There are various options for getting around Costa Rica.

 (The companies and  drivers listed in this article have been mentioned in the Forums or added by customers or by the providers  themselves.   This article does not endorse any - just gives contact information.)

SHARED VAN SHUTTLES (Collective Shuttle Services)

You can choose scheduled shuttles like the ones listed below.  They run between popular destinations, pick up/ drop off at a hotel, are reliable and not too expensive. Ask for child discounts, baby seats and child booster are now mandatory by law so request in advance and check shuttle routes, schedules & prices.

www.transunshine.com 

http://www.costaricaplus.com/shared-s...

http://costaricatravelingexperts.com/

http://www.interbusonline.com

http://www.anywherecostarica.com/  

http://www.biotranscostarica.com/ 

http://www.pacifictourscostarica.com 

http://www.suenostransportation.com/

http://www.goeasycostarica.com/

http://ecotranscostarica.com/

www.transportationincostarica.com

http:// www.ticketbuscr.com

http://liberiaairporttaxis.com

 

PRIVATE DRIVERS

Several private drivers have been recommended in the Forums.  This is usually the most expensive option unless you have a larger group.  But a good driver can also act as a guide and point out interesting sights and give you background and good information about the country along the way. You can gain a lot of insight from a driver or guide who was born and raised in Costa Rica

 

 

Juan Carlos (English speaking, wonderful guide, new Mercedes vans, will help you book attractions). Email tjtransfers@gmail.com 

 Insight Costa Rica (English speaking naturalist guides and drivers): http://insightcostarica.com/ or email info@puravidahotel.com

Odyssey Tours (Diego and Alvaro): odysseytours@gmail.com / www.odysseytourscr.com 

Minor Quesadaz (Bilingual-English): Minorquesadaz_10@hotmail.com /  http://www.easytransfercr.com/

Biotrans Costa Rica Transportation & Ecotravel (David): http://www.biotranscostarica.com

Biotours Costa Rica Ecotours & Private Transportation (Carlos & David): http://costaricatourtransportation.com/

Tucan Limousines (Luis): rocio@tucanlimoservices.com

Christian: drivercostarica@gmail.com / www.costaricadriver.net

Erick Hidalgo (Bilingual Driver): toll-free 1-888-324 9326 / erick@costaricatripguide.com / www.costaricatripguide.com

Costa Rica Earth:  info@costaricaearth.com / www.costaricaearth.com

Willy: w_opciones@yahoo.com

Wilson: wilson_elsy@yahoo.com / www.coatitours.com

Carlos Bogarin: encantados@ice.co.cr

Tomas Gutierrez: info@travelinparadisecr.com / http://www.travelinparadisecr.com

Danny Jimenez: crdannytravels@yahoo.com

Leo Rodriguez: leratravelcr@yahoo.com

Transunshine www.transhunshine.com

 Wilson Cortes: transturisticossuwit@yahoo.com     

Henry Campos: wistico@yahoo.com / wistico@juno.com / www.aaatourcostarica.com

Flaco's Tours (Flaco Carvajal R.): flacos_tours@yahoo.com  

Liberia Airport Taxi: http://www.liberiaairporttaxis.com 

Costa Rica Fox Adventure (Oscar M Gutierrez): foxadventurecr@yahoo.com

Ecotrans Costa Rida: http://www.ecotranscostarica.com/ 

Santos Fuentes: http://www.costaricagroundtransfers.com

Morpho Vans:http://www.morphovans.com/

Wilfredo Villalobos:  (Bilingual Driver) info@tropicaltourshuttles.com (506) 2640 0811

Rafa Cespedes, Boat trasnportation from sierpe to drake bay, osa peninsula, español (506 88481767) english (506 85296750)

 

 

PUBLIC BUS

Using the public buses. The cheapest option are the public buses. They run frequently, are reasonably comfortable and punctual. San Jose to Manuel Antonio, eg. only costs around $8 one way. Use the "directo"  buses where possible. No need to speak Spanish, but a little bit might help.   Watch your belongings - don't put anything in the overhead bin.  

