Costa Rica rent a car, taxi and getting around

Getting around Costa Rica. Taxis, rent a car When visiting Costa Rica while on holiday.

There is an abundance of possibilities for getting around Costa Rica – domestic flights, car rentals, private transfers, shuttles, public buses, taxis, and trains. These options differ in flexibility, budget, and comfort, delivering different methods to experience and enjoy the country’s beautiful scenery.

Ideally, you can hire a taxi for short trips, or by the hour, half-day, or even full-day. Many locals consider taxis a form of public transportation, and sharing taxis is common. 

Both public and local buses in Costa Rica deliver excellent service and are much cheaper than in other countries. Bus service is also the ideal option for budget travellers and backpackers. However, they can sometimes get very crowded where people must ride and wait on the railways. Also, luggage space is limited on most public buses, unless it is a specialized tour bus such as a means of private transport. On the other hand, all authorized taxis must have a counter, and you must be sure that it is turned on when entering the car. Taxis in the city are as plentiful as buses.

Suppose you use public buses or shuttles to get from one destination to another. Sometimes public or local shuttle buses are available, in Manuel Antonio, for example, but many tourist spots do not have any. Attractions such as the Arenal Volcano (La Fortuna) and the Monteverde Cloud Forest (Santa Elena) are spread over ten or twenty kilometres. Without renting a car, visitors have to rely on other options.

Public Buses are Often the cheapest mode of transportation for individual travel in Costa Rica. Buses range in price from about $0.90 to $18.00 and can be the fastest and most convenient way. Buses on the main roads are modern and comfortable, but they are usually not air-conditioned.

San Jose is the bus hub of Costa Rica. There is no single central station; Buses leave from various stations or roadside stations around the city. Easily you can Download a bus schedule from the Costa Rica Tourism website. So, try to get to the station early – especially if you’re taking a bus along a country road. Tables tend to be approximate.

Actually, Local buses are not the most efficient way of transport in Costa Rica, but they are cheap, reliable, and cover the country extensively.


  • Recommended getting to the station early, if you take a bus from Friday to Monday or on holiday. Hence, Buses can only fill the sitting room during these peak times.
  • Buses generally do not have bathrooms for less than four-hour trips.


Trains are an excellent option for adventurous tourists and are relatively fast and cheap. Railroads in Costa Rica operate suburban commuter trains from San Jose to San Pedro, Universidad Latina (4 km east), and Pavas (6 km west). There are also trains to Heredia and commercial trains to San Jose – Caldera.

Shuttle service

The shuttle service is an alternative to shared transportation on a minibus or coaster – a convenient and economical way to travel, especially for people travelling in small groups. It operates daily between popular destinations across the country, and in many cases, there is more than one departure time per day. Shuttles are subject to availability and must be booked in advance.

In many cases, the shuttle service includes direct service, i.e., transfer from one hotel to another. Almost all shuttle routes have a short stop along the way, where passengers can use the facilities and even get a snack.

Ferry or water taxi

A ferry service along the central Pacific coast connects a limited number of cities – Puntarenas with Playa Naranjo or Vaquero, Golfito with Puerto Jimenez and Playa Zancudo on the Peninsula de Osa. The Peninsula and the Peninsula Ferry provide a service.

A combo boat/bus service on the Caribbean coast connects areas such as Cariari, Tortuguero, Parismina, and Siquirres. You can also take a private boat service among different cities, including those on the canals along the coast.


For those who can afford faster and more comfortable transportation, local airlines offer domestic flights to many destinations in Costa Rica and neighbouring countries such as Panama and Nicaragua. Nature Air, Paradise Air, and Sansa are the two reliable and well-known national airlines currently operating in Costa Rica.
There are two international airports you can host when travelling and tourism in Costa Rica; Including, including Santamaria International Airport (SGO), located in the centre of the country, near the capital San Jose. Liberia International Airport (LIER) is located in northwest Costa Rica, near Liberia.

So, if you’re in San Jose, flights will depart from either Juan Santamaría International Airport or the domestic airport, Tobias Bolaños, located in Papas.

Car Rental

Car rental is top-rated in Costa Rica and is the most popular in Costa Rica as you can find Car rental Agencies at the airport (where you can pay an extra fee), mainly in the capital city of San Jose and other popular tourist destinations across the country.
Many of these cars are 4×4, mainly used for country roads. Driving in downtown San Jose is frequently heavy; however, road necessities are typically good, and some streets have significant potholes. Therefore, many tourists choose public transportation while exploring the metropolitan area, then rent a car heading out into the countryside.

Renting a car in Costa Rica will give you the independence to explore Costa Rica on your plan, but it’s not always an easy journey. As roads, especially but not exclusively in the mountains, can be crushing, winding, earthen and narrow.

Additionally, renting a car in Costa Rica is a little bit expensive. Also, it is dangerous to drive as a tourist, particularly during the rainy season from May to November (the wettest months are September and October) when you are on your way to messy or muddy potholes.

Guidance for renting a car while in Costa Rica

  • Foreigners must be 21 years old in Costa Rica.
  • Your regular driver’s license is all you need to rent a car.
  • Most rental vehicles have manual transmissions. Motorized vehicles are available at an additional cost.
  • Buying rental car insurance is also often mandatory. Considering how harsh the roads can be, consider purchasing a collision damage waiver.
  • GPS module can be beneficial.
  • Fuel is typically available at 24-hour gas stations along major highways. Don’t be alarmed if you’re in a rural area and the only gas available is off the barrel at a local grocery store; It’s legit.
  • You will need A valid visa, passport, and a copy.
  • The use of vehicles on the beach is strictly prohibited by law.
  • Inspect the car yourself carefully, and make sure the vehicle is in top condition.
  • Delivering the car after the agreed delivery time will be charged for an additional hour.
  • Please pay close attention to car windows and windshields because their cost and value are very high.

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