Getting Here By Air By Bus By Car By Shuttle From Montezuma
The town of Montezuma is located on the gulf side of the southern most tip of the Nicoya Peninsula about 10km north of Cabo Blanco Nature Reserve. In Costa Rica addresses combine landmarks with distances. Our physical address is: Mariposario Montezuma Gardens, Montezuma, Costa Rica. The area is relatively remote, but there are a variety of ways to get here. From the San Jose airport your multitude of choices depends only upon budget and time constraints. A GPS travel map may be useful.
Traveling in Costa Rica can be a most pleasant as well as challenging experience. While distances are not great, please factor in mode of transportation, weather, road, and traffic conditions to determine length of travel time. The very essence of tico charm is the notion that time is unimportant. Nothing moves quickly in this country so sit back, relax, and enjoy the scenery as you go.
To really appreciate the area we highly recommend negotiating the peninsula via a 4-wheel drive vehicle (or ATV rental once you reach us). To accommodate your travel plans there are many rental agencies at the San Jose airport. However, only specific companies will arrange car rentals and drop-offs at Tambor, Montezuma’s nearest air strip. (Budget offers a lower price.
Try www.costarica-beachrentals.com/budget4x4.htm or google “car rentals Costa Rica”). Rental car insurance can be confusing. Regardless of personal policies and coverage via credit cards, there is a government mandated liability insurance. This insures against damage to other people, their cars and property, but does not cover damage to the rental car. Supplemental policies specific to the rental car can be purchased for an additional price. These policies will offer reduced to zero liability and protect against a myriad of situations. (accidents, vandalism, theft, damage from road conditions etc.) Prior to leaving home contact your private insurance carrier and/or credit card company to thoroughly understand the personal coverage you already own. Call us if you need help making arrangements.
SANSA Air (www.flysansa.com) and Nature Air (www.natureair.com) are the domestic airlines that offer daily flights from San Jose to Tambour. The trip is a beautiful half hour flight across the Gulf of Nicoya with an impressive landing over the beach on the tambor air strip. A one-way ticket costs anwhere from $75 to $105 US (including all taxes and fees) depending upon the season and/or current promotions. Additional costs are levied for any overweight baggage, surfboards, or other oversized sports equipment. Check the above websites for additonal info on baggage allowances and fees.
From Tambor it is a half hour cab/car ride to Montezuma.
There are always taxis awaiting the arrivals to the Tambor airport, but sometimes not as many as needed. Taxis are marked with a yellow triangle taxi stamp. The ride to the Mariposario Montezuma Gardens takes approximately 30 minutes and costs around $35 US or around 18,000 colones. If we know you are coming we can insure a taxi will be waiting for you. Again let us know if you need help with any travel arrangements.
The bus system in Costa Rica is widely used by travelers and locals alike. There are many local and commuter options. We recommend the direct bus service from San Jose to Montezuma. Transportes Rodriguez, the bus company that runs the direct service leaves from the new 7-10 terminal (see map here) twice daily. Departure times are tied to the ferry schedule (which changes seasonally) because the bus actually boards the ferry. Common departure times leaving from San Jose are 6am and 2pm daily. You can contact us for current schedules. The direct bus costs 6800 colones (about $13 US). Your belongings are safe as the driver locks all luggage below the bus. He will give you a claim ticket for your bags that you have to present when you take your bags off the bus. In San Jose, you will purchase your ticket at the ticket window on the 3rd floor of the new 7-10 terminal. After you buy your ticket, you will have to go down to the first floor to the general bus embarkation area, where there will be a line for the Montezuma/Santa Teresa bus (Important: the terminal employees will also call out the bus as the Cobano bus) When you board the bus, the driver will give you a paper, keep this as it is your proof to reboard the bus after the ferry. The trip takes about 6 hours from San Jose to Montezuma. In Puntarenas you must get off the bus to board the ferry, and you will have to disembark and purchase your ferry ticket for 810 colones (about $1.35). Keep following the bus crowd onto the ferry for a beautiful one hour ferry ride. The ferries have an air-conditioned passenger deck complete with snack shop and restrooms, as well as a large outside viewing area. Alcoholic beverages can be purchased on board. Upon crossing the gulf, you will disembark in Paquera. Follow the passengers to the other side of the ferry terminal to re-board the original bus (remember to have your original ticket in your hand) and continue the journey to Cobano. In Cobano all passengers going to Montezuma will switch to a microbus. The microbus takes you the final 20 minutes to downtown Montezuma. Once you are in Montezuma, you will want to take a taxi to El Mariposario. Taxi’s can be found either at the bus stop, or at the T intersection in front of Chico’s bar. Both official and pirate taxi’s charge 2000 colones for the trip up the hill to us. If you would like to know a bit more about the 7-10 terminal, check out our blog entry here:
If you are traveling to us by another bus route, almost all routes use the Ferry from Puntarenas to Paquera. Unless you have your own car, do not get on the ferry to Playa Naranjo, as it is about a 2 hour drive from Playa Naranjo on a very rough road to Paquera, and there are no buses available. Even if you do have a car, if you miss the Paquera ferry, it is usually quicker to just wait for the next ferry, as opposed to going to Playa Naranjo and driving the extra distance. Ferry times change seasonally, and can change often. The ferry system has a website that they keep up to date for the current times, which you can see here. There is an automated departure time phone line you can call in country: 2661-2084 and press 4 to get to the departure time listing.
