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Native's Way Costa Rica - Tours & Transfers

How to get to Tamarindo, Costa Rica

Not long ago, Tamarido was a quiet fishing village but for its incredible beaches, ideal surfing, and its proximity to the Las Baulas National Marine Park, but over recent years this corner of paradise has become one of the essential points to visit in the country with a flourishing international expat culture and food.  Here is how to get there:

From San Jose (SJO) airport to Tamarindo

The Juan Santamaría Airport is in San José, the capital of the country, and about 250km from Tamarindo, approximately 4 to 6 hours by land.

From this airport you can get to Tamarindo:

  • Shared or Private Shuttle (private minivan service). The shared shuttle is the most affordable, reliable, and efficient. The pick up location is at the nearby Denny’s, a short cab ride, at 9 am and 3 PM. You must book the Tamarindo in shuttle can be private or it can be a shared minivan with other passengers traveling in the same direction. The approximate prices are $55/adult if it is shared and private will run $250 depending on the number of people
  • Car rental:  At the airport there are several car rental agencies. The road to Tamarindo is pretty good, it can only be complicated by traffic jams or the intense rainy mountain stretches; the bad thing is that many agencies do not have offices to return the car in Tamarindo, so you would have to keep the car until you can leave it on your return to San José or in the nearby city of Liberia (forcing you to have it at least 48 hours or return it in Liberia the same day and then take a bus back to Tamarindo). The rental price for 2 days (taking the car at the airport in San Jose and returning it to the Liberia office or in Tamarindo) costs approximately between $50 and $175 depending on the company, the car, etc.
  • Taxi. The official taxis of the airport are orange and their fare is much higher than that of a normal taxi or the official taxis which are red. You can arrive in a little less than 4.5 hours – approximately – and the cost can exceed $ 400. You can also take a taxi to the bus terminal (about $ 25) and from there take a bus to Tamarindo. Do not to take black or blue taxis, they are unofficial taxis, or what we call illegal ‘pirate taxis’. Those are ok for getting around the small town of Tamarindo, but do not trust them for long distances.
  • Public transport is the cheapest option, but will take the longest. First you need to take a taxi to the Alajuela Bus Terminal (about $8) and take the Deldu bus to Liberia (about $12) that takes about 3.5 hours.  From Liberia you can take the La Pampa bus 2 hours to Tamarindo (about $3).


 From Liberia Airport to Tamarindo

Liberia airport is about 75km from Tamarindo and is the recommended international airport to fly into if you are going to Guanacaste beaches on the northwest Pacific Coast

  • Shared Shuttles – These shuttles are in comfortable air conditioned minivans and leave frequently. The cost is $25 per person and you will need to reserve your spot ahead of time
  • Private Shuttles – Don’t want to wait for others on the shared shuttles or have more than 4 people? Private shuttles are best, ranging from $80 to $220 depending on the number of people.
  • Public transport it is the cheapest option but most uncomfortable and take over 2 hours, plus the time you may have to wait at the bus stop.  La Pampa which has regular service and takes you directly to Tamarindo for about 1,350 Colones (around $3) and makes stops in all of the major towns on the way.


From Tamarindo Airport to Tamarindo Center

No, this is not a joke. Tamarindo has a small airport that receives daily flights from San Jose, the capital of the country, and the main operators are Nature Air and Fly Sansa. It does not receive international flights.

Tamarindo airport is less than 5km from the center and you can easily get there by taxi which will cost you about $8 and in just over 5 minutes you will be in the center of our favorite town.


To Tamarindo From …

From Puntarenas.

  • Private Shuttle: Ranges from $100-$200, contact us for a quote
  • There are public buses that leave frequently from the bus terminal and it costs about $10

From Monteverde:

  • Shared or Private Shuttle: We offer shared shuttle for $44-$55 per person, and private shuttles from $180.
  • Public Bus: This It is possible, but definitely not your best option.  It takes about 6-8 hours and you have to take multiple buses: Monteverde to Lagartos ($2), Lagartos to Liberia ($2), and Liberia to Tamarindo ($2).

From La Fortuna/Arenal Volcano

  • Shared or Private Shuttle: We offer shared shuttle for $44-$55 per person, and private shuttles from $180.
  • Public Bus: This It is possible, but definitely not your best option.  It takes about 6-8 hours and you have to take multiple buses: La Fortuna to Tilaran ($2), Tilaran to Canas ($1), Canas to Liberia ($2), and Liberia to Tamarindo ($2).

From Manuel Antonio

  • Shared or Private Shuttle: We offer shared shuttle for $65 per person, and private shuttles from $280.
  • Public Bus: This It is possible, but definitely not your best option.  It takes about 6-8 hours and you have to take multiple buses: Quepos to Puntarenas ($5), Puntarenas to Liberia ($2), and Liberia to Tamarindo ($2).

From the Caribbean Coast

From the Caribbean coast you will have to first go to San José and then transfer on a bus to Tamarindo.  This can be done on both public bus or Shared Options.  A rental car would be the fastest option.


When you finally reach Tamarindo it will be easy and comfortable to walk around. Even to some of the nearby beaches, such as Langosta or Playa Grande you can get there by taking a walk.

However, the public transport service is very messy, infrequent and nobody seems to be able to give you information about schedules and prices, so the options to move around the beaches near Tamarindo is: car rental,  UTV Rental, Beach Hopping Tours,  or hire private transport.

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