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Getting around Costa Rica

General information

Getting around Costa Rica 4x4 drive

There are a few different ways to travel around Costa Rica. For all forms of local transport in Central America, it’s true to say that an adventurous and flexible attitude is necessary. When it comes to punctuality and creature comforts, the transport can’t really be compared to what you might be used to. Our Travel Specialists will arrange the longer transfers between cities for you, linking our bite-sized trips together with transport options we feel best suit your trip. They’ll try to use a mix of the options below, giving you an adventurous and varied trip.


We believe the best way to travel in Costa Rica is by hire car as it gives you the freedom to explore at your own pace. Many of our hotels lie just outside the main towns where it’s a little quieter, and having a car means you can pop into town easily.

Most roads you’ll need to drive on are paved, with only a few bumpy tracks at Rincon and Monteverde with steep hairpin bends en route. As nearly all the roads pass through San Jose, you won’t always follow the most direct route and holes in the road mean you can’t really travel faster than 50mph, sometimes less, and on the unpaved roads, this reduces to around 10 miles per hour.

Costa Rica transport 4x4 on dirt track and rainbow over the rainforest in the distance

Shuttle bus

If you don’t want to drive, shuttle buses are a good alternative with almost all routes running daily. We can reserve your seats in advance and you’ll get picked up at your accommodation and dropped off at your next hotel. They have up to 20 seats and air-con, and for longer journeys, you’ll stop off to pick up something for lunch.

On departure and arrival, you may have to go via the accommodation of other travellers. As many of our hotels are situated just outside the main towns, you’ll need to catch a taxi if you want to head into town. This is easy in the main cities but can be a little trickier around the National Parks where taxis are fewer and cost a little more.


Most people fly into the international airport in San Jose, Juan Santamaria. Sansa Airlines flies from San Jose to North and Central America. The most booked domestic flight is from Drake Bay to San Jose because people often end their trip in Corcovado. It’s worth bearing in mind these are small propeller aircraft and you can’t take much luggage on-board.

Costa Rica small aeroplane transport
Costa Rica kayaking Samara Beach

Travelling with meaning

In Costa Rica, we can organise shared transfers where possible to minimise the effects of too many vehicles on the road and you can also meet other travellers who may be on a similar route to you and compare notes. In Tortuguero, we arrange a canoe ride through the mangroves as it’s more environmentally friendly than the motorised boat option and, as it’s quieter, it increases the chances of sloth spotting. We encourage everyone to walk where possible, you get the chance to spot wildlife and take in the views. Plus, it’s free.