Traveling in Costa Rica

Traveling in Costa Rica

Airplane: According to constructmaterials, Costa Rica’s national airlines are NatureAir and SANSA (which is part of Grupo TACA).
Both companies fly with small planes (machines for 14 and 19 people respectively). The maximum luggage weight is limited to 12 kg. NatureAir flies from Tobias Bolanos Airport, 8 km west of San Jose, Sansa uses a terminal at Juan Santamaria International Airport. Tickets are limited so book in advance. Flight schedules are constantly changing and there are often delays due to bad weather.

All domestic flights take off and land in San José. Places that can be approached from here include Golfito, Bahia Drake, Playa Nosara, Barra del Colorado, Liberia, Coto, Tambor Totuguero, Palmar Sur, Playa Samara, Quepos, Playa Tamarindo and Puerto Jiménez.

Bookings for these flights can only be made in Costa Rica.

Ship: Ferries in the Golfo de Nicoya connect the central Pacific coast with the south of the Nicoya Peninsula. The route between the port of Puntarenas and Playa Naranjo is used by ferries several times a day, as is the route between Puntarenas and Vaquero.
On the Golfo Dulce there are daily ferry connections between Golfito and Puerto Jimenez. On the other side of the Península de Osa, water taxis connect Bahia Drake to Sierpe.

On the Caribbean coast there are bus and boat services that connect Cariari with Tortuguero as well as Parismina and Siquirres several times a day. Boats also use the canals and rivers such as the San Carlos, San Juan, Rio Frio, Sierpe, Sarapiqui and Grande de Térraba, but there is no regular service. There is a water taxi between Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui and Trinidad on the Rio San Juan. The San Juan River is part of Nicaragua, so take your passport with you.

Bus: Local buses are a relatively slow, but inexpensive way to get around Costa Rica.
San José is the transport center for Costa Rica, but there is no central bus station here, instead there are bus stations of different sizes scattered across the city.
Usually there is no need to buy the bus tickets in advance. Exceptions are the days before and after major public holidays, especially Easter, when the buses are absolutely full. Note that there are no buses on the Thursday, Friday and Saturday before Easter Sunday. There are two types of buses in Costa Rica: directo and colectivo. However, there is no major difference between the two, except that the colectivo buses are even slower than the directo buses.

During intermediate stops, make sure that your luggage is not handed over to strangers. Always keep important documents with you when traveling by bus. Luggage theft on the bus is a common occurrence.
Bus timetables tend not to be kept in Costa Rica.

Local buses(mostly converted school buses from the USA) run mainly in San José, Puntarenas, San Isidro, Golfito and Puerto Limón, where they connect cities and suburbs. Most local buses collect their passengers along the main thoroughfares.

Car: there are around 36,000 km of roads in Costa Rica, only around 6,500 km are paved, 653 km of which belong to the route of the Pan-American Highway.

When driving a vehicle in Costa Rica, the 90 day national driver’s license is usually accepted. The international driving license is also often recognized. For periods longer than 90 days, you must apply for a Costa Rica driver’s license.

Gasoline and diesel are available from numerous all-day gas stations across the country. In remote areas, fuel is often more expensive and can also be sold out of barrels. Spare parts are sometimes difficult to find.

rent a car
Most rental companies are located in San José and popular tourist destinations on the Pacific coast (Quepos, Tamarindo, Puerto Jimenez, and Jaco). Renting a car is not cheap, especially when it comes to off-road vehicles. Many rental agencies insist on an off-road vehicle for longer trips in the country, as the driving conditions can be poor, especially in the rainy season. Normal vehicles do not make sense outside of the main traffic routes.

To rent a car on your Costa Rica vacation, you will need a valid driver’s license, credit card, and passport. The minimum age is 21 years. When you reserve a car, get written confirmation. Check the rental car for minor damage before picking it up and make sure that any damage is noted in the rental agreement.

The roads in Costa Rica are in poor condition and minor accidents or damage to the car are not uncommon. Comprehensive insurance coverage is not too expensive and is worthwhile. However, most insurances do not cover damage caused by flooding or river crossings (sometimes necessary in Costa Rica).

Rental cars in Costa Rica are the focus of thieves, never leave valuables in the parked car, empty the trunk at night as well. Park the car in a guarded parking lot. The maximum speed is 88 km / h on main roads and 40 km / h in urban areas.

All major international agencies have branches in Costa Rica, but local companies often offer better conditions.

Taxisare considered a form of public transport in remote areas of Costa Rica. Taximeters are not used for longer journeys, so agree on the price with the driver before you travel. The fares depend on the road and weather conditions, the condition of the taxis varies from very poor to fairly comfortable. In most places there is at least one licensed taxi, but in some remote villages you have to use private drivers.

Renting a taxi with a driver costs the same or less than renting a car from a rental company. In addition, you can concentrate on the view and sights while driving.

In San José, taxis have meters, but many drivers try not to use them – especially if you don’t speak Spanish. However, it is not allowed to drive without a taximeter. The normal taxis in San José are red, the orange ones only go to the airport. Outside of San José, most taxis do not have a meter and fares should be agreed in advance.

In some cities there are colectivo taxis in which several passengers share the price, in rural regions, off-road vehicles are often used as taxis.

Bicycle: Mountain bikes can sometimes be rented in tourist areas. Some travel companies also organize bike tours in Costa Rica.

Traveling in Costa Rica