Car Drop Off and Pick Up Points
Car Drop off and Pick up Destinations
Costa Rica is served by several small national airports and waterways, as well as its road infrastructure. Visitors can either leave their rental vehicles in secure lots or arrange for delivery and/or pick up to facilitate car rental and travel. See the details below:
Tortuguero is famous for its chance to see turtles nesting and exploring wildlife through its mangrove canals by canoe or kayak.
There are two entry/exit points depending on your next adventure.
La Pavona is the closest boat dock to San Jose at 105 km (3 hours) or from the Arenal/La Fortuna area. After a scenic drive through Brauillo Carillo National Forest you descend into Guapiles then head north east to reach Cariari. You must make it there by 3:30pm to catch the last boat so if you are any later its best to stay in Cariari. From Cariari, head to the boat dock at La Pavona, also known as Rancho El Rio Suerte(49.4km from the Santa Clara Gas Station.)
There is a secure lot for $10 a day with 24-hour security. Pick up a bite to eat at the restaurant and buy your boat ticket for the last leg of your journey. Look for a sign that says “boletos” to purchase your ticket. There are two boat companies, Clic Clic and Coopetraca and your ticket can be used for either company. Boats leave at 7:30am, 11am, 1:30pm and 4:30pm. If water levels are normal the trip is about 1hour and 15 minutes but in the drier months it can take up to 2 hours with the lower water levels.
Moin is another popular launching point for those traveling to Tortuguero from the Caribbean Coast just west outside Limon about 7 km. Take exit off Route 32 going toward Moin the road leads through an industrial area and goes under a railroad bridge. Turn left after the railroad bridge and keep straight. Passing the main road on your left. And turn left on a gravel road leading to a warehouse-like building and pass through the gate to access the boat docks.
There is secure parking at $10 a day with 24-hour security guards in a closed chain link compound. Boats leave from Moin to Tortuguero for the 4-hour trip at 10am every day.
The fastest option is of course to fly on a small plane leaving from San Jose or Limon airports to Tortuguero Airport. The flight is an experience as you fly at low levels enjoying incredible views of the landscape below. Sansa offers daily flights for the 30-60 minute journey.
If you would like a car waiting for you at any of theses locations on your return trip from Tortuguero there are several car rental companies available directly in each location or you can have another agency deliver it to you. In Guapiles: Economy Car Rental, Thrifty, Sixt. In Limon (Moin): Adobe, National.
Limon Airport is also the landing point for visiting the South Caribbean known for its relaxed Jamaican influence in culture, music and cuisine. Popular for its beautiful white and black sand beaches lined with palm and almond trees and abundance of wildlife. Cahuita National Park has 4km of trails all alongside a white sand beach and sloths, howler and white-faced monkeys living its jungle canopy. Puerto Viejo has many international restaurants, cafés and bars and further south the beaches of Cocles, Punta and the National Reserve in Manzanillo. You can arrange a drop off/ or pickup from Adobe which has offices in Puerto Viejo and Limon. National and Alamo also have offices here, or arrange for a delivery by another car rental agency.
Drake Bay is a popular location for those travelers who really want to disconnect from their hectic lives to enjoy a mix of beach relaxation and adventure activities. It lies in a protected hamlet in the Osa Peninsula and is best accessed by plane or boat.
If you are driving from San Jose, you can leave your car in Sierpe and park in the secure lot near the dock. From there just take one of the taxi boats into Drake Bay. The hour long trip ($15-$20) travels down the Sierpe River through mangroves and out to sea before it arrives to the coastline of Drake Bay. The adventure starts here as most taxis stop just short of the shore and you will need to walk in ankle to knee-deep water to reach the shore.
The drive from San Jose to Sierpe is about 4 ½ hours (280 km). Take Transversal 24 and Avenue 2 to Calle 42/Hungria Libre and follow route Pacifica Hernandez Oreamuno to Route 34 /Costanera del Palmar Sur. Take route 223 to Sierpe.
From Liberia head to San Jose and follow the directions to Sierpe: Route 1 and Carr Pacifica Fernandez/Oreamuno/Costanera Sur/Route 34. The drive is 5 ½ hours(367km)
For drop off/pick ups in Sierpe there are several nearby agencies to contact. In Uvita: National and Hertz, in Dominical: Alamo, or ask a car rental agency to deliver.
If you choose to fly you will land in Palmar Sur and hop in a taxi to Sierpe for a taxi boat. Hertz has an office here if you need a car for the next leg of your journey, or a delivery can be organised from another car rental agency.
