From San Jose:
There are 4 different routes to reach Arenal from San Jose. All of them are beautiful and each one is different.
1- San Jose-Heredia-Varablanca-San Miguel-Aguas Zarcas-Muelle-La Fortuna (Blue Route)
Take the Panamerican Highway # 1 north towards the airport. Get off the highway before the 1st bridge on your right and follow the signs to Heredia downtown. Once you reach Heredia downtown follow the signs to Barva de Heredia. (See map of downtown Heredia #26 and follow the green route) Once in Barva, you will see a soccer field at your left and the church at your right. Keep straight and this road will lead you to the town of Birri-Roble and then to Varablanca. Once at Varablanca turn right at the gas station, and that road will lead you to Cariblanco and San Miguel. Almost reaching San Miguel follow the signs to Aguas Zarcas, Muelle, Tanque and La Fortuna.
exit to Alajuela just in front of the Airport and continue that road through Alajuela downtown. (See map of Alajuela Downtown #24 and follow the green route). Once passing the town of Alajuela you will start to climb the mountains and see the coffee plantations that will lead you to the Poas Volcano. Before you reach the Volcano you will find a sign to Varablanca. Turn right and continue straight ahead until the next stop sign where you turn left to Cariblanco and San Miguel. Before reaching San Miguel follow the sign to Aguas Zarcas, Muelle, Tanque and into La Fortuna.3- San Jose-Grecia-Sarchi-Naranjo-Zarcero-Ciudad Quesada-Florencia-Tanque-La Fortuna (Light Blue Route)
Take the Panamerican Highway #1 north to Alajuela. You will pass the Airport and continue straight for some 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), In here you will see and follow the 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.
4- San Jose-Alajuela- San Ramon- La Tigra-Chachagua-La Fortuna (Green Route)
Take the Panamerican Highway #1 out of San Jose to Alajuela and keep straight. You will pass the Airport and continue straight for some kilometers until you see the sign to San Ramon. Exit there and drive into the town of San Ramon where you will look for the sign to San Lorenzo and La Tigra. You might find also the sign of Hotel Villa Blanca and Valle Escondido, (these hotels are on the way from San Ramon to La Tigra) Follow the signs and continue the road from La Tigra to Chachagua and then into La Fortuna.