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How to Get Around Costa Rica: Best Transportation for Travelers

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Couple biking on the beach at sunset in Costa Rica

Couple biking on the beach at sunset in Costa Rica

Costa Rica is small, but the diverse topography makes getting around easy, and the following information will help you find the right transportation for your trip.

With an accepting ambiance, accessible towns, cities, monuments, national parks, and beaches show how the different methods of travel give you plenty of opportunities to find an ideal mode for exploring your chosen destinations.

Our guide on the best Costa Rica transportation can help you get around seamlessly, letting you take advantage of the country’s immense natural beauty and vibrant city life.

  1. We Can Help You Get Around Costa Rica
  2. Travel by Plane
  3. Travel by Train
  4. Travel by Private Transfer
  5. Travel by Rental Car
  6. Travel by Bus
  7. Travel Using Urban Travel Options
  8. Travel Using Ridesharing Apps
  9. Enjoy the Best Ways to Travel in Costa Rica

We Can Help You Get Around Costa Rica

A Zicasso Costa Rica travel expert makes exploring the country a comfortable and immersive experience, while making it easy to navigate. With on-the-ground insight on the best transportation options for different experiences, your specialist can tailor your travel plans to suit your custom itinerary.

Focusing on crafting a luxury experience for you and travelers joining you, our specialists provide their expert recommendations, while giving leeway for you to decide how you would like to travel. From private transfers for the duration of your trip to planes making city-to-city travel possible, curate your transportation plans with advice from a Zicasso specialist.

Travel by Plane

Flying around Costa Rica is easy, efficient, and circumnavigates the winding roads shaped by the diverse terrain.

Small airports are scattered across the country for quick connections from international hubs like San Jose or Liberia, with two domestic airlines linking approximately 12 destinations.

Traveling by plane gives you faster access to distant and even remote locations so you can spend more time enjoying your trip and less time traveling between destinations.

Best for: Quickly traveling between cities on shorter 10-day Costa Rica tours or reaching remote destinations on Costa Rica eco tours.

Travel by Train

Train in Puerto Limon, Costa Rica

Train in Puerto Limon, Costa Rica

Costa Rica has trains, but it is not as easy to travel around the country on the rail network as it is in other countries you may be familiar with.

The trains were built in the late 19th century to increase access to natural resources, eventually linking to the Nicaraguan and Panamanian railways.

While trains are available in a city like San Jose that will connect to places like Heredia and Pavas, the passenger routes are minimal across the country.

Best for: Adventurous travelers following the expert advice of Costa Rica trip planners who are not put off by the challenges of traveling the country by train.

Travel by Private Transfer

Costa Rica’s landscape is gorgeous, bordering roads, highways, and trails, making a private driver one of the best ways for you to both travel and enjoy the natural beauty simultaneously.

With a private driver, you can sit back, relax, and learn more about the culture of the country, with some drivers doubling as guides who also know how to avoid the typical potholes, diverging routes, and possible traffic.

A private driver is worth the comfort and peace of mind, giving you door-to-door service between airports, hotels, and sites across the country on your schedule and pace.

Best for: All types of travelers looking for the easiest, most efficient, and most comfortable means of transportation during brief one-week Costa Rica tours or longer two-week Costa Rica trips.

Travel by Rental Car

Car driving on a neighborhood road near Bejuco Beach in Guanacaste, Costa Rica

Guanacaste, Costa Rica

Driving in Costa Rica is challenging, as travelers on road trips are often faced with unmarked and damaged roads, though the enchanting countryside can be rewarding when viewed at one’s leisure.

Traveling by car rental in Costa Rica gives you the luxury of freedom, so you can move according to your schedule. A car also gives you the ability to reach remote corners of Costa Rica to which bus routes and airports don’t connect.

Driving around winding roads and through the city traffic can feel daunting, but renting a car in Costa Rica is safe and can be part of the adventure should you follow the advice of our travel specialists.

Best for: Adventurous travelers wishing to explore some of the best places to visit in Costa Rica during a scenic road trip and following the planning advice of a Zicasso travel specialist.

Travel by Bus

Buses are the most common form of transportation in Costa Rica. The services are comfortable, easy to navigate, and make long-distance travel simple from coast to coast. We recommend choosing a private transfer or flights instead, but buses are an option for locals and tourists.

The network of buses is well-developed and reliable, with long routes starting and ending in San Jose. It also makes it easy for travelers who don’t want to manage the tricky mountain roads or city traffic on their own.

At the same time, you must travel on the bus’s schedule and can only reach as far as its line will take you, removing freedom of movement.

Best for: Travelers who wish to experience the scenic beauty of Costa Rica’s seven dazzling regions without navigating the challenging roads themselves.

Travel Using Urban Travel Options

Skyline of San Jose, Costa Rica

San Jose, Costa Rica

Navigating taxi services in Costa Rica is easy and taking taxis around the country is quick, reliable, and gives you the freedom to travel around a destination at your pace.

It can be a great way to travel inside larger cities like San Jose. A red taxi with a yellow sign means the taxi is government-sanctioned and can only pick you up in the province in which it is registered.

You may find orange taxis outside airport terminals, which are exclusively for airport use.

Best for: Travelers on a self-guided schedule looking for a quick and easy way to navigate Costa Rica’s busy cities.

Travel Using Ridesharing Apps

Ridesharing apps are available in certain Costa Rican cities, with different options providing services from private transfers to aggregates for transportation in real-time.

Ridesharing apps are spotty at best in Costa Rica, with the majority of drivers concentrated within San Jose or the San Jose area. The number of drivers in remote sections of Costa Rica is growing, but other transportation options are much easier, faster, and more cost-effective.

We typically do not recommend using ridesharing apps unless in a pinch and with access to a stable internet connection for short trips around the major cities.

Best for: Travelers with a stable internet connection and access to ridesharing apps who are searching for an alternative means of transportation for getting around the city.

Enjoy the Best Ways to Travel in Costa Rica

Airplane view of Costa Rica

Airplane view of Costa Rica

Costa Rica has plenty of transportation options that can easily fit any travel style. From spotting wildlife in Corcovado National Park to lounging on a pristine beach, trundling through whitewater to searching for elusive quetzals, a travel specialist can ensure you book the right transportation for the places you go and the experiences you have on custom Costa Rica tours.

To learn more and find helpful advice and tips for your trip, browse the information in our Costa Rica travel guide before you start planning with a Zicasso travel specialist.

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