How to travel around Costa Rica
Rent a vehicle
Go at your own speed and create your own adventure by driving yourself. Discover jungle-green and sky-blue vistas around every curve, stop for a photo or to smell the wild flowers. Your valid drivers license is all you need. For your convenience, and no cost to you, our knowledgeable bilingual constantly stay abreast of the rates of several of the most reputable car rental agencies. We will make all your arrangements to rent a reliable car or 4X4 and have it picked up and dropped off for free at Adventure Inn. What we quote you is all you ever need to pay, guaranteed!
Be careful renting vehicles online with the big multinationals as many try to hide the high costs of insurance and taxes (saying in fine print they may or may not be included. Believe me, they are not included!). When you can't talk to a real person, and receive a final guaranteed total price, beware, your credit card is like a blank check! Unfortunately some of our guests have fallen victim to these unscrupulous multinationals and have been forced to pay nearly double what they expected, after it was too late to cancel, which is why we stepped in.
Pros: Cost-effective if you will be driving a lot, complete freedom
Cons: Risk of getting lost, requires a credit card deposit
2WD vs 4WD vehicles
For most places in Costa Rica, a 2WD vehicle is good enough. Most of the main Costa Rican roads are paved, however when you start to move more off the beaten path, or to more remote areas, roads are paved less and less. In some places, it may even involve driving through rivers if the government has not put up a bridge. Fording rivers in the rainy season becomes substantially more difficult with a 2WD vehicle due to the increased flow of water. Other remote places, such as Monteverde and the Osa Peninsula, require a 4WD vehicle year-round. If you are going to a remote area, the best bet is to talk with the hotel you will be staying at and ask them. If you do not have a concrete plan of where you will be staying and you are the adventurous type, it wouldn't be a bad idea to err on the side of caution and rent a 4WD vehicle.
To help you further decide what vehicle type to rent, see our blog.
Private shuttles are one of the most reliable and worry-free ways to travel around Costa Rica. Never worry about getting lost again. We deal with several of the most reliable and cheapest shuttle companies in Costa Rica. We can arrange for you to get picked up right at our front door any day of the year in a private, air-conditioned shuttle and they will drop you off right at the front door of your hotel in virtually any area of Costa Rica.
Pros: No risk of getting lost, relatively cheap, you can relax and enjoy the trip
Cons: Set schedule, not much freedom
Private shuttles vary between $39 and $59 per adult and children are half price. Prices are slightly more for the Osa Peninsula. Just contact us and let us know where you are going and we will make all the arrangements for you.
Costa Rica has two major domestic airlines, Sansa that flies out of the International (SJO) Airport, and NatureAir that flies out of the Tobias Bolaños or Pavas Airport. On a clear day the views are spectacular, and a several hour road trip can be accomplished in a matter of minutes. However, you are going to miss so much, and more importantly, studies show you are 120 times more likely to crash per mile flown with a little domestic carrier than with a major US carrier. If you are not on a very tight schedule, we recommend you experience the authentic Costa Rica by land or sea.
Pros: By far the fastest way to travel
Cons: Most expensive, set schedule, limited destinations, more dangerous than commercial airlines, you still need to get from the airport to your destination, further adding to the price
Have a group? Get a private driver
For groups of 4 or more adults, hiring a private driver might be another great option if you do not want to drive yourselves or if you do not plan on driving around much during your stay. Quite often, it is even cheaper to hire a private driver than it is to take a shuttle since private drivers charge set price for the trip and not per person. Private drivers have all of the advantages of the private shuttles with the added bonus of being able to leave at whatever time you wish and stop along the way when you want. Prices typically start at around $150 per direction for the group. Just contact us and let us know where you are going and we will make all the arrangements for you.
Pros: Cheaper than private shuttles, allows you to enjoy the trip, you have a guide to explain the country to you
Cons: Only a viable option for groups, more expensive than renting a car