First step purchase a good map! The free maps offered by the rental agencies are notoriously lacking in information. While our butterfly garden is too new to be listed on their map, the Toucan Guides waterproof map of Costa Rica (ISBN # 0-9763733-0-0 available at Amazon.com) appears to offer a lot of good information. It includes a road map of the country, as well as a street map of San Jose. However, browse your local book store to find a map to your liking.
From the airport turn right and follow the signs heading towards San Jose. Continue on this road. As you enter San Jose you will see signs for Escazu. Follow the signs for Escazu and eventually you will make a right hand turn. Just continue on this highway(about a 1 1/2 hour drive) and never turn off until you see the sign for Puntarenas. You will pass through at least 5 different toll booths with a total cost of about 2,500 colones or about $5. (Each toll is approximately 400-450 colones. There are exact change lines as well as booths with attendants who will make change if needed.)
When you see the sign for Robles you are about 2 km from the exit to Putarenus. Next you will see a sign that says San Jose Liberia and the exit for Puntarenas is right there on the right hand side, but you can’t see it because there is a huge tree branch blocking the sign. (This tree branch has been blocking the view of the Puntarenas exit for trhe past several years. Think of it as an experience of cultural differences.) Bottom line: when you see the sign for San Jose /Liberia which has a straight ahead arrow, you will need to turn right at that sign to get onto the road for Puntarenas. When you actually make this right hand turn you will then be able to see the exit sign for Puntarenas. If you blow past the exit don’t worry. Just up the road is a Shell station and a Maxi Bodega(Walmart) where you can fill up, buy refreshments and turn around. Coming back, the exit for Puntarenas is clearly marked.
Drive all the way to the end of Puntarenas and get in the line for the ferry to Paquera. The ferry official will give you a slip of paper to purchase a car ferry ticket. The ticket office is right there on the street opposite the ferries. A car ticket for the Paquera ferry costs 11,400 colones (about $24 US). All passengers must buy their tickets including the driver. Go to the ticket office and purchase individual ferry tickets for 810 colones (about a $1.60 US). The ferry ride is approximately one hour. (See the above “By Bus” section for ferry details.) From Paquera, follow the signs to Cobono (34 km). When you reach the main cross roads of Cobono (the bank is on the left corner), turn left and follow the sign to Montezuma (7 km).
From the center of town, go south along the coast towards Cabuya. Once you cross the bridge over the Montezuma River, you will see a parking lot on the right. This marks the trailhead to the lower waterfalls. Just past the parking lot is a road to the right that goes up the hill. Take this road. We are the second house on the right, one hill up from the base of the canopy tour.
There are microbus tour companies that will do direct hotel to hotel transfers from San Jose (or any major town) to our B&B. Depending on the point of origin, transfers cost approximately $40 per person. Advantages of the microbus shuttle are twofold. The door to door service provides the convenience of traveling by car without having to do your own navigation, and unlike the airlines, there is no weight allowance for baggage. However, unlike the direct bus, the microbus does not board the ferry. Consequently, be prepared to unload your baggage onto the ferry then transfer to the second microbus at the Paquera ferry terminal to resume your trip to our doorstep. Reservations for shuttles must be made in advance. Contact us for assistance to reserve your microbus shuttle.
However You Decide To Travel
Bear in mind that unlike home the prices, departure times, and/or conditions may change. Never make assumptions. Check in with the locals for the latest updates, take a deep breath, and enjoy traveling in “tico time”!!