Last updated: 13. December 2021
Going from one place to another is the essence of traveling. You might have found the perfect hotel, but getting there is as important for you overall travel experience. This is a complete guide to all the different ways of transportation in Costa Rica.
You’ve most likely flown to get to Costa Rica. There are also several domestic routes available. Costa Rica Green Air is a popular travel Agency that will take you to most places within the country. They have several flights from San Jose a day. Tambor and Quepos/Manuel Antonio are on the main route. Their crew is really friendly and professional.
Plane is the fastest traveling alternative. As well as being the quickest, it’s remarkably beautiful as well. You get a birds view over Costa Ricas beautiful landscape. The flight is by itself a great experience.
It’s easy to get a cab in Costa Rica. You should prepare to negotiate the price before entering the vehicle. A three person 1,5 hr. drive, from San Jose airport to Jaco costed us 100$. Price may vary depending on the season.
A backpacker trick is to ally yourself with fellow travelers. Make sure you trust your new allies before joining the drive.
The Cheapest alternative is to travel with bus. You find them most places. Efficiency and comfort vary a lot. You won’t regret if you’ve learned a few Spanish words if you choose to travel with bus.
There aren’t many trains in Costa Rica. However, from San Jose, there’s a railroad that takes you to the suburbia of Pavas, Curridabat and Belen. Some trains can also take you all the way to Heredia and Cartago.
There’s a lot of boats in Costa Rica. Some of the places are only available over the water. If you’ve rented a car, you can save a lot of time if you check the local ferry. For example, If you’re going to Santa Teresa from Jaco, the Puntarenas ferry can save you several hours.
Renting a car gives you an own little adventure while traveling. We highly recommend you rent a four- wheel drive, and preferably some height on the vehicle. Some of the roads can get flooded.
If you choose to cross a flooded road, make sure you know what you are doing. You can see if local cars choose to cross. Observe where they cross, making it safer to drive where the water is shallower.
A GPS comes in handy. You might want to use the one on your smart-phone, but make sure you’ve either downloaded the route at a point you’re connected to Wi-Fi, or get a local sim. Sim cards are available several places, like the airport.
The sun sets around 5:30 pm. It’s a lot harder to navigate when it’s dark. For safety reasons you should also make sure you have some extra time available in case of congestion, accident or you make a wrong turn.
A definitive perk with driving is that you can stop wherever, whenever you wan’t. Costa Rica has a lot of beautiful small places in between. Stop by some beautiful viewpoints, and get some first hand look into the daily life at the countryside.
If you’re driving in steep terrain, be observant of how you use the brakes. If you push the pedal to hard or to often they overheat. It might happen more rapidly than you’re used to. Costa Rica roads can get extremely warm. It is recommended to pause for a while to let the breaks cool down if you are descending from a steep mountain on a warm day.
There’s a lot of great places to stop to get a bite. Casado is a sure winner. Good and healthy.
Costa Rica is a beautiful country to travel. The possibilities are many. You can get around on a budget or more glamorous ways. Take precautions and the country is safe to travel in. Drive carefully and enjoy the ride.