This ultimate guide about Costa Rica transportation provides all information that you need about getting around Costa Rica.
Costa Rica is a relatively small country. You can reach almost every place from the capital city San Jose within a few hours.
Nevertheless, Costa Rica has so many different sights to offer from spectacular volcanos to beautiful beaches to some of the most bio diverse national parks to Monteverde Cloud Forest and the highlands.
There are different ways to travel around Costa Rica, depending on the destination, your budget and your travel style.
You can choose between public transportation, shared shuttle van, private transfer, rental car, taxi & Uber, plane or boat.
1. Costa Rica Public Transportation
Traveling in Costa Rica by bus is easy and very affordable. The buses run frequently, even in remote places and are quite reliable.
Most places are well connected with the capital city San Jose. Just be aware that you will have to drive back to San Jose most of the time before continuing to the next place.
2. Shared Van Shuttle
A shared van transfer is an economic and easy way to get from point A to B. You can for example book a shuttle from the airport in San Jose to most popular tourist destinations.
3. Private Transfer
A private transfer is especially interesting if you are traveling in a group or with your family. The driver will pick you up at your hotel and gets you exactly where you want to go. You don’t have to first take a taxi to a pick-up point.
If you want you can also negotiate some stops on the way to your destination or hire a driver who works as well as a guide.
A private transfer is a great choice if you want to travel independently but don’t want to drive by yourself.
4. Travel by Plane
If you want to visit different places in a short time travelling by plane will definitely be the best option for you.
Aerobell Airlines and Sansa are connecting many popular destinations with San Jose. Both airlines use small aircrafts so you should pack light and book your flight in advance to get the best price.
5. Rental Car
The best way to explore Costa Rica independently is by driving around with your own rental car. This way you don’t depend on bus schedules or flight availability.
Before deciding for a car you should think about where you would like to go as you will need a 4×4 for certain destinations.
6. Uber & Taxi
Especially in San Jose Uber is making your life really easy. You don’t have to fight with taxi drivers that try to rip you off and it also works well without Spanish skills.
From my own experience I can tell that Uber driver usually also have way better and safer cars and sometimes even provide water or snacks.
Monteverde is just 140 kilometers away from Costa Rica's capital city San Jose. Just be aware that the last 20 kilometeters are not paved.
The most spectacular way to travel to Manuel Antonio from San Jose is by airplane. During the just seventeen minutes long flight you got to enjoy breathtaking views of Costa Rica's landscape, given that the weather is on your side.
From the city to the Caribbean in under fours hours? No problem! Some of Costa Rica's most beautiful beaches are waiting for you in Puerto Viejo. Click here to find out how to get there from San Jose.
Tamarindo is one of the best surf spots in Costa Rica. You can get there by flying from San Jose to its small airport or the airport in nearby Liberia. Alternatively, there are daily public buses and shuttles.