What is the best Costa Rica transportation?

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Answered by: Caitlin, An Expert in the Traveling in Costa Rica Category
Getting Around Costa Rica

Costa Rica is the most visited country in Central America, with over 2.2 million foreign visitors in 2011 alone. Tourists are drawn to the picturesque beaches, tropical rain forests, and impressive volcanoes that make up Costa Rica's varied landscape. It is a hot spot for adventure-seekers who want to zip-line through the cloud forest or try their hand at surfing on the coast. The laid-back pura vida lifestyle also attracts visitors who want to unwind and escape the stress and daily pressures of their homeland.

Due to heavy rains and bumpy unpaved roads, Costa Rica can be a bit treacherous to travel through. It is important to research your Costa Rica transportation ahead of time and know your options.

The best option, by far, for transport in Costa Rica is to rent a car. This offers you the flexibility of going where you want, when you want and frees you from being tied to a bus schedule. San Jose International Airport is the largest airport in the country and it is quite easy to rent a vehicle in that area. However, it is best to only drive during the day-time as roads are often unlit and dangerous to drive on at night. The driver must also be cautious as road conditions can quickly change. An SUV is highly recommended to traverse the ever-changing Costa Rican terrain. Never leave anything valuable in the car and be sure to always lock your doors the car is unattended as break-ins are fairly common.

Another easy option is to schedule a bus shuttle service to get around the country. Interbus is the best and most-used option. Rates from city to city vary but usually run in the $30-$50 range per passenger. You can book your reservations online and they'll pick you up and drop you off at any major hotel/hostel in your city of choice. Shuttle service is a safe and convenient option if you don't want to rent a car.

There are also cheaper, local bus lines. However, these are considered "take at your own risk" as bus schedules are not guaranteed and bus stations are often unmarked and hard to find. It is best to ask a local for recommendations on what buses to take and where they will pick you up. Make sure you keep all your belongings in sight while on the bus as petty theft is common.

Taxis can be taken from town to town. It is usually best to have your hotel/hostel call you a cab as they have reliable, safe contacts. Be sure to always negotiate the rate before you get in the cab. Use common sense and if you feel unsafe, ask your driver to stop and let you out.

Part of the adventure of Costa Rica is traveling through the diverse landscape and soaking in the sights. Costa Rica transportation can take a bit longer but it is well worth the delay as you'll get to see breathtaking beaches and luscious rain forests on your way.

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