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How to get from San Jose Costa Rica to Tamarindo

Tamarindo is one of the most visited destinations in Costa Rica, so it is straightforward to get from San Jose, Costa Rica, to Tamarindo. You can choose between different means of transportation.

Tamarindo is a small town in the Guanacaste province of Costa Rica.

It is located on the Pacific coast and is well known for its great surfing and nightlife.

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How far is Tamarindo from San Jose?

The road distance from San Jose to Tamarindo is about 261 kilometers or 162 miles.

The flight distance from San Jose to the nearest airport in Limon betrays 167 kilometers ( about 104 miles).

Here you can find more information about Costa Rica transportation.

Transportation Options from San Jose to Tamarindo

The following table outlines all transportation options from San Jose to Tamarindo:

MethodTravel timePrice
Bus from San Jose to Tamarindo5-7 hoursUSD 10
Shared Shuttle from San Jose to Tamarindo5-7 hoursUSD 50
Private Transfer from San Jose to Tamarindo4 hours 45 minutes
Flight from San Jose to Tamarindo~2 hours
Rental Car4 hours 45 minutes

How to get from San Jose, Costa Rica, to Tamarindo

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1. Public Bus from San Jose to Tamarindo

Journey Duration: 5-7 hours

Alfaro bus company is serving the route San Jose Costa Rica to Tamarindo daily at 11:30 AM (via Liberia) and 03:30 PM (via Caldera) from the Alfaro Terminal in San Jose.

The terminal is located at the intersection of Avenida 3 and Calles 14/16. The trip takes between five and seven hours and costs 10USD.

The bus tickets are only sold at the bus station on a first-come, first-serve basis. The bus will not stop at the San Jose airport when it’s full.

It is for sure the cheapest option; however, not the best one when you have a hotel reservation in Tamarindo or limited travel time in Costa Rica.

Tralapa is a second company that departs from Tralapa Terminal San José at 7 AM and 4 PM via Liberia.

You can also take a bus operated by the La Pampa bus company from Liberia. Buses depart throughout the day, and the 2.5 hours trip costs around 3 USD.

Tamarindo Beach, Costa Rica
©Universal Traveller by Tim Kroeger

GuateGo

On GuateGo, you can check all available transportation options from San Jose to Tamarindo. It is a reliable and easy-to-use platform to compare prices & schedules and make a booking online.

From San Jose To Tamarindo

2. San Jose Costa Rica to Tamarindo Shared Van Shuttle

Journey Duration: 5-7 hours

Like most popular tourist destinations in Costa Rica, Tamarindo is well reachable by a shared van shuttle from your hotel or the airport in San Jose.

The price per person starts at 50 USD, one way.

3. Private Transfer from San Jose to Tamarindo

Journey Duration: 4 hours 45 minutes

If you don’t want to depend on the public bus or shared Van schedule or when you travel with a big group, you can also book a private transfer from your hotel or the airport in San Jose to Tamarindo.

How To Get From San Jose Costa Rica To Tamarindo2

4. Flights to Tamarindo, Costa Rica

Journey Duration: ~2 hours

Aerobell Airlines offers daily flights from Tobias Bolanos International Airport in Pavas, San Jose, to the small, private airport in Tamarindo.

Please be aware that the airport in Pavas is around 20 kilometers from the big international airport of San Jose (SJO).

If you want to travel straight from San Jose Airport (SJO) to Tamarindo, flying with Sansa Air to Liberia Airport might be better.

It takes around two hours to get from Liberia airport to Tamarindo, so flying there is only recommended if you have a connecting flight from San Jose airport.

The distance from Tamarindo to Liberia airport is 67 kilometers (42 miles).

If you decide to fly to Liberia, you can get a shuttle from Liberia to Tamarindo.

Prices start at 20 USD for a shared shuttle and 80USD for a private transfer. You can also take a taxi from Liberia airport to Tamarindo.

How To Get From San Jose Costa Rica To Tamarindo3

GuateGo

On GuateGo, you can check all available transportation options from San Jose to Tamarindo. It is a reliable and easy-to-use platform to compare prices & schedules and make a booking online.

Looking For A Way To Get To Tamarindo?
How To Get From San Jose Costa Rica To Tamarindo3 2
©Mlenny via Canva.com

5. Driving with Rental Car

Journey Duration: 4 hours 45 minutes

One significant advantage of traveling by car to Tamarindo is that you can stop along the way and not depend on bus or flight schedules.

San Jose to Tamarindo drive time is between four to five hours, depending on the traffic.

How To Get From San Jose Costa Rica To Tamarindo1

Best day tours in Tamarindo, Costa Rica

Get Your Guide helps you find the best tours wherever you are heading to. It’s usually the first website I check when I plan a trip to a new place.

The following widget shows some of the best tours in Tamarindo, Costa Rica.

Protect your trip: With all our travel experience, we highly recommend you hit the road with travel insurance. SafetyWing offers flexible & reliable Digital Nomads Travel Medical Insurance at just a third of the price of similar competitor plans.