For those with an adventurous spirit and enjoys going off the main road to, here is one stop that you have to add to your itinerary if you’re renting a car in Costa Rica and driving down to the Central or South Pacific: Peñon de Guacalillo.
Peñon de Guacalillo is a coastal cliff lookout point and the locals have built picnic tables and facilities so guests can spend a couple hours enjoying the beautiful ocean views.
We stopped here during our drive from San Jose to Jaco and stayed for about an hour. It’s about 30 minutes off the main highway Route 34 and is definitely a nice local spot to check out for those who enjoy exploring.
3000 CRC per car (pay in local currency).
Open everyday from 7 AM to 7 PM. No overnight camping allowed.
Peñon de Guacalillo 4×4 required?
Not necessarily in dry season, a high clearance car will work. The road off the highway is on a gravel road but it is not too bad. If you have a sedan, you will need to go slowly and carefully.
The small hill going up into the lookout point is not paved, it is a dirt path so if you’re visiting in rainy season, a high clearance car or 4wd will be highly recommended as it may be muddy.
If you drive there in a sedan or compact car, you may need to park your car outside the entrance if it can’t make it up the small hill as those cars have small engines.
Services and Facilities
There are bathrooms, covered picnic tables and outdoor eating area.
On the weekends, there are some locals who will sell food and drinks. Not on weekdays.
Dogs allowed but I would recommend to keep them on a leash so they don’t accidentally run off the cliff!
Peñon de Guacalillo is in the Puntarenas province, about a 1.5 hour drive from the San Jose International Airport.
How to Get to Peñon de Guacalillo
You can find Peñon de Guacalillo on Google Maps and Waze so you can use that as your GPS. It’s a fairly straightforward route and you’ll know you’ve reached the right spot when you see a turn to the right, a security gate and security station.
Turn in and let the security guard know you are there to visit. This is a rural area so please don’t expect them to speak much English. You’ll give them the 3000 CRC entrance fee and they’ll let you through.
You can park anywhere once you’re inside, there are a lot of flat areas. When we visited, we had the entire place to ourselves so we parked our car at different spots to get some cool pictures.
Visiting Peñon de Guacalillo
I recommend to bring some drinks or snacks/food so you can spend some more time there to have a picnic or a short break from the drive.
You can also walk all the way down to the next door beach, Playa Carrizal. This beach is not that nice but you can walk down just to check it out.
But the most impressive thing about Peñon de Guacalillo is definitely the view and the waves!
Peñon de Guacalillo is a very nice stop from San Jose to Jaco or any destination down to the Central/South Pacific. They have clean bathrooms, an impressive view, plenty of space to stretch your legs and picnic areas.
Another stop on this same route is the Crocodile Bridge.