7 Transportation Decisions You Must Make Before Visiting Costa Rica

Costa Rica is a dream vacation destination for so many reasons. From its pristine beaches and stunning biodiversity to its glorious climate and laid-back vibe, there is so much to love about this small Central American country. No wonder millions of vacationers flock there every year.

Of course, you should take care of choosing the perfect accommodation according to your travel preferences and also consider your must-sees and dos during your stay in Costa Rica. But it can also be crucial to make the right decisions when it comes to transport.

Here are 7 transportation decisions to consider when booking your trip to the land of Pura Vida!

1. Which airport is the best?

Let’s look at flying first. There are two international airports in Costa Rica: Liberia and San Jose. Liberia, the smaller of the two, is in the province of Guanacaste near the Pacific Ocean. The roads around it are smooth and well-paved for the most part, and this airport gives you quick access to the country’s beautiful Pacific Northwest coast.

San Jose is the capital of Costa Rica, and it’s where you should fly when traveling to the central and southern regions of the country. It’s also usually considerably cheaper than flying to Liberia, but you’ll expect the highest transfer costs if your accommodations are further afield.

Make sure you create your flight plans with budget and transfer times!

Once you arrive in San Jose, you have the following options to get to your final destination:

2. Do you need to rent a vehicle?

It’s the age-old question for any vacation: Is a rental car or vehicle really necessary? In Costa Rica, it really matters. Think about your personal travel style. Do you like to swim with the current and take a trip to the top? Are you a confident driver who is not afraid of rough and steep terrain? Then maybe the flexibility of renting is worth it. On the other hand, if you have a built-in itinerary and don’t feel the need to change it drastically, or if you plan to drive to the resort and stay there, you may not feel a burning desire to put up with the extra Responsibility of a rental abroad.

Do your homework, factor in all the fees and costs, and then decide what it’s worth to you. If you decide to rent a car, remember that there are several toll highways in Costa Rica and you should have cash on hand to pay!

3. Can you rely on public transport?

Costa Rica has a cheap and reliable public bus system with multiple operators operating routes between major cities and tourist attractions. However, it requires some know-how to navigate it. You should master some Spanish basics so you can recognize commonly used abbreviations for days of the week and travel destinations. And while buses are certainly one of the cheapest modes of transportation in Costa Rica, they’re also time-consuming. It will take much longer to get from point A to point B when stopping in small towns along rural routes. On the other side it will definitely be more scenic!

If you prefer to use a shuttle bus to travel to your final destination in Costa Rica, here are some Bookaway bus options:

4. Will ridesharing or taxis be available?

Suppose you decide not to take a rental vehicle and instead take private transportation to your destination. You should still find out if a ride-sharing service will be available if you want a chance to explore the resort. You can find Uber in major Costa Rican cities, including Liberia and San Jose. Taxis are also available in larger areas, but you should make sure you stop and get into an officially licensed car. Look for a yellow triangle on the door with a license number inside.

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5. Which places should you not miss?

Keep in mind that Costa Rica’s topography varies greatly, from sea-level beaches to mountain ranges with active volcanoes. It’s always a good idea to take a long look at your itinerary and create your transport plan from there. From San Jose to the Pacific Coast, down to Manuel Antonio and then up to Arenal? You will have different needs than someone planning to stay on the beach for a week. (For the record, we’re fans of both approaches!) You can choose to use multiple modes of transport or just one. The bottom line is that you should consider your must-do list and find the best ways to get there while staying on budget, comfortable, and most importantly, safe.

6. Consider the amount of stress you are willing to take on

That’s a big deal. Traveling from place to place in a foreign country is stressful, even for the most experienced globetrotter. We rented a 4×4 there and our 3 hour drive from San Jose Airport to our resort was one of the most exciting and scary experiences ever! We loved it but not everyone would do it. If the idea of ​​white-knuckled rides and getting lost freaks you out, check out and book a worry-free Bookaway transportation option that will get you where you need to be.

7. Is there a shuttle option?

Finally, contact your resort to see if they offer a direct shuttle option to and from the airport. many do. Yes, they come at a cost, but a shuttle service gives you peace of mind, saves you the time and paperwork of a rental, and guarantees your vacation starts with ease…even if your flight is delayed.

Bookaway is your online ground transportation booking platform that takes the stress out of traveling so you can enjoy the ride. From shuttle buses to private vans, planes and ferries, they are your one-stop-shop for travel throughout Costa Rica and over 120 countries around the world.

For more information on what to see and do in Costa Rica:

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