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Getting Around in Costa Rica

To get to most regions, you have to start from San José, which is the hub of public transport. It is often easier to go to one region and then return to San José to find transportation to another area. However depending on what part of the country you are in there are some local hubs you can travel to get to another city in that same region.

The majority of Costa Ricans do not own cars. Therefore, public transportation is quite good and you can get buses to almost any part of the country. Remote or small towns may be served by only one bus a day, but you can get there. Keep in mind that even though these buses may seem to run on a relaxed schedule they do leave on time to the minute and they will leave you behind even if you bought a ticket in advance.

Car rental is popular because a car can get you places you can’t get to by public transportation. It also gives you the freedom to travel when you want and to stop wherever you like. Because buses to remote areas are not very frequent, you can cover more ground in a shorter time with a car. However driving at night especially on mountain roads is quite hazardous, due to large trucks on small roads with a lot of blind corners, and I do not suggest doing this unless absolutely necessary.

The other alternative is flying within Costa Rica with one of the 2 domestic airlines. This is a great time saver if you have the extra money and don’t necessarily need a car at your final destination. Some of the internal carriers, either Sansa or Nature Air, do offer packages where you can have unlimited flights for one or two weeks for one flat price. There are about 15 or so airstrips that these airlines fly to and traveling to a remote part of the country it is much better to fly than to drive or endure the 8 – 12 hour bus ride. Depending on where you are staying you can arrange for a private chartered flight to other more remote airstrips, check with the lodge you are going to stay at for more info.

In order to narrow down your search, please choose the type of transportation you are interested in, to choose all of the types of transportation in a particular region or city click on the appropriate name on the left.
Choose How to Get Around in Costa Rica
South Puntarenas Region (South Costa Rica)Cartago Region (Central Valley)Limon Region (Caribbean Coast)San Jose RegionNorth Puntarenas Region (Central Pacific Coast)Heredia Region Alajuela Region (Arenal Volcano)Guanacaste Region (North Pacific Coast)