Although Costa Rica is a fairly small country, it still takes a good amount of time to get around, especially on the narrow roads.

Depending on where you’re going, you’ll probably arrive via air at one of the two international airports here and either rent a car, take the bus or hire a shuttle to get around.

Here’s a quick run-down of the various means of transportation in Costa Rica so you know where you’re going and how to get there.

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By air

Costa Rica has two international airports, one in Alajuela and one in Liberia as well as several domestic airports scattered throughout the country.

The international airport in Alajuela, the Juan Santamaria International Airport, is more commonly known as SJO. If you’re planning to visit Puntarenas, Arenal, Monteverde, the Caribbean side or the Central Valley, you’ll fly into this airport. As the main international airport of the country, dozens of flights go in and out of SJO daily.

The Daniel Oduber Quiros International Airport is located near the city of Liberia in the province of Guanacaste. If you plan on visiting this area, taking a flight to this airport is the best option. This airport has been continuously renovating and expanding to bring more flights into Guanacaste as the tourism industry in this province explodes.

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There are now many non-stop flights from over 16 cities around the world with the majority of them coming from Canada and the United States. The commercial airlines that fly direct to Liberia are plentiful. There are also a number of charter flights that arrive from Canada and the US bringing vacationers who are looking to get away from the North American winters.

Costa Rica also has a variety of domestic airports throughout the country so you can also take a local flight to your destination. The two local airlines, Nature Air and Sansa Air have flights from many of the major destinations such as Liberia, San Jose, Corcovado, Drake Bay and Limon.

By car

There are many rental car companies in Costa Rica from local to international ones. Renting a car is fairly simple, however when requesting a quote, always make sure to include the mandatory insurance required by law in the country.

Visitors can rent a car at the airport when they land, ask their hotel to book one for them or pre-book a car online.

By bus.

Public transportation is fairly efficient and very affordable. Costa Rica has a public bus system to almost every major tourist destination within San Jose. It is easy to get around the Central Valley taking the various bus routes that are available.

If you plan on going to more rural or lesser-visited destinations however, it can a little more difficult to take a bus as there are not always routes to where you want to go. Many destinations require a change of at least two buses and many routes don’t run more than 1-3 times a day depending on where it is they go.

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You may find bus schedules online but remember you’re in Costa Rica where it is normal for things to be late or not on schedule.

Some bus companies here are Pulmitan and Deldu. There are also private bus companies that can take you all throughout Central America like Ticabus.

By shuttle

Hiring a shuttle is a more efficient and relaxing way to get around rather than the bus. There are several shuttle companies in the country and many tour companies offer this service as well. Some hotels may offer a complimentary shuttle if you’re close to the international airports.

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A few of the shuttle company options are Easy Ride, Grayline and Interbus .

By taxi

Taxis are found all throughout Costa Rica and are noted by their bright red cars. There are taxis dedicated for every province and there are separate taxis for the airport. Taxis are a quick, easy and affordable way to get around.

As with any Central American country, the means of transportation are endless. You can also travel by boat, train, horseback, oxcart, bicycle, motorcycle, tut-tuts, golf carts and quads. At any given intersection, you’ll be sure to see a variety of ways that people use to get around.

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Keep your eyes and ears open as the roads are narrow and they are used by everyone….and that includes dogs, kids, cows and goats. The next traffic jam you encounter in Costa Rica may not involve vehicles. It could be a herd of cows crossing the highway.

In Costa Rica, there’s always an adventure waiting just around the corner for you. Come on down and check it out for yourself!

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