Costa Rica Transportation – Getting Around the Country

There are several different Costa Rica transportation options for getting around the country. Choosing the right one can make all the difference in making your visit as convenient as possible.

A popular option is to rent a car. This gives you the flexibility of driving at your own pace and according to your schedule.

Public buses

Costa Rica offers a wealth of transportation options to suit every traveler’s budget and preferences. While public buses are most commonly used by Costa Ricans living in small towns on the outskirts of major cities, they’re also an affordable option for international travelers traveling on a limited budget.

Buses typically operate on a fixed schedule, and there are often frequent stops along the way. If you plan to take a long-distance bus route, make sure to allow for extra time for delays and other problems.

Public buses are usually the most reliable and frequent form of transport in Costa Rica. However, long-distance routes can be time consuming due to frequent stops and slow driving. During peak season, it’s best to buy your ticket in advance so that you don’t run the risk of missing a bus or losing valuable time to wait for one.


Costa Rica has a wide variety of transportation options, including buses, shuttles, trains, and taxis. Taxis are an affordable option and can be a great way to get around town.

However, it is important to note that some unscrupulous drivers use unofficial (or pirate) taxis that don’t have meters, meaning you will have to negotiate a rate or be at their mercy to charge whatever they like. These pirate taxis are known as piratas in Spanish and should be avoided at all costs.

Red taxis are the official taxi service in Costa Rica, with their fares set and regulated by the government. They operate in cities and towns throughout the country, with the exception of car-free areas such as Tortuguero. Licensed taxis will have a yellow taxi hat on top of their vehicle, as well as a yellow triangle on the front of their car door that displays a code and taxi license number.


Costa Rica shuttles are one of the most popular options for travelers to move around this beautiful country. They are inexpensive and provide a safe and comfortable way to travel door-to-door.

Shared shuttle services are available to many destinations in Costa Rica from San Jose and Liberia airports, hotels and other locations across the country. They offer transportation in an air-conditioned tourist van that seats 8-12 passengers, are licensed and insured and are often flexible and willing to stop for bathrooms or photo ops along the route.

Private shuttles are a great option for young families or multi-generational families visiting Costa Rica without a rental car. They’re much more spacious, faster and more comfortable than shared shuttles.

They are also more accommodating for kids and seniors as they will usually have a baby or booster seat that can be used by children up to 12 years of age, free of charge. If you have a child in your party, be sure to request this before booking the shuttle.


Costa Rica is a popular destination for tourists and a number of different transportation options are available. Depending on your budget, preference and travel needs, you can choose from public buses, taxis, shuttles, private transfers and trains to get around the country.

Trains are a great way to get around the country because they are inexpensive and allow you to experience the scenery as it is rather than seeing it from a distance. However, you should be aware that they are slow and can make long distance trips a bit time-consuming.

One of the most enchanting ways to see the beautiful cloud forest is on the Monteverde Cloud Forest Train, affectionately called “Trainforest”. A replica old-fashioned steam locomotive pulls vintage black and red rail carriages down traditional narrow gauge tracks deep into the cloud forests of Monteverde!

There are also plans to revive the San Jose interurban train project that former president Carlos Alvarado began. Fortunately, there are still funds for the project, and President Rodrigo Chaves is planning to use them for this electric passenger train service.

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