 Below are links for 2 different bus schedules. (Always subject to change) 

http://www.visitcostarica.com/ict/pag...  (Good for direct routes)

http://www.thebusschedule.com/cr/inde...  (useful for trying to work out connections)

 

DOMESTIC AIRLINES -Flying on small commuter planes...

 - Natureair. Costa Rican airline  with international flights to Panama and Nicaragua. They have over 15 destinations to the most remote places within these 3 countries.

- Sansa or Natureair .  The airlines have a baggage allowance of approximately 20 pounds per person.  (check with the airline for exact allowable weights - which can vary depending on the fare type.)  Also, with some advance planning chartering airplanes through Paradise Air can provide great flexibility and convenience (if you are comfortable flying in small aircraft). Sansa airlines provides very competitive rates on charter flights (checked on July 15, 2014)

http://www.flysansa.com 

Nature Air contact number: 1-800-235-9272 / (506) 2299 6000 for flights & vacation packages 

http://www.natureair.com

RENTING A CAR

There are many car rental agencies throughout the country. Here is a list of the car rentals companies recognized by the Costa Rican Tourism Board -ICT http://www.visitcostarica.com/ict/pag... and another link where you can find the car rental companies that are members of the Costa Rican Chamber of Tourism -CANATUR http://www.canatur.org/ingAfiliados_a... .  It has been recommended that a GPS is very helpful. Be sure to read the Top Questions on the Costa Rica Forum about renting a car in Costa Rica.  Be aware that there is a mandatory liability insurance that you must buy - no matter what kind of other coverage you have

Two online maps that are useful for planning your routing and estimating time and distances are shown below.  Be aware that if you use Google Maps, the driving times they give are low compared to the actual times you will experience.

http://www.yourtravelmap.com/costaric...

http://www.mapcr.com/

Having a GPS unit in Costa Rica is a godsend.   The unit warns of upcoming one-lane bridges, slowing for school zones, where to find gas and food,etc. (although it didn't know about potholes, unfortunately) and it helps you find roads and sights all over the country.  This really reduces the stress of a Costa Rica trip!  Go for it.  It's worth it.  Car rental agencies charge $10 per day, but even that is worth it. A very few car rental companies offer the GPS free of charge one of them is http://costaricancarrentals.com 

Rental cars are readily available  in all tourist zones or towns as also at or nearby both International airports (San Jose and Liberia). Reservations are suggested, mainly in high season months. They will pick you up directly at the airport or at your hotel. Drop-off at another location is available through most car rental agencies; usually with an aditional charge to do so.

TAXI

For those that don't want the responsibility of driving in a strange country, taxis are also abundant. Beware though, that the only legal taxis are RED with a yellow triangle on the side. All others are illegal and are probably not insured to take passengers.   If the transit police stop the "pirate" taxi, you and your luggage may be left on the side of the road. Legal taxis  must have a "Maria" or meter although set rates are sometimes better  than the maria.  In rural areas, you won't often find "official" legal taxis and here it is OK just to use a local taxi to get around.    There is an app for your phone available so you can check the correct charge of your trip http://www.taxiandocr.com .

 

OTHER TIPS

Some modes work better than others from certain locations. So what works well will depends on things like which places you plan to visit, if you are flexible about the times you want to leave, what your budget and preferred travel style is and how many in your travel party..

For example from Arenal  or Monteverde to Manuel Antonio using a shared shuttle  is a good idea. Taking the public bus would be a long drawn out process  for which you would need time and patience as there are no direct buses.  Air service between Arenal and MA  is also available.

From Manuel Antonio  to San Jose - the public bus is convenient and is the most economical. The cost is about $8.00 per person and the trip takes about 3.5 hours.

Sansa and Nature Air also can be a good options for many locations from San Jose - ie the OSA, or Nicoya (Tambor) etc.

For some routings specialized transporation exists.  For example from Arenal to Monteverde, the jeep/boat/jeep o taxi/boat/taxi is the quickest. For the Montezuma/Mal Pais area to the Jaco area, there is a watertaxi service which shortens the trip.