There are a variety of options for moving between destinations in Costa Rica - domestic flights, rental cars, shuttles, private vans, ferries, public bus, and even horseback. Your travel routes, budget, and length of stay are all important factors to consider when deciding on one or a combination of these options, and the guide below can help with a detailed description of each travel mode. While transportation modes may vary in flexibility and comfort, each is an opportunity to take in Costa Rica’s amazing scenery.
Private transport service offers a safe, convenient, and flexible way to travel anywhere within Costa Rica. Private transport can be scheduled anytime you wish and from any airport, hotel, private home or identifiable landmark in Costa Rica. All the vehicles used for private transportation are air conditioned, well-maintained minibuses (passenger vans) driven by reliable and punctual Costa Rican professionals, who are eager to help your group move safely about the country.
For travelers who prefer independence and flexibility or simply better access to hidden beaches, a rental car may be a good option for either the whole trip or just part of it. In general, rental cars are only a good option for adventure-minded travelers, who do not mind a few challenges along the way. Rental cars are generally not recommended for first time visitors to Costa Rica, because Costa Rica driving conditions can be intimidating and directional road signs are often missing. Nevertheless, with a positive, resilient, and adventurous outlook, as well as a good road map/GPS, first time visitors can successfully navigate the country.
Costa Rica is about the size of West Virginia, but ground transportation can take many hours on its rough, windy, and mountainous roads. Depending on your travel route, domestic flights may be the most convenient and sensible option. Traveling between some destinations can take up to 8 hours by ground, while a domestic flight can cut that travel time to 35 minutes - a major time saver, especially if you have only a short time in Costa Rica.
Shuttle service is a shared transportation option in an air-conditioned minibus (or coaster) between popular destinations. Shuttle routes operate daily, and in some cases there are multiple departure times throughout the day. However, shuttles are by no means a public bus. They are subject to availability and must be reserved in advance.