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Getting Around Costa Rica
Most visitors to Costa Rica arrive at the International Airport in San Jose, which serves as a central hub for the rest of this remarkable country. The majority of Costa Rica's destinations can be accessed by air, road, or in a few instances by boat. The following information can help you choose the transportation options that are best suited to your vacation plans, and personal preferences:
Ground Transportation
Ground transportation is the most popular way to get around in Costa Rica, and depending upon your itinerary, there are various alternatives for transfers and travel between destinations. In the booking process you will generally be selecting from the following categories:
Private Transfer:
Whether transferring from the airport to your hotel, or traveling to one of Costa Rica's spectacular destinations the private vehicle option, with an experienced driver (or English speaking guide) is the best way to avoid stressful situations, and insure that your vacation will begin as soon as you arrive in Costa Rica. Vehicles are modern and comfortable, with air conditioning and internal radio communications. When traveling long distances you can stop to take pictures, observe places of interest along the way, and there are no baggage restrictions to contend with. (see air transportation). We recommend this method of travel because it is the most convenient, and relaxing way to enhance your vacation experience, and when you are happy, we have succeeded in providing the best possible service. See Details
Shared Transfer:
Shared services feature air-conditioned buses, internal radio communication, and reclining seats. Multiple stops are made along the way to pick up and drop off other passengers, and we cannot control the order in which the stops are made. Shared transfers can be more economical than private transport, but may involve inconvenient scheduling, and substantial increases in travel time, that can add up over the course of your vacation. Please consider this when choosing your modes of transportation. See Details
Car Rental:
If you are an independent traveler, and don't mind navigating Costa Rica's inconsistent road conditions, then a car rental may be a good choice for you, but keep in mind that many of Costa Rica's roads are unmaintained, and always use extreme caution when driving at night. We strongly recommend 4 wheel drive vehicles with optional GPS, and our preferred rental companies in Costa Rica (Adobe, and National Rent a Car) equip each car with a complimentary cell phone, to insure that you will be in communication, should any difficulties arise. Rental cars are available for pick up and drop off in locations throughout Costa Rica. See Details
Air Travel
Many of Costa Rica's popular destinations have local airports or airstrips, and are serviced primarily by two domestic carriers, Sansa, and NatureAir. Travel by air can significantly reduce travel time, and we recommend it to reach certain destinations* but keep in mind that it is more expensive, requires multiples transfers to and from hotels, and because these are generally small planes (some with only 6 seats) passengers are subject to strict luggage restrictions. So although air travel can be convenient, it may not always be the right choice for you and your party. See Details
Costa Rica Airports:
City Airport Code Type
Arenal / La Fortuna
La Fortuna Airport
FON Domestic
San Jose Juan Santa Maria International Airport
San Jose/ Pavas Tobias Bolaños Airport SJQ Domestic
Tamarindo Tamarindo Airport TNO
Quepos Quepos Mangua Airport QXP
Nosara Nosara Airport NOB
Liberia Daniel Oduber Internationa Airport LIB
Osa Peninsula Puerto Jimenez Airport PJM
Osa Peninsula Palma Sur Airport PMZ Domestic
Punta Islita Resort Punta Islita Airport
Tambor Tambor Airport TMU
Tortuguero Tortuguero Airport
* We recommend flying between San Jose and the following destinations:
Nosara/ Samara, Tambor Beach, Osa Peninsula, and in at least one direction when visiting Tortuguero National Park.
Other Transportation
Although most travel in Costa Rica is by air and road, there are a few exceptions:
Tortuguero National Park cannot be reached by road, and although it is accessible by air, many of our travelers take the shuttle and boat ride (which is included in the price of your hotel in Tortuguero) in one direction, and fly in the other. Depending upon your itinerary, we generally recommend returning to San Jose by plane. See Details
We also recommend the boat transfer option when traveling between Arenal Volcano and Monteverde Cloud Forest. Not only is it an opportunity to cross the enchanting Lake Arenal, but your travel time can be reduced by as much as two hours. See Details

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* Sample prices displayed include international and domestic airline tickets as per itinerary and ALL airline-related taxes and fuel surcharges and are per person, based on double occupancy, and are dynamic in nature. Prices do not include insurance or delivery charges which are optional and customizable by the traveler. The airfare portion of the itinerary price is based on economy class, midweek departure. Prices do not include fees for carry on or checked baggage which can add additional fees per ticket on a roundtrip flight based on carrier charges. It also does not include any entrance fees or visa fees that may be charged at international airports. Some cities may charge local taxes that can only be collected by hotel at destination.
Prices were accurate at the time we posted them. Sample prices were for a specific travel date and specific departure airport, as indicated. Your prices will vary according to departure cities and travel dates. We do not control prices (airlines and hotel reservation systems do). Prices may change dynamically and at times significantly numerous times during any given day.
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