How to get to Mal Pais / Santa Teresa Costa Rica

 In Travel

How to Get To Mal Pais, Santa Teresa from San Jose, Costa Rica

There are two main paths to get from San Jose International Airport SJO in Costa Rica to Mal Pais and Santa Teresa.  You can travel by Land or by Air.  If you are flying into Liberia International Airport you can travel to Mal Pais and Santa Teresa via land only.

By Land

From SJO:  The journey to Mal Pais, Santa Teresa Costa Rica from San Jose is a leisurely 5.5 hour journey that includes a pleasant ferry ride.  The ferry has incredible views and has a cafe on board.

From Liberia:  The total travel time is approx. 4 – 5 hrs in a non-stop shuttle.

maps San Jose to Playa carmen, costa rica

Journey Overview from SJO

  • San Jose International Airport SJO > Puntarenas Ferry (1 – 1.5 hrs Drive)
  • Board Ferry Puntarenas > Paquera (1.5 hrs Ferry Ride)
  • Paquera Ferry Station > Santa Teresa, Playa Carmen, Mal Pais (1.5 hrs Drive)

Tambor Ferry to Playa Carmen in Costa Rica                    Ferry in Costa Rica

By Bus from San Jose, Costa Rica

Every day at 6 am and 2 pm there is a public bus from Downtown San Jose, the bus station is called “Terminal 7-10”, its $15 USD.  This bus is direct (gets on the ferry with you and then you re-board the bus after the ferry ride) it will arrive in Santa Teresa at the “CRUCE” at 12 noon or 8:30 pm.  From there you will need to get a taxi to INDIGO YOGA RESORT, 2 km South of the “CRUCE.” The buses are very comfortable, Class A style buses and sometimes offer Wifi.

By Shuttle  | *** This is the most common option & the one we suggest***

From SJOShuttles typical pick you up at the airport, you board the ferry by foot but the shuttle gets on the ferry with you and then you re-board the shuttle after the ferry ride.  Sometimes you will board the ferry without the shuttle and the service will have a second shuttle waiting for you on the Paquera side to take you the last leg of the journey.)

From Liberia – Shuttles pick up at airport and bring you to hotel.

Montezuma Expeditions Costa Rica Logo

Montezuma Expeditions Shuttles 2020 Time Table & Pricing:

santa teresa shuttle tour company

Tropical Tours Shuttles Costa Rica San Jose > Santa Teresa/Mal Pais

By Rental Car

Check for car rentals from San Jose Airport Costa Rica to Mal Pais or Playa Carmen.  Please check the Paquera ferry times here.  The cost for the ferry is approx. $20USD for one car including driver.  The cost is approx. $1.50 for each additional person.

In Costa Rica most Car Rental Agencies require that you purchase the basic mandatory insurance which can range from $14 – $20/day.  This is most likely a charge they will tell you about on arrival.  The rental insurance offered online IS NOT the insurance you need and you should add insurance on arrival.

Budget Rental Car (use Orbitz to find the best deals) is the only company in Costa Rica that will let you use your own insurance if you have it.  Many major Credit Cards cover you for insurance if you book a rental car with that Credit Card.  Please contact your Credit Card provider to confirm your coverage.

By Air

Tambor Airport Costa Rica

There are a few regional airlines that fly from San Jose International Airport (SJO) Costa Rica to Tambor (TAM) Regional Aiport Costa Rica.  You can check flights on Nature Air Here or on Sansa Airlines Here.

Please be aware that these flights typically charge for the weight of your bags and may have a weight limit.

From Tambor Airport it is a 30 min. taxi drive to Mal Pais, approx. $30 USD  There are many cabs at the landing strip or you can have a can arranged directly through Indigo Yoga Resort.


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