidelines for speeding. The traffic police are friendly, don’t worry if you get pulled over.
  • Click HERE for road signs in Spanish – be sure to learn – Danger, Caution, Curves, Right, Left, Bridge, Stop, Yield, One Way and Slow!