The vast majority of visitors enter Costa Rica through Juan SantaMaria International Airport in San Jose. Many are bound for the idyllic beaches of the Pacific however, several hours journey away. Some people find it challenging to get from the Capital to any of the resort towns, at the end it is not too hard, here are some considerations to keep in mind.
There are two kinds of taxis in Cost Rica:
- The orange ones are the taxis in the airports, most drivers speak some english, they are very familiar with tourist spots, and the fleet is normally very well maintained. All this come with a higher price tag, these taxis normally charge 20 or 30 % more and expect a tip.
- The red taxis are the official public taxis, drivers are generally very friendly, they know how to go around, the cars are mostly in good condition and they do not expect a tip. Using a cab to go from the airport all the way to Guanacaste or any of the other towns in the Pacific can be really expensive, but a safe and fast way to go, just keep in mind that one has to negotiate the price before starting the trip.
Renting a car:
This is probably what makes the most sense, car rental itself is not that expensive, insurance can add up to double the price of the rental, gas is more expensive in Costa Rica than in the United States but not as bad as in Europe. Streets are narrow, and in some areas it is mountainous, but it is a nice experience and it gives more flexibility. Note: Addresses may be challenging, and the street signs are not that abundant, but people are extremely friendly and always ready to help. There are some toll roads so remember to carry cash.
This is another great option, and really not that complicated.
- Once one arrives to the Airport in San Jose, it is possible to catch a taxi and ask them to take you to the bus terminal in San Jose downtown where the buses leave to Guanacaste, the taxi will charge you around 30 USD, more adventurous people can take a public bus from the airport to San Jose Downtown for around 2 USD and from there a cab to the terminal for around 10 USD.
- There are several bus companies that travel to different areas and beaches in Guanacaste. Schedules are good and buses depart on time, prices can be different according to the place one will visit, but it is really affordable compared to other options, it is around 25 to 30 USD.
- Some of the main bus companies are Tralapa it travels to Liberia, Playa Hermosa, Conchal and Flamingo. Their phone numbers are (506) 2221-7202 or 2680-0392 or 2654-4203.
- Pullmitan travels to Playa del Coco (506) 256-9552, 222-1650 Empresa Alfaro travels to Tamarindo and another areas (506) 222-2666.
Another good option is to catch a bus to Liberia (the Capital of Guanacaste) and from the terminal there to take one of many buses leaving to the different resorts and beaches. The trip lasts around five or six hours total, but it is a really nice experience and a unique opportunity to interact with locals.