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There are various options for getting around Costa Rica.
(The companies and drivers listed in this article have been mentioned in the Forums or added by customers or by the providers themselves. This article does not endorse any - just gives contact information. its always a good idea try to check the reputation on line as a reference.)
You can choose scheduled shuttles like the ones listed below. They run between popular destinations, pick up/ drop off at a hotel, are reliable and not too expensive. Ask for child discounts, baby seats and child booster are now mandatory by law so request in advance and check shuttle routes, schedules & prices.
Several private companies and drivers have been recommended in the Forums. This is usually the most expensive option unless you have a larger group. But a good driver can also act as a guide and point out interesting sights and give you background and good information about the country along the way. You can gain a lot of insight from a driver or guide who was born and raised in Costa Rica, is always a good idea to check customer reviews before you pay for it due to its a guarantee of quality, specially when its the first time you start using the services of any company.
Costa Rica Earth: email@example.com / www.costaricaearth.com
Biotours Costa Rica Ecotours & Private Transportation (Carlos & David): http://costaricatourtransportation.com/
Costa Rica Trip Guide / Transportation in Costa Rica: Erick Hidalgo (Bilingual Driver) Toll-Free 1-800-668-5056 / firstname.lastname@example.org / (San Jose and Liberia Airports Transfers) http://www.transportationincostarica....
Danny Jimenez: email@example.com
Liberia Airport Taxis: http://www.liberiacostaricaairport.ne...
Leo Rodriguez: firstname.lastname@example.org@yahoo.com / email@example.com / www.aaatourcostarica.com
Flaco's Tours (Flaco Carvajal R.): firstname.lastname@example.org
Liberia Airport Taxi: http://www.liberiaairporttaxis.com/
Costa Rica Fox Adventure (Oscar M Gutierrez): email@example.com
Santos Fuentes: http://www.costaricagroundtransfers.com
Morpho Vans: - http://www.morphovans.com/
Wilfredo Villalobos: (Bilingual Driver) firstname.lastname@example.org (506) 2640 0811
Rafa Cespedes Drake Bay osa Peninsula boat ride sierpe - Spanish (506 88481767) English (506 85296750)
Juan Carlos - email@example.com
Insight Costa Rica - http://insightcostarica.com/ or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Juan Carlos Aguilar is the best at email@example.com
Shuttle Costa Rica: firstname.lastname@example.org / http://www.shuttlecostarica.com
Costa Rica Drivers: email@example.com / www.costaricadriver.net
DotTransfers Costa Rica: firstname.lastname@example.org / www.dottransfers.com/costa-rica
Monkey Ride www.monkeyridecr.com Phone: (506) 2787-0454 (506) 8651-9090 US (323) 285-8832 Email: email@example.com
Everywhere Costa Rica www.everywherecr.com 8364 4601
TicoRide - Costa Rica Private Transportation, Transfer & Shuttle Service: www.ticoride.com / firstname.lastname@example.org
Roberth Solis Rodriquez (506) 8730-6659 / email@example.com
Using the public buses. The cheapest option are the public buses. They run frequently, are reasonably comfortable and punctual. San Jose to Manuel Antonio, eg. only costs around $8 one way. Use the "directo" buses where possible. No need to speak Spanish, but a little bit might help. Watch your belongings - don't put anything in the overhead bin.
Below are links for different bus schedules. (Always subject to change)
http://www.offthegridtraveler.com (mobile app with all bus routes for entire country)
http://www.visitcostarica.com/ict/pag... (Good for direct routes)
http://www.thebusschedule.com/cr/inde... (useful for trying to work out connections)
DOMESTIC AIRLINES -Flying on small commuter planes...
- Natureair. Costa Rican airline with international flights to Panama and Nicaragua. They have over 15 destinations to the most remote places within these 3 countries.
- Sansa or Natureair . The airlines have a baggage allowance of approximately 20 pounds per person. (check with the airline for exact allowable weights - which can vary depending on the fare type.) Also, with some advance planning chartering airplanes through Paradise Air can provide great flexibility and convenience (if you are comfortable flying in small aircraft). Sansa airlines provides very competitive rates on charter flights (checked on July 15, 2014)
Nature Air contact number: 1-800-235-9272
RENTING A CAR
There are many car rental agencies throughout the country. Here is a list of the car rentals companies recognized by the Costa Rican Tourism Board -ICT http://www.visitcostarica.com/ict/pag... and another link where you can find the car rental companies that are members of the Costa Rican Chamber of Tourism -CANATUR. It has been recommended that a GPS is very helpful. Be sure to read the Top Questions on the Costa Rica Forum about renting a car in Costa Rica. Be aware that there is a mandatory liability insurance that you must buy - no matter what kind of other coverage you have
Below is an online maps that are useful for planning your routing and estimating time and distances. Be aware that if you use Google Maps, the driving times they give are low compared to the actual times you will experience.
Having a GPS unit in Costa Rica is a godsend. The unit warns of upcoming one-lane bridges, slowing for school zones, where to find gas and food, etc. (although it didn't know about potholes, unfortunately) and it helps you find roads and sights all over the country. This really reduces the stress of a Costa Rica trip! Go for it. It's worth it. Car rental agencies charge $10 per day, but even that is worth it. A very few car rental companies offer the GPS free of charge.
Rental cars are readily available in all tourist zones or towns as also at or nearby both International airports (San Jose and Liberia). Reservations are suggested, mainly in high season months. They will pick you up directly at the airport or at your hotel. Drop-off at another location is available through most car rental agencies; usually with an additional charge to do so.
For those that don't want the responsibility of driving in a strange country, taxis are also abundant. Beware though, that the only legal taxis are RED with a yellow triangle on the side. All others are illegal and are probably not insured to take passengers. If the transit police stop the "pirate" taxi, you and your luggage may be left on the side of the road. Legal taxis must have a "Maria" or meter although set rates are sometimes better than the maria. In rural areas, you won't often find "official" legal taxis and here it is OK just to use a local taxi to get around. There is an app for your phone available so you can check the correct charge of your trip http://www.taxiandocr.com .
It is always a good idea try to check the reputation on www.tripadvisor.com of the company before you pay due to this could help you to avoid many problems.
Some modes work better than others from certain locations. So what works well will depends on things like which places you plan to visit, if you are flexible about the times you want to leave, what your budget and preferred travel style is and how many in your travel party..
For example from Arenal or Monteverde to Manuel Antonio using a shared shuttle is a good idea. Taking the public bus would be a long drawn out process for which you would need time and patience as there are no direct buses. Air service between Arenal and MA is also available.
From Manuel Antonio to San Jose - the public bus is convenient and is the most economical. The cost is about $8.00 per person and the trip takes about 3.5 hours.
Sansa and Nature Air also can be a good options for many locations from San Jose - ie the OSA, or Nicoya (Tambor) etc.
For some routings specialized transportation exists. For example from Arenal to Monteverde, the jeep/boat/jeep o taxi/boat/taxi is the quickest. For the Montezuma/Mal Pais area to the Jaco area, there is a watertaxi service which shortens the trip.