Golfito located in the South Pacific was founded by the United Fruit Company as a banana plantation but suffered a depression when the company left the area. It is now best known for its duty-free shopping, beaches like Playa Zancudo, the surfing paradise of Las Pavones and wildlife reserves. The easiest access is by small plane. Nature Air and Sansa both offer daily flights to Puerto Jimenez which also makes an excellent base camp to explore the attractions in the region like Corcovado National Park. For car rentals, Alamo has an office in the area or car rental agencies can deliver for a fee. They also offer flights to Golfito Airport.
Manuel Antonio is one of Costa Rica’s most popular destinations both for its white sand beaches and watersports activities such as surfing, stand up paddle boarding, snorkeling and the National Park which is home to Howler, Spider and White-Faced monkeys. Iguanas and sloths are a common sight if hiking the trails, and large, green iguanas can be seen sunning themselves on the beaches. The trails are well maintained making the park and its beaches accessible for visitors.
If flying to this destination you will most likely land in Quepos La Managua Airport. Budget has an office inside the airport, but National, Adobe and Economy also have offices in Quepos. Other car rental agencies can arrange delivery for a fee.
La Fortuna/Arenal area is known for the Arenal Volcano and its therapeutic hot springs. The volcano’s last big eruption was in 1948 and its activity was intense until 2010. These days, the region remains popular for its natural beauty and the range of activities available. Once a very active volcano, the main crater still spews forth steam and vapor on occasions. The town La Fortuna has a plethora of international restaurants and tour companies to help you plan your next adventure. Canopy, rafting, canyoning, horseback riding to waterfalls the fun never stops in this popular destination.
The La Fortuna/Arenal Airport is 2km from La Fortuna. Adobe, Alamo and National. Other car rental agencies can arrange delivery for a fee.
The Tambor Airport services the areas of Mal Pais, Montezuma, Santa Teresa and Cabo Blanco in the Nicoya Peninsula. The town of Tambor itself and the surrounding area were all once small fishing villages but now tourism has become the main business of these areas.
To rent a car, Budget has an office in Ballena Bay 4 km from the airport or have a vehicle delivered for a fee from another agency. The beach at Tambor is easily accessed by car and is a haven for swimmers due to its protected crescent shaped bay that keeps waters calm. The area is also well known by birdwatchers and has introduced a successful breeding program for Scarlet Macaws. Snorkelers and divers head to the white sand beaches of Isla Tortuga said to be the best in the Nicoya Peninsula. A 15 kilometer drive on mostly paved roads is Montezuma, a bohemian haven popular with cost conscious travelers and those interested in an alternative lifestyle. They host an eclectic market on Saturdays complete with live music. Visitor’s enjoy something for everyone here; beautiful beaches abound, waterfalls, horseback riding, and canopy and nearby nature reserves give visitors plenty of adventure and relaxation.
Both Santa Teresa and Mal Pais attract a young and surfing crowd. Both areas boast jungle lined white sand beaches with waves for both the novice and expert. Surfing is the main occupation in Santa Teresa by day and at night you can choose between live music or DJs to dance the night away. For a quieter vibe, head further down to Mal Pais. It is characterized by a rocky coastline and laid back small town feel. Activities include boat or SUP tours, fishing for the likes of red snapper and mackerel, a chance to see dolphins, sea turtles, and whales in Cabo Blanco.
Tamarindo is a popular tourist town with an exciting nightlife, international restaurants and many bars and discos. The town grew up around its surf culture and its waves still pull surfers here today. The grey volcanic sand beach is long and lined by palm trees with clear waters for swimming.
Nearby Playa Grande forms part of the Marino Las Baulas National Park which was established in 1990. It’s an important nesting ground for Leather Back turtles between October and May when beach access is restricted for their protection. The long beach has picture perfect white sands leading down from the surrounding forest and mangrove swamps.
After flying into Tamarindo, head to Budget, Economy and Thrifty which all have offices near the airport or arrange for vehicle delivery from another car rental agency.
Nosara was named one of the best top 20 surf cities in the world by National Geographic and its no wonder this village in Guanacaste has become steadily more popular every year. It is known for consistently surfable waves all year round which bring novices and experts alike, however, the largest swell is between November and August. There are a wide range of schools ready to help you catch that first wave. Nosara has many other activities as well. Yoga, ziplining, paddling through mangroves, or sport fishing are also popular activities.
Fly in to Nosara Airport and book your rental from Toyota Rent a Car, National, Economy or arrange for vehicle delivery from another agency to explore the area.
The list is not exhaustive but we hope that your itinerary planning is easier with this guide to pickup and dropoff nationwide.