Transportation in Costa Rica
There are endless possibilities to gent from one place to another in Costa Rica. I will talk here about some specialties or what you normally don't find. Depending on where you want to go, and also depending your budget, transportation has to be planned differently in this country. If you plan to go to one of the remote areas like Tortuguero or Drake Bay we recommend to plan these trips at the beginning or the end of your stay if you are planning to rent a car; because you cannot take your car to these places and would be paying rent without being able to use your vehicle.
The Best Way to get around
In my opinion the best way to get around is renting a car. The cheapest is public transportation by bus. There are no trains and hitch-hiking is an absolute no-no here. Public buses start at a fixed time (some every hour, others 2 times a day, etc.) and leaving from different places for different destinations. Best is to consult our web site and to be sure call the company or ask a cab-driver.
The next little less complicated much more comfortable way are semi-private buses, they go to a fixed route at a fixed time and cater to the individual hotels. They will take you directly to the hotel and back, but you have to be there at the scheduled time. Then there an endless amount of small and middle sized mini-buses managed by hundreds of tour operators in Costa Rica. Some of these buses some come with a guide some without, most guides speak English, some not.
If you are planning to fly to one of the more remote areas, please do the booking with us. In some places it is very important that the pilot has experience with extremely short landing strips of individual hotels. For instance never fly directly to Tiskita Lodge. Fly only to Puerto Jiménez and a pilot familiar with the landing-strip will take you from there to the hotel.
Driving in Costa Rica
For the complete text about driving in Costa Rica please consult our Rent a Car Page. If you are able to pick up your car out of town or at your Hotel, which is possible with several Hotels and Car Rental companies listed here, try to avoid driving in San José, unless you are used to narrow streets, complicated one-way systems, heavy traffic and thefts from cars. If you still have to drive through town, while driving, keep your windows half way up and the doors locked specially when luggage is visible. Don't hang your gold watch out the window.
If you drive out of San José the situation will change. You will find from very good double-lane highways to dirt roads that go through rivers. If you want to see pictures about driving in Costa Rica, click here. Remember that the insurance doesn't cover damages caused by crossing rivers and unlike Panama, most companies in Costa Rica don't cover damage on tires and rims. Most roads in Costa Rica are single-lane, without shoulders, have potholes of all sizes, and are winding. Please drive defensively and always expect a cow, horse, oxcart, slow moving truck, a cyclist or a broken down vehicle around the bend. Certain roads have the reputation of being particularly dangerous. The stretch from San José to San Isidro El General and the road to Limón are two of them.
Explore the Wonders of Nature with a 4x4!
A rented car is especially indispensable if you are interested in nature and remote areas. Some of the most incredible places we visited during our tours can only be accessed by small one-engine planes or with a 4x4 like for instance the beautiful beach at Cahuita National Park, Playa Nosara, Monteverde, or the incredible Nature Paradise at Tiskita Jungle Lodge in Pavones and Drake Bay.