San Jose to Santa Teresa

Getting from San Jose to Santa Teresa

What’s the best way of getting to this magical beach town in the Nicoya Peninsula?

In the past decade, Santa Teresa has grown to become one of Costa Rica’s premiere tourist destinations. Once known exclusively as an off-the-grid location for backpackers and the rich and famous, this eclectic settlement now boasts important tourist infrastructure and many high-end amenities, from international cuisine to resort-like experiences. 

Despite its uptick in comforts, Santa Teresa is still uncharted territory for many, as its dirt roads and virgin tropical surroundings are well conserved to this day, which makes traveling there something to plan ahead. Thankfully, there are many options from San José, varying in cost, time and comfort level. 

Right off the bat, one of the most popular and convenient options is the minivan reservation. This tends to be a direct trip that can include airport pick-up and drop-off. There’s an overland-only trip and a combined minivan and ferry trip that crosses over to the Peninsula from Tambor. That minivan journey tends to take around 6 hours, and usually prices start at $50 per person. If one prefers a more private experience, there are private transfers that go from San Jose to Santa Teresa, naturally varying in size and luxury level. With the current rates, a private ride can send you back around $250 for a 6-seat vehicle, and arrive at the destination in 4 and a half hours.

Tambor Airport

For those more in a hurry, there’s a flight from Juan Santamaria International Airport that can take you to Tambor Airport in 30 minutes. There you can take a short taxi ride and be in Santa Teresa in no time. This usually ranges from $150 to $200. If what you want is the cheaper option, you can get a direct bus in San José at Terminal 7-10 for about $12, and be there in 6 hours. There’s also a more recurrent indirect bus to Cobano that adds half an hour and costs $20. 

If you rent a car, then the easiest option is simply taking the Route 27 coastal highway all the way to Caldera, where you then follow Route 23 towards El Roble, Route 17 afterwards to the ferry terminal, and once in Cabo Blanco, you drive on the southwestern path towards Santa Teresa. The whole trip should take around 4 and a half or 5 hours. 

Route 27

Knowing all these different options and configurations, there’s no better time to start planning and getting ready to enjoy one of Costa Rica’s most wonderful settings in the Blue Zone.

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