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Costa Rica, San Jose, Nosara

Driving or taking the bus/taxi in Costa Rica

I'll be in Costa Rica during the month of May, and am trying to decide whether I should rent a car, or just take a bus or taxi around.  It will be my first trip to Costa Rica, and I have heard mixed opinions (some sources say it's no big deal, others are more cautious).

I will be starting in San Jose, and traveling as far as the city of Nosara.

7 Answers

top answer by
Eunice from Turrialba

Hi Philip!

May is a rainy month, so you should take that into account.

If you are staying in San José I would recommend using taxis and walking. Buses are pretty safe but visitors usually get lost, because bus stops aren´t usually marked and they don´t have tidy schedules.

To go to Nosara and other beaches/towns, the buses are great. It will take a little bit more time than if you are driving, but the buses are more organized. 

If you are staying at Nosara you will probably want to visit Playa Guiones, it´s nearby but taxis are hard to get in if you rent a car that would be easier. 

Hope this info helps!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Nosara (city)
  2. Playa Guiones (attraction)
5 thanks

answered by
Instituto from Liberia

Sorry if this post is too late! 

The bus system in Costa Rica is fantastic. You can get just about anywhere with some research and little Spanish to help you ask for directions. Taking the bus is extremely economical - usually between $1 and $7 per ride (depending on how long the trip is). Once you are on the bus, it is totally safe - there is nothing to worry about. It is finding accurate information that can be more tricky. 

Renting a car is a good option to travel faster, however, you should be aware that the people here drive very aggressively. It can be dangerous to drive if you are not expecting this (or you have any form of road rage haha). So if you rent a car, be aware of this and plan to take many deep breaths during each trip. 

Taxis are a good way to get around for short distances. If you are in a city/town, you can usually take a taxi for $2-$3. However, to go long distances it can cost much more ESPECIALLY because you are foreign and if you don't speak Spanish. Unfortunately, the taxi drivers here are very good at taking advantage of visitors to the point that they seriously overcharge for a ride after convincing the travelers that there are no buses when there really are. 

In the end, the bus is the best option for safe, economical travel. I hope this helps! Sorry for the late response :/

If asking for directions in Spanish is intimidating and you want to learn more, come learn with us during your next trip! We'd love to see you!

Have a great trip!

1 thanks

answered by
Maria from San José, Costa Rica

Well, taxi is going to be expensive, especially if they know that you are foreign. The bus service is save and it shouldn't be any problem if you take it. Nosara's beach is the best one of Nicoya, but you must see some beaches like Tamarindo, Samara, Playa Conchal and Playa Flamingo. Good Luck!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Nosara (city)
  2. Nicoya (city)
  3. Tamarindo (city)
  4. Samara (city)
  5. Playa Conchal (attraction)
  6. Playa Flamingo (city)
1 thanks

answered by
Estefani from Tepeji

San Jose is a little city so  you can take a taxi or walk, is not an awesome city but has interesting people. But if you go to Nosara, take a bus live the expirience, you´re  in other country. Enjoy the trip and take a lot of pics. Costa Rica is a beautiful place, the people is very nice. im from mexico and i was living in Costa Rica. 

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. San Jose (city)
  2. Nosara (attraction)
  3. Costa Rica (country)
1 thanks

answered by
Steve from Ottawa

Nosara is most likely serviced by a bus.  We hired a bus the last time organized through the place we were staying.  You might be able to do a one way rental through a company such as national which has an office in town. Costa rica driving is fine. Sometimes a bit slow. 

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Nosara (city)
1 thanks

answered by
Rose from Gainesville

We rented a car in CR and loved it.  Please please rent a vehicle with GPS.  There are literally no road signs once you get out of the city.  Enjoy!

answered by
Ted from Chicago

I took the bus from San José all the way to Puerto Jimenez and back through Manuel Antonio and had no problems and enjoyed the experience. Renting a car is more expensive, but you have more flexibility once you are at your destination. From people I have talked to and blogs I have read, renting a car and driving in CR does not sound too difficult.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Puerto Jimenez (city)

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