How to Save Time on Transportation in Costa Rica

So you've decided to visit one of the most beautiful countries in the world. You have booked your flight and reserved a hotel room. But what about transportation in Costa Rica?


Known for its lush tropical rainforests and vibrant culture, Costa Rica draws thousands of tourists from all over the world each year. 


It is one of the less expensive options in North America, but it isn't as inexpensive as it once was.


As the costs of lodging and activities rise, it is more important than ever to save money anywhere else you can. 


Exploring your travel options in advance is one of the best ways you can cut down on your expenses. 


Some of the most popular modes of transportation in Costa Rica are planes, public transportation, car rental and inclusive tours.


Keep reading to find out more about the best ways to get around on your Costa Rican vacation.


Transportation in Costa Rica


Local / Dosmestic Flights


Depending on your destination, domestic flights can often be the most expensive means of transportation in Costa Rica.


On the other hand, they also save you the most time. 


If you plan on flying, pack light.


The maximum luggage weight limit per passenger often can't exceed 40 pounds. If you purchase one of the less expensive tickets, you may be able to bring as little as 15 pounds with you. 


Departure times are set in advance based on the popularity of each route. Most cities will only have one flight a day and often you will need to backtrack to San Juan to head to your next destination.


Public Transportation in Costa Rica


Due to safety issues that run the gamut, very few tourists choose to use public transportation in Costa Rica.


For the brave of heart, there is a lot of money to be saved by using this mode of travel. If you were to take the longest journey possible along one of these routes, you would never spend more than $12.50. 


Beyond the heart of a lion, you will also need an exorbitant amount of time to wind through the pothole filled country roads.  


Hundreds of buses run an incredible variety of routes daily for commuting Costa Ricans. The popularity of these routes can sometimes make finding a seat a challenge if they are unassigned. Be prepared to sit in the aisle if necessary.


Car Rentals


Renting a vehicle is an often recommended mode of transportation in Costa Rica.


Travelers from a few countries, the United States included, can drive with a valid driver's license. 


This form of travel is best for those adventurers who want to see the country at their own pace.  


If you rent a car you will never have to worry about missing a departure time or finding a seat. You can wind through the roads and get lost a little bit. Perhaps you will stumble on a hidden gem and stay a night.


With an automobile, you have the freedom to make your trip a one of a kind experience. 


However, there are a few downsides to car rental.


It is considered one of the more expensive ways to travel. If you are traveling with a group, perhaps you could pool your resources to split the cost. 


Then, of course, there is always the possibility that you will be a victim of misfortune and get in an accident. Someone could come out of nowhere on a moped and crash broadside into your car leaving a hefty dent in the side of your rental vehicle. Noone wants to think about horrible possibilities like that when they are planning their dream vacation, but practicality is important. 


If you are in an accident do not move your vehicle and wait for the traffic police to file a report. You'll need this to provide to the rental car agency when you turn the vehicle in.


Stay calm and try to have a good time despite your misfortune.


If you are going to be driving on the roads in Costa Rica there are a few other things to know.


First, the speed limit on most highways is either 75kph or 90kph. You can find the speed limits posted on signs as well as painted on the road.


And second, some areas of Costa Rica are best explored with a four wheel drive vehicle.


Book Tours With Transfers Included & Daily Shuttles


If you intend to visit multiple cities in Costa Rica, a city-to-city tour can be a great option. You can sometimes get discounted group rates.


The cost of travel is fairly low because you are splitting it with everyone on the tour. You can sometimes get discounted group rates if you book in advance.


Be careful when you are selecting a tour other than the ones we offer at Gray Line. Some have poor accommodations and guides who are under qualified. It is best to choose a tour from a travel agency with a good reputation. These tours are priced per person and are available in an incredible number of cities throughout the country.


Another safe and affordable transportation option is to opt for a shared tourist bus shuttle service. This is a great way to go from one point to another in Costa Rica.


A Note on Planning


If things don't work out exactly how you planned don't worry. Often first-time visitors underestimate the difficulty of transportation in Costa Rica. 


Sometimes skipping a destination or two can be the best choice. This could lead to a more relaxing overall trip if you let it. 


Try finding lesser known towns and exploring off the beaten path. This is the best way to truly experience Costa Rica. After all, the slogan is, "Pura Vida," simply translated to mean, "the pure life."


A Final Note on Transportation in Costa Rica


There is an incredible variety of ways to get around in Costa Rica. 


The best choice for you, may not be the best choice for someone else. You should consider the number of people in your group and how much time you have.


Then you can decide whether you are willing to brave public transportation, spend a little extra time at the airport, stay safe and book a daily shuttle bus or get lost down a dirt road.


If you would like to learn more about options for transportation in Costa Rica, feel free to contact us here or call us at 1-800-719-3905.

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