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

The journey to Mal Pais or Santa Teresa Costa Rica from San Jose is a leisurely 5.5 hour journey that can be viewed in 3 sections and  includes a pleasant ferry ride. The ferry hosts incredible views, a fun vibe and has a cafe on board.

maps San Jose to Playa carmen, costa rica


From Liberia:  The total travel time is approx. 5 hrs in a non-stop shuttle. It is suggested to book flights to San Jose if planning to visit the Mal Pais Santa Teresa area as there are a lot more options for rides.

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

Class A 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, brings you to the ferry, includes a ferry ticket and you will enter the ferry by foot with your luggage.  The shuttle company will have a second shuttle waiting for you on the Paquera Arrival side to bring you to the retreat center.

From Liberia – Shuttles pick up at airport and bring you to hotel. It can be difficult to find a shared shuttle.

Tropical Shuttles

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. $20 USD 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

There are two regional airlines that fly from San Jose International Airport (SJO) Costa Rica to Cobano Regional Airport Costa Rica.  You can check flights on Green Airways Here or on Sansa Airlines Here.

From Cobano Airport it is a 20 min. taxi drive to Mal Pais, approx. $50 USD  There are many cabs at the landing strip or you can have a car arranged directly through Indigo Yoga Resort.


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