If you will be traveling or moving to Costa Rica, you may wonder what types of options you’ll have for getting around the country.
The ease and access to these options will depend where you will be living. If you are high up in a mountain top surrounded by jungle and farmland, do not expect a bus to be coming by frequently or at all! However, if you are by the coast or in larger mountain towns, you will find that it can be quite easy to get around if you choose not to rent or purchase a car.
Here we will go through the transportation options that you can choose from while in Costa Rica.
There is a variety of different bus lines that can take you around the country. Buses are a very cheap option to travel around Costa Rica but they can also make the trips lengthy and slow. If you’ll plan to travel by bus in Costa Rica, you’ll want to do your research and not just “wing it!” Since buses are all privately owned, there is no central bus station where you can find all of the buses that reach different parts of the country. You will need to find out what bus companies go to different areas. For example, Tracopa runs from San Jose all the way down to Panama on the Pacific Coastline. Some other bus companies in Costa Rica are Pulmitan, Tuasa, Grupo Blanco, and Musoc.
Some pro tips we have for you are to always show up early before a bus arrival at a stop just in case it is running ahead of schedule. Also, do not worry if minutes go by the estimated arrival time and it has not yet arrived. It is likely on its way! For longer trips around the country, make sure to take a “Direct” (or Directo) bus rather than a “Collectivo.” A Collectivo bus will stop and pick everyone up along the way, whereas a direct bus will get you to your destination with much less stops.
The cleanliness and quality of the busses will depend on the company. It is always a good idea to read reviews online and do your research when choosing this route. Always keep an eye on your belongings!
Taxis can be more expensive, so you may not want to rely on using a taxi as your main form of transportation for getting all around Costa Rica for your entire vacation or while moving to Costa Rica. However, they are good options every once in a while should the bus not be available where you are or if the time is inconvenient. Most towns have an official taxi service and if you are unsure, you can always check with an information center to recommend or call one for you.
PRIVATE & SHARED SHUTTLES
There are private and shared airport shuttles that can also take you places regionally. Look up Costa Rica Shuttle Services in your desired area and their websites should outline what their rates are for private or “shared rides” from one area to the next. This can be helpful if you will be going a few hours away or to the airport. We recommend always looking at reviews on shuttle services as well as asking for recommendations from others.
If you’ll be moving to Costa Rica or here for an extended stay, carpooling with someone you know in the community is another great way to share cost of gas and get somewhere quickly.
REGIONAL CHARTER FLIGHTS
There are regional charter flights which travel longer distances within Costa Rica. Sansa and Nature Air are two examples of flight companies here. The flights can actually be quite affordable but keep in mind they are baggage weight limits.
Renting a car or purchasing one if you will be here long term is an excellent way to get around as you do not have to rely on a bus schedule or someone else’s. We recommend getting a 4×4 if you are adventurous and think you may go off the beaten path!
If you’ll be coming to Costa Rica for a visit or for a move, you’ll want to evaluate which mode of transportation is best for you. Should you decide to stay in a more rural setting, you may want to have a car. If you choose to come and travel without one, you will want to be within walking distance to the things that you’ll need.
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