Google Maps Gives Incorrect Directions to Zancudo

Costa Rica     Destinations, Getting To and Fro
GPS can be a saviour, but you can't always blindly rely on it.
GPS can be a saviour, but you can't always blindly rely on it.
Relying on Google Maps to drive to Playa Zancudo instead of Waze could get you stuck on a muddy impassible road.
Decided to drive down to Playa Zancudo? Great! You can see some sights along the way (Interesting Stops Along the Coast Highway in Costa Rica) and have the freedom of not relying on the limited public transportation.

Directions on how to drive there? No problem - just use GPS on your phone. That actually works pretty well except for one big fault. Google Maps will send you down a muddy often completely impassible road!

Just this fall, one guy got stuck overnight and had to be towed out, and another man fortunately realized his mistake soon enough and turned back before he got stuck. Actually, you can add one more group to that. Even though I knew about the bad route, we weren't paying attention when we went out to go sightseeing. All of a sudden the road got incredibly bad and I realized we were on the bad Google road - OMG see if you can back out of this sludge! We had already slid into some pretty deep mud and thankfully our 4WD got us out of there.
I mapped from Rio Claro to Zancudo and sure enough, Google Maps gave the wrong directions.
I mapped from Rio Claro to Zancudo and sure enough, Google Maps gave the wrong directions.
Here is the correct way to go. Just go a little further south and then cut over.
Here is the correct way to go. Just go a little further south and then cut over.
Past Rio Claro and after you've made the turn to head south on the 238, you'll wind through some small towns, lots of palm oil farms, and some scary narrow camouflaged bridges with no side rails. You'll turn right at El Barrido as the map instructs you to and there's no need to go all the way down to Comte (spelled Conte on the map) because there's a shortcut toward the west.

If the map has you turn right at La Escuadra, that is incorrect. Resist the urge to believe the GPS directions. Keep going until you get to the next right. The correct turn will be pretty obvious because as soon as you turn, there is a government housing tract (a row of small cement houses) on your left, and a palm oil farm on your right. You won't be on this road very long before you get to the end and turn right to continue on to Zancudo.

Waze seems to get the directions correct every time so if you have the option, maybe use that instead of Google Maps.
Coming the other direction, from Zancudo, be sure that you make the right turn (it's more of just an bend in the road) toward La Esperanza rather than turning left (there's a small sign that indicates a school is that way). You will be fine for a while, but then you won't be.
Do not take this left turn (leaving the beach towns). This will lead you to the muddy road.
Do not take this left turn (leaving the beach towns). This will lead you to the muddy road.
You can see on the map that we're just about to make the last turn to where the road turned dreadful. Fortunately we were able to get out and went back the other way.
You can see on the map that we're just about to make the last turn to where the road turned dreadful. Fortunately we were able to get out and went back the other way.

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