Getting to Tulemar Transportation
Traveling in Costa Rica can be an exciting and educational part of your vacation experience, but it also has the potential to be challenging. Due to the topography of the country, the infrastructure and the weather, travel times can vary widely. You should fly into SJO, our international airport in San José (Juan Santamaria). From there you'll have several options to get to the Quepos/Manuel Antonio area. Your choice will probably be based upon the arrival and departure times of your flights in/out of San José, personal preferences, and your budget.
Guests also ask about flying into the LIR Guanacaste airport located in Liberia, in the far northern part of Costa Rica. We do not recommend this option. The drive can take between 4-5 hours (without any stops for meals, restrooms, etc.). This results in a later arrival time into Tulemar and an earlier departure time from Tulemar on your departure day. The cost for land transportation is much more expensive and there are no direct commuter flights. If you must use this airport, we can provide transportation options and suggestions for you.
We recommend that you take advantage of our expertise and relationships with local service providers and allow us to assist you with your transportation needs within Costa Rica.
For ground transfer options, you can let us arrange a private van and driver to bring you to or from Tulemar or we can help you reserve a rental car so you can drive yourself. You can fly to Tulemar with one of our regional airlines or we can provide a charter service.
The roads in Costa Rica are generally good and improvements are always underway. However, accurate road signs and an occasional disregard for the rules of the road on the part of fellow travelers can make navigation around the country a challenge for international drivers.
Private Van & Driver
With the new highway, the drive from San José to Manuel Antonio is roughly 3 hours. We can arrange a private van with a driver starting at $180 per trip (plus 13% Value Added Tax (VAT), depending on the number of passengers. It’s a great ride; much easier and safer than driving yourself. We can also arrange private van trips to other destinations like Arenal or the Osa Peninsula.
Shared Shuttles & Buses
The most economical way to reach Manuel Antonio, if you have the time and patience, is via the Shared Shuttle or national bus services. The travel time is longer than with a private van and driver, but the real trade-off comes in the flexibility of your itinerary. You’ll need to have an arrival and departure time that is compatible with their pick-up time. In each case, there’s one rest-break halfway through the journey.
Getting Around Tulemar
While staying in Tulemar, you’ll have access to the free shuttle that operates within the resort, from the front gates to the beach and many points in between. Taxis will come right to your door in Tulemar and pick you up for a trip to the store, Quepos, the National Park, out for dinner, and wherever you would like to go. There is also a bus stop located right outside the gates of Tulemar (about 90 cents to Quepos or the National Park). We can also arrange for a private van/driver to pick you up. If you would like a rental car, we can have one delivered to you.
Once you arrive in Tulemar, a rental car is not necessary. However, if you want to drive around and sightsee on your own, you may choose to rent a car. If you are not familiar with the route, we do not recommend renting a car and driving to Tulemar after dark.
If you decide to rent a car, we recommend asking your concierge to handle the reservation for you. They have relationships with different car rental companies and know which ones are best. Different Map apps (like Google Maps or Waze) on your mobile phone work very well. Just enter Tulemar, Manuel Antonio and you’ll arrive in less than three hours assuming there is no traffic and you do not stop along the way.
It is important to know ahead of time if the car rental company will require you to purchase insurance. Your concierge can help you navigate through this to be sure you are aware of any requirements prior to making a reservation.
Flying to Quepos
We have a small, regional airport XQP in Quepos, serviced by a commuter airline. None of the local airports in Costa Rica have runway lights or control towers, so the flights only operate from sunrise to sunset (about 6:30 AM until 5 PM) and less frequently from May thru November.
- Check baggage policies carefully. Weight limits are enforced, which means that they will take your bags, you’ll just pay for the extra weight.
- Upon arrival in San José, you’ll need at least 1½ hours before your flight to Quepos or another destination.
- When returning to San José to connect with your international flight, you’ll want to give yourself two hours to connect.
Sansa flies 12 passenger, single engine, turbo prop planes from the domestic terminal next door to the international airport in San José. It’s very convenient. The flight is about 20 minutes and costs approximately $80-$100 per person, each way.
Unfortunately, not every flight is actually flown and advance notification is not always given until you arrive at the airport. If they do not fly, due to almost any reason or you miss your flight because your connecting flight was late or it took longer than expected to get through customs and baggage claim, Sansa will not refund your money, but issue a credit for a future flight instead (which you may never be able to use). They may not have another flight to get you to your destination (or on time for your connecting flight) so you may be forced to find another form of transportation at the last minute.
Please ask your concierge for additional information.
There are several excellent charter companies operating out of San José. Your concierge can provide you with a quote. The cost depends on the number of passengers, size of the aircraft, and flight times.
Although more expensive than a commercial flight, chartering a flight can be surprisingly affordable in Costa Rica. For example you can charter a 6 passenger plane for about $1,200 total or a 12 passenger plane for about $1,800 total for a one way trip from San José to Quepos.
Contact your concierge to receive a quote for a charter flight for your group.