Transportation in Costa Rica

The best way to move around Costa Rica as a tourist is by private transportation. Drivers are very reliable, resourceful and friendly. Good transportation companies must have the proper documentation, offer clean cars and vans and all the insurance necessary. We don’t recommend using public transportation as it's complicated to schedule and very slow. If you plan to rent a car, you will have a lot of flexibility to explore the country and to experience Costa Rica as a local.

Private Transportation
The best option in Costa Rica is having a private transportation company to drive you around the country. They pick you up at the airport or hotel and take you wherever you want to go. This is a door to door service.  You can choose the pick-up time to suit your schedule and preferences. All vehicles  have insurance specifically for tourism services and they have the sticker to identify themselves. Drivers are responsible and professional and know the safest and best roads to every destination.

Car Rental
There are car rental companies at both international airports. Some car rental companies have offices at hotels as well. It is better to have the car reserved prior to your arrival to be sure you will have the car you need. If you want a relaxed vacation renting a car may not be the best option since the driving skills of the locals lack courtesy. Main roads are sign posted, but we recommend having a GPS to help you navigate through the country.

Domestic flights
There are also regular domestic flights between San Jose and other towns, every day in the early morning and late afternoon. We always recommend taking the first flight in the morning due to winds and unexpected changes in the weather. Costa Rica Green Air is a company that offers regular flights to Tambor, Quepos and Bocas del Toro in Panama.  Charter flights by small aircraft and helicopters are also available.

Paquera Ferry
Paquera Ferry connects Puntarenas to the Nicoya Peninsula to visit the popular towns of Mal Pais, Santa Teresa and Montezuma. Several times a day the ferry departs from Puntarenas and arrives in Paquera about 75 minutes later. You will enjoy scenic views of the Gulf of Nicoya. To check on an updated ferry schedule and to buy tickets you can visit Ferry Paquera.

Shuttle Transfers
Most tourist destinations in Costa Rica are connected via shuttle. They circulate between the airport and all major destinations. Some routes require that you change buses at an established connection point where you will find bathrooms too. You will have to reserve your seats before arriving so you can be sure of the time and place of departure.

Uber in Costa Rica is exactly the same as in other countries. It is a good and safe option for short distances like going to a restaurant or a museum.

There are taxis in all of Costa Rica. They are a popular option for locals as well as tourists. Mainly practical for short rides, they are also great when it rains or if you prefer not to walk in the heat. Always take an official taxi. They are always red, recent model cars and have a taxi meter (or “Maria” in tico) next to the driver to calculate the fare. Besides the taxis being red, they have a yellow light on the top and a yellow triangle on the doors including their plate number which go by provinces.

Public transportation
There are public buses in every city or major town in Costa Rica. They all use San Jose as their gateway. Many of these bus lines do not have a fixed schedule and the stops have no signs. This makes it difficult to catch them and only works if you don’t have a fixed schedule. San Jose has several bus terminals from where buses head in all directions. These terminals are not interconnected so changing buses in San Jose can be a hassle.

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