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Erik from Seattle asked

Rental Cars, Buses and Hitchhiking in Northwestern Costa Rica

I am heading to the Guanacaste area of Costa Rica for 5 weeks beginning June 1st and am debating how I'm going to get around. I'm going to be staying a week in each place - Playa Hermosa, Playa Conchal, Tamarindo, Playa Junquillal, and one other spot that I haven't decided yet. I contacted a rental car company from my Airbnb host and looks like it will cost $350 for a week and $1300 for the whole month (intermediate SUV, which from what my hosts say is necessary in this area). 

Does anyone have experience traveling in the area? I heard hitchhiking is pretty common, as long as you can find someone going from one place to the other. How are the buses? Do I have to go back and forth between the bigger cities Liberia/Santa Cruz to get to where I want to go? Cabs are another option, but not sure how expensive they are. I know during this time of the year roads can be washed out, which makes having your own car a clear advantage, as well as getting to some of the more remote areas. 

Any suggestions or recommendations are appreciated! 



2 Answers
answered by
Rose from Gainesville

Hi Erik, I agree with all of Rocio's comments. I would only add that you should make sure you ask for a GPS system in your car or make sure yours is updated before you go. Road signs are limited in CR so we found our GPS invaluable. Enjoy!

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answered first by
Rocio from Costa Rica

Hello Erik. I am so glad to know that you are planning to visit my beautiful country. Guanacaste is one of my favorite beaches in Costa Rica. I suppose you are planning to land at the Daniel Oduber International Airport which I think will save you time/money. I will try to help you answering the question about renting a car versus taking a bus or hitchhinking. Even though these beaches are not very far from one another I would suggest that you rent a car. This will give you more flexibility to drive from one place to another at any moment. I don't think you will need to rent a SUV. We rented a compact/economy car a few months ago and we paid $280 (1 month). We drove every morning from Santa Cruz (Costa Rica) to Flamingo Beach Rd, Playa Conchal and Playa Hermosa and it was very easy.  Buses are Ok however this is not the best mean of transportation among beaches. (This is my personal opinion based on my experience. Lets wait for other Trippys to reply as well). Find out with Alamo rent a car, Budget Car Rental Liberia Guanacaste, or Thrifty Car Rental. They have good deals on line.

You don't have to go to main cities such as Liberia if you don't want to. The chosen beaches are relatively close therefore if you rent a car you can leave every morning and visit one or two. Just try to book a hotel in the area and travel from there. For example, Tamarindo offers a lot of lodging alternatives (restaurants, drug stores, supermarkets, etc.) and from here you can travel to Hermosa, Conchal, etc. I do not recommend taking cabs to visit beaches. It wil be very expensive!

As far as I know it does not rain very heavy during the month of June as rainy season just started. Therefore roads will be ok.

Hope this helps. If you need further assistance, just let me know.


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