How to Get Around in Costa Rica?

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Prior to my Costa Rica trip, I wrote a post about where to stay during my trip. I retrieved some feedback from you all and ultimately made a decision (I will begin posting the trip report this weekend). Within that post, I talked about how to travel between the properties. This post will cover options for traveling around the beautiful country.

Hotel Shuttles

The hotel (for those in San Jose) shuttle stand is just outside of the airport. As you make a right at the hagglers, take a left to cross the street, and the shuttle stand is down on the right. The shuttles run every 30 minutes. I found that it was easier to pay a haggler $10 USD than to wait for a shuttle that would be near capacity. If you are going to Jaco, Los Suenos Marriott in Herradura, or some other destination, be prepared to pay at least $200 USD (a couple on their honeymoon verified this for me). You also have the potential to be in a vehicle with quite a few people. That might ruin your chance to stop at the Crocodile Bridge.

Out and About in Costa Rica
Crocodile Bridge

Out and About in Costa Rica

Hagglers at the Airport

The hagglers are located directly in front of you as you exit the airport, you cannot miss them. They will ask what city you are traveling to and begin to bargain. I have found that you should turn the first one down and begin negotiating with another one. This will bring your price down. Remember, these guys DO NOT work for a company, so be careful. I would not get in their car unless I had another person with me.

Rental Cars

Car rental is available at the airport starting at $10/day from Enterprise and Budget. I personally would not rent a car in Costa Rica, for a few reasons: 1) the drivers are a mix between Doha and New York, 2) there are no shoulders next to the road, but there are big drop offs, 3) people pass in curves and on hills, and 4) parking is limited in many places. I would rather have a driver who knows the roads.


Uber was my go to ride in Costa Rica. Cars were always available and the drivers were mostly nice. A ride from San Jose Airport to Jaco will cost about $80 USD, with the American Express Platinum credit, $65 USD sounds a hell of a lot better. Uber was useful during the random downpours (Costa Rica’s rainy season goes from May to December). There is no minimum with Uber so you can go as little of a distance as you need. The one issue that I had with Uber was that one driver started the trip near me, never picked me up, and then proceeded to start the trip. I immediately contacted Uber and was provided a prompt refund.


Final Word

I did not have any issue, aside from the shady Uber driver. The hagglers require some negotiating, but I felt it was worth it and the prices could be lower than Uber. The safest bet is the airport shuttles, but at more than double the price. I would not use the shuttle unless it was complimentary. Choose the option that is best you, this post was to give my perspective. If you do not like any of the above options, try driving one of the options below through the mountains southeast of Jaco.


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