Getting around in Costa Rica: Jaco


You’ve booked your flights and found the perfect beach-front resort. The day is approaching, and you’re almost on your way to Costa Rica, ready to make the most of your much-needed vacation. Once your plane lands, the beautiful country is yours to explore. But first thing first: getting from the airport to your accommodations.


This single trip may seem like a small detail in comparison to the higher-price points on your itinerary, but without proper planning, transportation can give you a headache and put a dent in your wallet.


Here are several options you can explore as you find the perfect mode of transportation between the airport and your destination, as well as convenient ways to make the most of your Costa Rican vacation.


  • Hotel shuttle. Check your resort’s website to see if they offer a complimentary ride to and from the airport as part of your package. Whether the service is free or not, inquire if you need to make a reservation and what the cost will be.
  • General shuttle. Often times, shuttles will offer transportation from airports to resorts for a fee. Ask the shuttle driver if your destination is within their area of service, and be sure to ask ahead of time what the trip will cost before leaving the airport.
  • Taxi. Cabs offer the convenience of having the space to yourself so that you can relax on the drive to your accommodation. However, these quiet rides can end up costing an arm and a leg if you’re not careful. Before your trip, spend some time researching different cab companies near the airport and look up their flat fees and per-mile rates. This will give you a good idea of the final bill when you map the distance between the airport and your destination.
  • Public transit. Buses may be the cheapest option to get from point A to point B, but be sure to check the following details ahead of time: 1) Where to buy bus tickets if they don’t accept cash payment on board, 2) What bus stop is within walking distance to your destination, especially if you’re travelling with luggage and 3) How often your desired bus runs its scheduled course. This will keep you from getting stranded far away from where you want to be.
  • Car rental. This may end up being the costliest transit option, but if you’re planning a trip full of sightseeing, this will give you the flexibility of doing everything on your own schedule.


Whatever option you choose, consider these additional transit tips:

  • Know the exact address of your destination - especially if you’re taking a metered mode of transportation that charges according to the distance traveled.
  • Have cash on hand - both local and your own currency - as not every transit option will accept payment via credit card.


Getting to Jaco from Santamaria International Airport

Jaco is a one-and-a-half hour drive from the airport. Here are your three best transportation options:

Taxi. Official taxi cabs are red. This trip costs between $90-$100.

Shuttle. Gray Line shuttles leave from Santamaria International Airport every 30 minutes. Reserve your spot online at Costa Rica Holiday Rentals and Morgan’s Cove Resorts are additional options for getting around the country.

Rental car. The fastest route is via Route 27; expect to pay $5 for road tolls, payable only in local currency.


Getting around Jaco via bus

Buses run between Jaco and Playa Herradura hourly between 5 a.m. and 10 p.m. Want to visit Carara National Park? Catch any bus toward San Jose, Orotina or Puntarenas for $1; just tell the bus driver you want to get off at Carara National Park. Buses also run between Jaco and Hermosa, Esterillos and Bejuco Beach every two hours for $1.


Getting around Jaco via taxi

Official taxi cabs are red. For longer trips, try to negotiate a fare beforehand. Here are the costs of several one-way trips from Jaco:

  • Hermosa: $10-$15
  • Esterillos: $30
  • Herradura / Los Suenos: $15
  • Carara National Park: $25
  • Bejuco: $35
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