A shared shuttle is a convenient and cost-effective option for your commute—a van picks you up where you are staying and drops you off at your next hotel. Another great choice is private transfer. You won't be waiting for anyone else and you can ask the driver to stop any time you like—and if you're traveling in a group, this might be not much more expensive than a shared shuttle.
You can also drive yourself, but the roads out of Monteverde are not for the faint of heart. There are twists and turns and narrow roads, but it's absolutely doable. One last way to traverse the route is by bus. A full-day affair, a bus is the most economical way to travel.
Check out this 7-day Costa Rica itinerary, which encompasses both Monteverde and Tamarindo.
By Private Transfer
Duration: 3.5 hours
A private transfer, while the most expensive, is the ultimate mode of transport for this trip. No worries about driving, directions, or picking up other riders. In addition, a good driver will point out interesting things along the way. Drivers are bilingual and the rates for more than a couple of passengers will rival what a shared shuttle costs.
By Shared Shuttle
Duration: 4 hours
A door-to-door shuttle is the easiest on the wallet and on your nerves. It's a reliable and safe way to travel. On trips of this length, a rest stop is included where you can get food or use the bathroom. There may be others that the driver has to pick up, which can add some time to your trip.
By Rental Car
Duration: 3.5 hours
Your drive will start heading south on route 606. In a little under an hour, you'll hit a small town called Pitahaya. If you're hungry, there is a delicious cafe with scarlet macaws in the trees and orchids everywhere. After this pit stop, turn onto Route 1. After about 20 miles (33 km), you'll continue onto route 18, which becomes Route 21. You'll be on this highway for 1.5 hours. You then take route 160 the rest of the way into Tamarindo, about another hour.
Remember, the first stretch of road is the toughest—after the first hour, the roads become much more manageable. Keep in mind that driving in Costa Rica is best done during daylight hours and using the Waze app, a navigational tool that works better in Central America than other maps.
Duration: 6-7 hours
Taking the public bus involves a 6 a.m. departure. Head towards Puntarenas, then you'll disembark and wait for a different bus toward Liberia. In Liberia, you'll switch again for the next bus going to Tamarindo.