COVID-19: For guidance on COVID-19 entry and exit requirements for U.S. nationals. Or, visit the CDC website for general air-travel guidelines

Getting Around

In-country transportation

Costa Rica is only about the size of West Virginia but its rugged and mountainous geography means getting around can take longer than expected. There are a few options for in-country transportation to choose from, yet most visitors opt for taking in-country flights, renting a car, or a combination of both.

We can recommend the fastest, most comfortable, and economical form(s) of transportation based on your itinerary.

Domestic flights

There are at least 12 remote airports (more like landing strips) in Costa Rica and three domestic hubs. In the Central Valley, the largest domestic terminal is next door to the SJO (San José) Airport in Alajuela. Sansa (Costa Rica’s national airline) and Green Airways are the only operators offering flights as of April 2021. More private companies are anticipated to resume operations once tourism rebounds from the 2020 pandemic.

Then there’s the Tobías Bolaños International Airport located in the southwest canton of Pavas, San Jose. Several companies offer private air and helicopter charter services from this airport, including Aerobell, CarmonAir, and Taxiaereo, among others.

The LIR international airport in Liberia serves as Costa Rica’s third domestic-airline headquarters. Sansa is the principal carrier and provides regular services to more popular destinations in Costa Rica and Nicaragua.

Note: As of April 2021, domestic airlines offering in-country flights within Costa Rica and select destinations in Nicaragua and Panama are SANSA and Green Airways. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, domestic carriers Aerobell, SkyWay, and TAC discontinued operations indefinitely.

Time Zone

Costa Rica observes Central Standard Time year-round (UTC-6) and does not participate in Daylight SavingTime clock changes.

VISA requirements

U.S. citizens and most Europeans do not require an entry visa to visit Costa Rica. However, they must have a valid passport and a return ticket to exit. In general, a 90-day tourist visa is issued upon arrival. For stays longer than 90 days, the individual must either leave the country for a minimum of 72 hours and/or establish a residence permit.

For specific entry requirements according to your nationality and other pertinent traveler information, visit the U.S. Embassy in Costa Rica website.


For guidance on COVID-19 entry and exit requirements for U.S. nationals. Or, visit the CDC website for general air-travel guidelines:

Click Here to read more

For guidance on Yellow Fever Vaccine requirements.

Private and Shared Shuttles

Some visitors believe private or shared shuttle transfers are the best way to see the country in stress-free comfort. Most companies (depending on the vehicle size) can accommodate between 5 and 14 passengers and their luggage per trip. If you’re party is large, and you opted for a shared transfer, or you’re visiting a popular destination during peak season, then you’ll likely be taking a Coaster or small-size bus. 

Shared shuttles run on a set schedule and usually provide door to door service, which is convenient and saves taxi fare. However, it could mean your trip takes longer than average to accommodate several drop-off locations. 

The average price of a shared shuttle fair for one person traveling from San José to Manuel Antonio during the high season runs between USD $55 and $65 depending on the company. Longer distances will naturally incur higher prices. 

Private shuttle service to Manuel Antonio (the same route) run between $200 and $220 for four people (additional $10 per person after four passengers for some companies). By booking a private shuttle you should be able to choose your departure time and location barring its not at night or needs to coordinate with a ferry crossing.  

Most shuttle companies will pick you up at the airport when your flight arrives. The driver should be wearing the company logo and will wait for you at the airport exit with a sign with your name on it.

In some cases, children under 12  pay a discounted rate. Make sure to specify if  you will need a car booster seats or infant carrier as they are not automatically provided. 

In-Country Domestic Flight Time VS Driving Time

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