There was an active discussion on this forum a couple months ago about the best way to get to Montezuma from San Jose Airport. My wife and I recently spent 8 days in Montezuma and I thought I’d relate our experiences traveling to and from the village in case it helps others with their travel plans.
Our flight from the US arrived on time in San Jose at 12:35 and then it took us about an hour to get through customs, collect our bags, get money from the bank machine and get out to meet our pre-arranged taxi. Getting out of the airport at 1:40 as we did, we probably could have caught either the 2:00 PM shuttle or the 2:10 flight to Tambor, but we had decided to book a taxi to the ferry so that we would be assured of having transportation if our flight to SJO was delayed or customs/baggage claim took a long time. The taxi worked out great. Our driver, Alex Hernandez, was waiting for us in the departure area with a sign showing my name so that he was easy to find. Alex was a pleasure to drive with and his taxi was very comfortable. When we met up with him, he immediately told us that we had plenty of time to get to the ferry and that he would be happy to make any stops or side trips if we wanted. We decided on the spur of the moment to travel into Sarchi to buy some rocking chairs that we saw on our last trip to CR, and Alex graciously drove us to a furniture store and then the Los Cuyos chair factory where we purchased our chairs and shipped them back to the US. We then continued on to the Puntarenas and arrived in plenty of time to get our ferry tickets at a small store across the street from the ferry landing and get on the 5:00 ferry to Paquera.
The ferry ride took a little over an hour and was very pleasant as we sat on the deck drinking beer (there are food and drinks available on the boat) and watching the sun set over the Nicoya Peninsula. When we got off the boat, we were greeted by numerous taxi drivers offering to take us wherever we wanted, but we rushed past them and got on the public bus to Montezuma. We had to put our luggage in the storage compartment under the bus and managed to get the last couple seats on the bus (which eventually filled up with people standing in the aisle). The bus ride to Montezuma took about 1.5 hours and we finally got there at 8:00 PM – a very long day of travel that included a 3:30 AM drive to the airport, two flights, two hours in a taxi, a ferry ride and a bus. Overall, the trip from SJO to Montezuma cost (in USD) $105 + tip for the taxi. $1.70/person for the ferry and about $4/person for the bus (total = ~$135 for 2 people).
For anyone who can afford it, I would definitely recommend taking a taxi or driver from SJO to the ferry. It provides comfort and privacy and takes away any concerns about making connections, possible theft of luggage, etc. Also, if I were to do this again, we would probably get a taxi from the ferry to Montezuma just to make the last leg of the trip a bit more comfortable.
For the return to SJO, we decided to take a water taxi from Montezuma to Jaco and then a shuttle from Jaco to our hotel on Alajuela. This worked out great! We booked the trip through Zuma Tours at a cost of $80/person. On the morning of our departure, we went to the Zuma Tours office in Montezuma and they walked us down to the beach along with the other passengers to board the boat. They put everyone’s luggage in large green garbage bags and stored them in a storage compartment at the front of the boat to keep everything dry. The seas were fairly calm that day so no one on the boat got wet during the ride (note: you need to walk through shallow water to get on and off the boat, so it’s best to be wearing shorts and sandals for the ride). At Jaco, we were met by a Zuma Tours shuttle that dropped the other passengers off at different locations in Jaco and then drove my wife and I directly to our hotel in Alajuela. The entire trip from Montezuma to Alajuela took 3 hours and we were in our hotel room by 12:30 PM!! It was definitely a great way to travel!
Overall, both of these methods of travel worked out well for us. The next time we go to Montezuma, I think we’ll try getting later flight into SJO, take a taxi/driver from SJO to Jaco , spend the night in Jaco and then take the morning water taxi to Montezuma. The water taxi is fun and adds a bit of excitement to the trip. There’s also the possibility of seeing whales or dolphins on the way over.