How to get to Tamarindo, Costa Rica
Transportation in Costa Rica can be a bit tricky if you don’t know what you’re doing. This page should explain some of the basics on how to get to Tamarindo and go over some of your options.
Arriving by plane
Most visitors will be arriving by plane, so we’ll assume that’s your plan as well. There are two international airports in Costa Rica one in San Jose and one in Liberia. They don’t look terribly far away from each other on a map, but they are (especially with Costa Rica’s roads), so if you are visiting Tamarindo, we would suggest flying to Liberia (airport code: LIR). It’s a short 45 minute drive from the Liberia airport to Tamarindo. On the other hand, San Jose (which can at times has cheaper flights) is about a 6 hour drive to Tamarindo. You can also hop on a regional plane (Nature Air or Sansa) and fly from San Jose to Liberia (or even Tamarindo!), but it’s much easier to fly directly to Liberia.
United, Southwest, Delta, American Airlines (and more) all fly to Liberia (via Texas, LA or Miami in most cases).
The Liberia airport is brand new and very nice, so it’s really easy to navigate and get around.
There are two ways to get to Tamarindo once you’ve landed, you can rent a car, or you can take a private or shared van. If you are not going to be traveling to a lot of locations in Costa Rica, we would advise against renting a car as it is EXTREMELY expensive to rent a car in Costa Rica. If you plan on spending time in Tamarindo and only a little time traveling, and you want to rent a car, we’d suggest renting in Tamarindo only for the days that you actually need a car, no need to pay for a rental that’s sitting in a parking lot for days on end.
Our favorite mode of transportation in Costa Rica is van service. There are tons of vans available at all times and they are reliable and clean. Transportation from the airport will run you around $100 (plus tip). If you want to hail a van, you can do that at the airport, or if you want to have one set up ahead of time (our recommendation) we would be happy to help set that up for you! Drop us an email and we’ll let you know what information we’ll need to get that booked for you, it’s super easy.
Your van driver will be more than willing to make a quick stop at a convenience store so you can grab some waters, beers, sodas and snacks for the drive to Tamarindo. We’re always so thirsty and the kids are hungry after the long flights, so take advantage of the fact that they are happy to stop for you. It makes the drive much more pleasant. Be sure to tip your driver. $20 is our suggestion for a trip from the airport to Tamarindo or Langosta.
If you are renting a car, there are a few car rental locations near the airport, but we have never used any of them, so we do not have a whole lot of advice on that front. We have rented a number of times in Tamarindo from Economy and Adobe.
The drive to Tamarindo is about 45-55 minutes long and you will get to see a wide variety of Guanacaste (north west Costa Rica) along the route. Be sure to look around, it’s a beautiful country!