Use a Pro
We recommend using a professional driver to come here and then renting locally only on days when you need a vehicle. This is because there is a “convenience fee” of $10-15 added to most rentals by the airport, and it is a waste of funds to rent a vehicle on days when you don’t need one. Also driving here is a bit of a challenge for those who haven’t done it before.
Other reasons include being able to keep a group together without risking separation, not getting lost with Costa Rica’s many un-signed turns and saving time and frustration: The process of renting a vehicle with a family in tow and all of your bags is not something to look forward to at the end of a long travel day. You have to get to the rental office, wait in line, check out the vehicle including walk-arounds, (take pictures of any damage,) etc. all before starting your trip. In the end driving yourself only saves you $30-40 once you pay for gas and the savings is not worth the frustration and wasted time in my opinion. Best to just walk out of the airport, be met by someone with your name on a piece of paper, get straight into the van and relax while you are whisked safely and directly to your destination.
We do not keep drivers on staff, however we have some excellent owner/operators with newer vans and English speaking drivers with whom we regularly do business and they are fantastic. They are a small, family owned and operated company and they are punctual, courteous, very knowledgeable, friendly and professional. More than 70 of our clients used them last month alone. So we can easily arrange for your transportation requirements with drivers who have proven themselves. They are not the cheapest option but we have tried most of the service providers and discovered that they strike the perfect balance between price and quality. Please contact us for a quote to add transportation to your itinerary.
If you do decide to rent, then we recommend Vamos as an honest option at a good value.
Not all drivers are created equal! The quality and maintenance of the vans, the professionalism of the driver etc. are all things that are part of the price that you pay. I don’t think that this is an area to skimp on and we’ve spent years trying various drivers to find the right ones. Transits are a big part of your stay in CR. When they go wrong, it can mess up a significant part of your stay. So we work primarily with a family owned and run company, (father, two sons and a friend,) who provide us with back up and consistently top notch service. We pay a rate that allows them to do a good job, maintain their vehicles well, (all newer vans,) and enjoy a decent living wage. You may find a transit for a few dollars less, but we highly recommend these guys.
Other Transport Options:
Or you can use a shared bus service like Interbus. They cost around $50 per person to go from Alajuela (SJO) to la Fortuna. Keep in mind that if you have 4 people the cost for a shared can service is the same as a private driver and actually becomes cheaper with groups of 5 or more people. We do NOT recommend taking the public bus! It will waste up to a day of your vacation and can be very hot and trying. Plus there is a fair degree of theft on them.
Transportation Cancellation Policy:
– If notice of cancellation is given 24 hours prior arrival, a full refund is given
– If notice of cancellation is given prior to the driver’s departure (drive time plus an additional 2 hours), a 50% refund is given
– If notice of cancellation is given after the driver’s departure, there is no refund
We understand that flight delays are possible. There is no charge for the first 2 hours the driver waits, each additional hour is $20 per hour.