The Nicoya Peninsula is roughly 37 miles (60 km) wide and 75 miles (121 km) long, located on the Pacific Coast. Divided into the Guanacaste and Puntarenas provinces, it's a popular destination for surfing, jungle treks, and laid-back beach towns. While the town of Nicoya is somewhat centrally located, travel times may vary depending on where your final destination is on the peninsula.
From San Jose, Costa Rica's capital and largest airport, it's easiest to fly into Tambor. This fast, direct flight to the southern end of the peninsula gives you a good starting point to continue your travels. If you're coming from the areas of Monteverde or La Fortuna/Arenal, it's most convenient to travel by private transfer. If you have time in your itinerary, consider breaking up the drive with a ferry ride across the Gulf of Nicoya.
From San Jose
Duration: 30 min - 1 hour
If time is of the essence, the quickest way to access the peninsula is by airplane. From the San Jose International Airport, you can catch one of several daily domestic flights into Tambor. From there, you can pick up a private transfer, rent a car, or hop on a public bus.
The next best option, though much longer, would be to drive to Puntarenas and catch the ferry. The ride, along well-maintained Route 27, takes about two hours. The ferry ride is a little over an hour but a relaxing way to see some coastal sights. On the peninsula side, the ferry will drop you off at Paquera.
Duration: 2-4 hours
Driving by private transfer is the best way to get to the peninsula from Monteverde. Using Nicoya as a general destination, the distance is about 67 miles (108 km) so the drive should take a little over two hours. While signage tends to be fairly navigable, many roads throughout the peninsula are not paved. In the rainy season, the weather can create tricky driving conditions for more remote locations so be sure to account for that in your schedule.
From La Fortuna
Duration: 3-6 hours
Again, using Nicoya as a general guide, the distance from La Fortuna is about 106 miles (170km). Traveling by private transfer is the most convenient way to get to the peninsula. The drive down Route 142 to Route 18 is not only quicker, but you'll also enjoy a scenic meander around Lake Arenal on your way. The ride should take about three hours total. If you're traveling off the beaten path to a smaller town you may find your trip lengthened by the many unpaved roads.