Rio Magnolia is located in the south central Pacific zone. We are about 3.5-4 hours by car from the San Jose (SJO) airport and about 1 hr and 20 minutes from Quepos. When you are booking your flights and planning on renting a car and driving to Rio Magnolia, please keep in mind that it is dark in Costa Rica by 6 pm all year round so please factor this into your travel. Also it normally takes about an hour to clear customs at SJO and pick up your bags. The rental cars are off-site so it takes another half hour or so. A flight that arrives a SJO by 1:30 pm plus the drive should get you here about 6:30-7 pm. If you plan a private shuttle from SJO, flight arrival by 2 or 2:30 should get you here in time for dinner. For your first time in Costa Rica, driving in the dark can be troublesome, more of chance to get lost.
Also, you will need a good 4wd vehicle to get into Rio Magnolia.
By Car to Rio Magnolia
You will need a good 4wd vehicle to make it into Rio Magnolia due to the steep hills and not be afraid of steep hills or bumpy roads. The Lodge is about 5.5 km off the highway (our gate is 4.5 m from the highway) and the drive takes about a half hour.
Rio Magnolia GPS Coordinates N 9.338171 –W 83.781150 . Please do not use Google maps as the route is wrong! Please do not attempt to drive the road into the property after dark on your own!
When traveling from the Costanera (Coastal) Highway, which is a very good road, turn onto the highway to San Isidro del General. The intersection is just north of the police check point near Dominical. Drive about 14 km up the hill through Platanillio and you will come to Tinemastes where there is a big white church on the right. Continue down the steep hill where you will see the general store “Super (Alabast.)/Soda Elizabeth” on your left where our driver, Eliecer lives. Stop there and Eliecer will lead you in. We can arrange this ahead of time. If you do not have 4wd, we are happy to provide complimentary transportation in from Soda Elizabeth.
If you use the Inter-American Highway, it takes you from San Jose up and over Cerro del Muerte (the highest mountain pass in the country, 3400m) before decending into San Isidro del General. This route is very scenic but the highway is steep and windy and it can be difficult to pass slow trucks. As you approach San Isidro you will see a sign pointing to Playa Dominical. You turn right at this sign, pass through town and head west over the mountains toward the Pacific Ocean. The turnoff for the lodge is about 15 km from San Isidro. Shortly after you reach the summit and start the descent towards the ocean, where ocean views are amazing, you will pass by Mirador Los Chorros on your right. About 500 meters ahead on the right is the entrance to La Alfombra (Rio Magnolia). But continue on the paved road down the steep hill where you will see the general store “Alabast./Soda Elizabeth” on your right at the bottom of the hill. This is where our driver, Eliecer lives. Stop there and have Eliecer lead you in. We can arrange this ahead of time. If you do not have 4wd, we are happy to provide complimentary transportation in from Soda Elizabeth.
Things to know after you meet our driver Eliecer and are following him:
Leaving Soada Elizabeth - Continue up the hill past two saw mills on your right. You will come to a sharp curve and on your left where you will see a "Rio Magnolia" sign across the intersection and there is a large sign with a Tapir. We are in the Biological Corridor of the Tapir. This is a bit of a dangerous intersection, especially if you are climbing the hill and other traffic is descending. If you have any doubts, it is easier to continue about 500 meters further up the hill to Restaurante Mirador Los Chorros, on your left, which overlooks the valley into which you will be traveling... you can turn around and come back to the entrance from there.
Once you have turned off the highway, take your first right after about 200 meters (there is a sign pointing the way to Rio Magnolia). The road winds through the quaint village of La Alfombra. Please drive slowly as the local children often play close to the road. You will cross three rivers and up a very steep hill with concrete tracks (another Rio Magnolia sign at the bottom). If your vehicle has 4wd low use it and also try to keep your engine speed up. This brings you to the Rio Magnolia gate. The lodge is located 1 km in from the gate along a scenic road that passes through the primary forest with magnificent vegetation and a beautiful water fall on Rio Magnolia. The concrete tracks (with a sharp curve to the right) go up to the Lodge but it is best to go straight following the sign that says Turn- around . There is an area to turn around then you can head back up the hill on the concrete tracks to the Lodge parking lot.
Transfer included in Rates
Included in the rates is a private 4wd transfer from either regional airports (San Isidro de El General, Perez Zeledon or Quepos) or from area hotels in Uvita, Manuel Antonio, San Isidro or Dominical. We can arrange a private transfer to Rio Magnolia from the SJO Airport or San José for an additional $200 per round trip.
Fly from San Jose
There are two airstrips within a short drive from Rio Magnolia. The Quepos (Boca Naranjo) airstrip is about 80 minutes away and the San Isidro, Perez Zeledon airstrip is about 50 minutes from Rio Magnolia.
You can reserve your ticket to either of these small airports with Sansa Airlines
Charter flights are available in both single and twin engine planes. The price per person will vary depending on the number of people planning to fly. If you are interested in booking a charter flight please contact us and we can help you make arrangements.
Charter Helicopter to Rio Magnolia
We have a helicopter pad at Rio Magnolia. If you are interested in arriving by helicopter, please contact us and we can help you arrange it.