Congratulations! You've got your airline ticket booked and you’re arriving at Daniel Obuder Quíros airport (or LIR) just outside the city of Liberia. Now it’s time to think about your ground transportation options for getting from the airport to your lodgings in Tamarindo. Depending on which option you choose, you can arrive in Tamarindo anywhere from approximately 1 hour (shuttle or rental) to closer to 3 hours (via bus) from the time you leave the airport. Here are several options to consider:
Private shuttles are the most comfortable and convenient way to get from LIR to your lodgings in Tamarindo. Depending on the size of your group, the per-person cost is remarkably affordable – as low as $20. When you book a private shuttle with The Costa Group, we will monitor your flight information and communicate with our driver about any changes to your itinerary such as flight delays, etc. When your flight arrives at LIR, your driver will meet you and will help to load you and your luggage into an air-conditioned vehicle which is the right size for your group. You can let us know if you have any oversized items such as surfboards, etc. Some of the vehicles we use will have wifi, and all are comfortable, clean and modern. Your professional and courteous driver will take you directly to your lodgings while you sit back and enjoy the drive. Visit our transportation page for more information.
Rent a Car
If you plan to rent a car, make your reservation well in advance of your trip. Depending on the time of year, rental vehicles are in short supply. Some of the car rental agencies have desks at the airport, while others are just a short shuttle ride away. When reserving a vehicle, consider how much luggage you will need to transport. You may be able to fit 5-6 people in most SUV style vehicles, but it’s unlikely you will be able to fit six suitcases into a typical SUV here. Some people opt for a private shuttle to and from the airport to ensure there is room for their luggage, and then pick up a rental in Tamarindo for the duration of their stay. Another option is to use a shuttle for airport transfers, and then rent a golf cart for getting around Tamarindo. This is a popular option. For helpful tips about renting a car, visit our blog post "12 Tips for Renting a Car in Costa Rica" here.
The public bus is the most economical option with a one-way fare costing approximately $4 (USD). However, the bus doesn’t always run as expected, so there can be delays, and they can be crowded. You should plan on between 2.5–3 hours one way. The bus is popular so you aren’t guaranteed a seat, and the bus doesn’t deliver to all hotels in Tamarindo. You may have to walk, or call an Uber or local taxi to get to your final destination. If you are taking the bus to the airport for your departing flight, leave plenty of time for travel delays. As of this writing, the schedule of buses leaving LIR heading to Tamarindo are at 5:30am, 11:30am, 2:30pm, 6:30pm. And buses leaving Tamarindo heading to LIR (be sure to ask the driver if they are planning to stop at the airport) run at 5:00am, 11:00am, 2:05pm, 5:00pm. These times are subject to change. Note that when traveling by bus in Costa Rica, you must pay in cash when you board, and you must pay using the local currency, which is colones. Most bus drivers will speak some English, but you shouldn’t expect fluency. Knowing some basic Spanish makes it much easier to travel on public transportation. And one final consideration, if you are traveling with an unusually large item like a surfboard, you should not try to bring it on a public bus. The bus works well for people who are traveling with backpacks or carry-on size luggage.
Uber does operate in Costa Rica in a legal gray area. We really only recommend Uber in the San Jose metropolitan area. Uber currently does not operate at all from or to LIR (Liberia airport). You may a limited number of Uber drivers once you get to Tamarindo for local transport, but it is not a reliable source, so it's always best to have a back-up plan for your local transportation needs in Tamarindo (shuttles, golf carts, local taxis, etc.).
So, while we at The Costa Group recommend private transportation, our goal is to make sure that all of our clients are well informed about their transportation options. If your question isn’t answered here, feel free to get in touch. However you manage to get here, we’re delighted that you are planning to spend some time in Costa Rica. Your dream vacation awaits!
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