Starting from San José, it's an easy nonstop flight to get to Tamarindo. In a short fifty minutes, you'll have left behind a crowded capital city for a laid-back beach town at the northern tip of the Nicoya Peninsula. Flights operate on a daily basis and typically more frequently during high season.

If you'd rather have a more scenic way of getting to the Peninsula, consider a private transfer. It's a four-hour drive over 160 miles (258 km) of paved highways and toll roads. Though Costa Rica is notorious for its bumpy back roads, especially in the more remote areas, this combination of Route 27/Route 18/Route 21 is mostly smooth travel.

Visitors to Tamarindo find it full of things to do when it comes to outdoor activities, resorts, shopping, and of course incredible restaurants. For dining out, use this helpful guide to come up with a few places while you're there.

By Plane

Duration: 1-2 hours

Since you'll be flying from San José's major airport, Juan Santamaria International, it'll be easy to book a flight over to Tamarindo. It's one of the bigger and more popular towns on the Peninsula so domestic and charter flights run often. Be sure to check the airlines' website during peak travel months to ensure accurate, up-to-date schedules. Total flying time is less than an hour and you'll land at Tamarindo Airport. It's only a few minutes outside of town so a quick cab ride will get you where you need to go from there.

By Private Transfer

Duration: 4-5 hours, more with stops

If you're not in a hurry, seeing the countryside of Costa Rica, by car, is the best option. Out of San José, there's really only one way to get to Tamarindo if you want to stay on major routes with good signage and road conditions. You'll take a combination of roads, Routes 27, 18, and 21 to name a few, but your driver will know the best way to get there.

Traveling this way also means you'll have the ability to create your own customized itinerary. For instance, you'll pass several national parks on this drive. If you're into hiking, biking, or swimming with waterfalls, consider detouring into one of the wilderness areas as an added attraction.

By Tourist Bus

Duration: 4-5 hours

After a private car, a tourist bus is the next best means of transportation and your drive should be about the same length. To avoid long travel times, check with the company first to ensure it's a nonstop schedule. Some lines may have pickups in other towns along their route. Most companies offer comfortable seats and air-conditioning.


Map of How to Get from San José to Tamarindo
Map of How to Get from San José to Tamarindo