We have outlined the various options for transportation below to give you an idea of what would work for you.
An expert bilingual naturalist guide/driver
We can connect you with professional bilingual naturalist guides who can help you see things that you would not see otherwise.
Our guides have years experience and a great love for sharing their culture and the beauty of their country with you and everyone in your family. A comfortable, air-conditioned vehicle (not like the one pictured above!) that is the right size for your group, is part of the deal, and the guide does the driving!
"We were exceptionally well taken care of throughout our trip. It cost us a little more than we would have paid if we planned our trip from guidebooks ourselves, but the result was a much more enriching trip than we every could have come up with on our own. We visited remote jungle homesteads and farms, aboriginal villages, took hikes though dense untouched rain forests, and got to know a lot about the country and culture. Our naturalist guide was excellent: He taught us about the birds, insects, plants, reptiles, and culture of this amazing country."
Costa Rica has a well-developed system of shuttle buses that will pick you up at your hotel in one area and drop you off at your hotel at your next destination.
Shuttles usually cost from $25 to $50 per person per trip, depending on where you are going. They will take care of all your luggage and get you safely from place to place. They are not available to all destinations. This is a good option for individuals, couples or small families. If your group is four or more, it is often just as economical to get a private driver, because you are charged by the carload, rather than per person (see below).
4 WD rental cars
Although 4-wheel-drive is usually not necessary during the dry season, it is good to rent 4WD vehicles because of their height off the ground. That way, you won't have the stress of hearing the chassis scrape against the occasional rock in the road.
Costa Rica's plentiful buses are privately owned, quite modern, and usually well-run. You can get to anywhere in the country for under $10. They set out from terminals in different parts of San José.
Usually you can depend on taxi drivers to take you to the right terminal for your final destination. This option is best for those who speak Spanish and who are not carrying large suitcases.
Say your plane gets in at 2:30 in the afternoon. That is too late to hook up with most buses or shuttles. But we can send you a private driver to meet you at the airport and take you to the volcano or the cloud forest, so that you can wake up the next morning at your destination, rather than staying over near the airport or in San José.
Private transfers can get you anywhere you need to go, door-to-door, and stopping for bathroom breaks, photo opportunities or lunch. If you arrive after dark (around 5:30 p.m. year round), it is better to stay at a hotel in the Central Valley for your first night.
A combination of the above
Start your trip with a bilingual naturalist guide who can orient you and help you get off the beaten track. The guide can drop you off at your final destination, maybe a beach where you can relax for a few days. Then you can take a private transfer or shuttle back to San José or Liberia to catch your plane home.
More questions? Set up at travel consultation!