The Monkey Trail

Most of the roads in Costa Rica are paved and well maintained. You can reasonably expect to visit many beach towns and other locations with ease during your vacation.

There are some roads that are a little rougher, and require a versatile vehicle. The Monkey Trail is one of those roads.

Situated through a mountain pass between Potrero and Playas del Coco, the Monkey Trail is a fun way to get from beach to beach.

Kind Of A Shortcut

The Monkey Trail can save you a bit of time if you’re heading down the coast in Guanacaste, but only a little bit. Route 21, which heads west from the Liberia Airport can take you to Belen. From there, Tamarindo and Playa Flamingo are only a short drive away.

Route 21 can be a boring drive though. You’ll go there lots of little towns and farmland, but you’re not going to get a very adventurous feeling about the trip. 

If you just landed in the Liberia Airport and you’re looking to get to your resort quickly to relax – Route 21 is probably the better option. Some resorts you may see are The Westin, The Riu, or Margaritaville in Playa Flamingo.

water shoes for costa rica

Navigate the beaches and rivers in Costa Rica with ease! Pick up a pair of super ventilated water shoes. These shoes have a breathable mesh upper, and the soles have drainage to allow sand and water to escape.
I use these shoes during my excursions in Costa Rica and I absolutely recommend them!

Water Levels May Vary

The Monkey Trail does cross through a river at one point. This river can have huge fluctuations in the depth of the water. Not only that, but even at the same water level, the depth of the river bed can change and be variable. Drivers may cross the water along a certain path only to get stuck the next time as the high points have changed. 

You’ll see lots of vehicles in Costa Rica with snorkels coming off the engine compartment – this allow the engine to continue pulling in air while the vehicle goes through water above the hood. We’ve only see a couple occasions where this would be necessary going across The Monkey Trail.

Most of the time, passenger cars can pass through the trickle of water. If you’re unsure about the depth, wait until some other seasoned drivers go through. 

You also can’t expect there to be water in the river bed all the time. During the dry season, October to February, there isn’t much rain in Guanacaste. The river may be completely dry for these months.

If you show up to The Monkey Trail and it’s too deep, check out The Congo Trail. This bypasses the river which is right beside The Congo Trail on Google Maps. You’ll need to pay a small fee of about $5 or buy an equal amount of goods in their small store. 

If you're heading out for an adventure, you're going to need some cold watch and snacks. Pick up a backpack cooler, which has ample room for what you'll need while you enjoy the beach. There is an added benefit of freeing up your hands to carry the fun stuff!

Scenic Views And Quick Driving

With the river out of the way, the remainder of The Monkey Trail is an amazing drive. You’ll be heading up and down the terrain, which will afford you some amazing valley views. 

If you’re looking to take this route from Playas del Coco, click Here. You can also check out the very active Facebook Group which posts daily updates on the status of the river and other cautions for the route Here.

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