Costa Rica

GETTING AROUND

Keep in mind the pet peeve most tourists have with Costa Rican kindness: often times when a Costa Rican has no idea where a certain destination you may have had in mind is, he or she will simply direct you to a random location. Often times simply incomprehensible, these directions are a reflection on the cultural approach to kindness many Costa Ricans adopt.

Public bus
bus click on the image to enlarge
Most major tourist destinations in Costa Rica are serviced by at least two daily buses from and to San Jose. The advantages of public transportation in Costa Rica are that tickets are cheap (rarely more than $7 US per person) and they cover most towns around the country.

Rental car
Rent a car click on the image to enlarge
For 350-700 USD a week you can rent a econocar/mid size 4WD. Insurance is the majority of this cost and it is not optional. 4-wheel drive is good for extensive traveling outside the Central Valley, especially in the wet season. In the dry season going from La Fortuna to Monteverde via a direct route was over a boulder strewn 15-30 MPH road. 4WD was also useful on the Nicoya coast (above based on 2001 roads).

Taxi
taxi click on the image to enlarge
Another easy way to get around Costa Rica is to use the services of mini-vans. At most of the hotels, the receptionist is able to assist travelers who want to travel across the country by arranging for the services of a driver. Rates are reasonable (US$20 per person, for example, to get from San Jose to Tamarindo in August, 2005) The drivers know the roads well; the vans are clean and comfortable; and they take you from door to door.

Taxis are available in most large cities. They are usually inexpensive, charging only a few dollars to get most anywhere within the city. The meter is called "la maria"; ask the driver to turn it on immediately upon getting in the car, or he may leave it off and make up his own, more expensive, price when you get to your destination. Official taxis are red with a yellow triangle on the side. If you are alone, especially if you are female, ride in the back seat as riding in the front with the driver can be seen as suggestive.
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