There are many ways to travel to Santa Teresa. Whether you decide to fly, drive, or take a boat ride, you'll be glad you made the trip. Below are some of the common ways to get to Santa Teresa
Sansa Regional and Nature Air are two companies with multiple daily flights from San Jose to Tambor.
The flights take about 30 minutes, and from there a 35 minute drive brings you to Santa Teresa.
You can have a taxi waiting to pick you up, or arrange to have your rental car waiting for you at the airport. This needs to be arranged in advance.
These flights are small, and fill up fast, so be sure to book in advance.
Remember that these flight have low weight limits, with fees for extra weight. During busy times they may refuse to take overweight luggage.
When driving to Santa Teresa, you will almost certainly cross the Gulf of Nicoya by ferry. (There is an overland route which goes through Naranjo, you can read about it here).
Several times a day the ferry departs from Puntarenas and arrives in Paquera about 75 minutes later.
The time and frequency of the ferry depends on the season, so be sure to check the ferry departure times on their website.
Tickets for the ferry must be purchased in advance from the ticket booth. You will not be allowed on the ferry without a ticket. A ticket must be purchased for every person, as well as the vehicle.
If the ferry has already reached its capacity for automobiles, you will need to wait for the next one. This often happens during peak season. It is recommended that you arrive early to ensure a place on the ferry.
There are many rental car companies in Costa Rica, but not all of them have offices in Santa Teresa/Malpais.
National, Alamo, Budget, and Toyota all have car rental locations in Santa Teresa. This is useful if you'd like a one-way rental. National offers a 10% discount when booking through us. Just click on the link or the image to the right to save 10%.
You can arrange to have a shuttle or taxi pick you up at the airport or hotel and take you directly to Santa Teresa.
Shared and Private shuttles are available
A direct bus, run by Transportes Cobano, leaves twice a day from Downtown San Jose and brings you to Mal Pais/Santa Teresa.
The bus departs from the San Carlos bus terminal at 6:00am and 2:00pm. The 6:00am bus arrives at about 12:30pm, and the 2:00pm bus arrives at about 8:30pm.
The bus drops you off at the ferry, goes on the ferry with you, and picks you up again on the other side. Make sure to keep your receipt, so that you can get back on the bus in Paquera.
The bus schedule is timed so that it gets to the ferry shortly before departure, so wait time is minimal and the trip is streamlined. If the ferry schedule changes, this may affect the bus departure time. You can always call Transportes Cobano to confirm departure time. Phone numbers: 2221-7479 --- 2642-1112 --- 2642-1117
Once the bus arrives in Santa Teresa, it drives up the road a couple kilometers. If you know where you want to go, ask the driver to drop you off in front of your destination.
Water Taxi leaves Herradura Beach (just north of Jaco) every day at 11am (weather permitting).
Passengers are picked up in Jaco and driven to the departure point.
Zuma Tours can also arrange a shuttle from different locations, such as Manual Antonio.
Arrives in Montezuma an hour later
From there, Zuma Tours takes you by shuttle to Santa Teresa
Perfect opportunity to observe wildlife, including dolphins, manta rays, turtles, and the occasional whale.
Reservations must be made in advance.
You will get your feet wet, entering and exiting the boat.
There is a weight limit for luggage, and surfboards and boxes have an addition fee.
Shuttle Conections with Mal Pais, Santa Teresa, Tambor, Manuel Antonio, Dominical, Uvita, Airport and San Jose
From Paquera to MalPais/Santa Teresa
From Paquera the drive to Santa Teresa will take you past Tambor and Cobano before arriving in Santa Teresa. Signs for those places will let you know you're going the right way.
The road to Montezuma is the same as the road to Santa Teresa, until you arrive in Cobano. In Cobano, turn left to go to Montezuma, or keep going straight to go to Santa Teresa
When you arrive at the Playa Carmen crossroads, a left will take you to Malpais, and a right will take you to Santa Teresa.
When driving to Santa Teresa, the trip can be divided into 3 parts.
Getting to Puntarenas
Going from Puntarenas to Paquera
Going from Paquera to Santa Teresa
Getting to Puntarenas
From San Jose, there are two roads one can take to get to Puntarenas. The Pan-American Highway (Carratera Interamericana Norte), i.e. Route 1, takes about 2 hours.
A newer toll road, called the Caldera Highway (Autopista del Sol), i.e. Route 27, cuts the driving time to about 75 minutes from San Jose to Puntarenas. (see the map, below)
From Liberia, drive south on the Pan-American Highway, and turn off at the Puntarenas exit (see option #2 below).
From Liberia, you can also bypass the ferry by driving through Santa Cruz, on to Nicoya - Jicaral - Naranjo to Paquera (a 4x4 is recommended). See option #1 below.
From Puntarenas to Paquera
Once you arrive in Puntarenas, drive to the end of the peninsula, to the ferry departure point.
You will start to see signs directing you to the ferry
Note that there are two different ferries, one to Paquera, and one to Naranjo. Make sure to take the ferry to Paquera.
Pay for the ferry in the ticket booth, across the street from the ferry. You cannot pay on the ferry. You must pay for the car and for each person in the car.
The ferry takes about 75 minutes to cross the Gulf of Nicoya, and it may take another 15 minutes to drive your car off the ferry.