driver guide and Toyota Hiace
On a recent Day trip your driver/guide Erick
boat billed heron
Ask us how to find these - so pretty!
Poas volcano animated
Poas Volcano (with La Paz Gardens) - great day trip by van or car
Poas volcano animated
Guide with a family group
bailing out log canoe from bribri to yorkin
Your guide can stay with you if you prefer
crossing Rio Drake near Drake Bay
We had some gaffy advice while checking out this
route - it was "interesting" our friend had told us, that's Nhi
checking the Rio Drake
hawk osa peninsula costa rica
Naturalist guides with trained eyes
on road to the Osa
lankester gardens
Lankester Gardens for your 2nd trip here
El Sol Nuestro monteverde cabin
Your view at the end of a trek to
El Sol Monteverde
national geographic in costa rica
Nat Geo loves the place
- so do our centipedes
alternative transport costa rica
Let us know if you have special vehicle needs :-))
arenal road from sjo airport
Real time GPS data
that day on the road to Arenal
sierpe kayak
Kayaking with Jorge
in the Sierpe Rio - marvelous day!

Day trips around the hotel or transfers/tours to your next hotel?

Don't want to drive? Let our guides take care of your day, leave the driving to us. Day trips, transfers, day tours to your next destination or multi day tours.  All our driver/guides are English speaking intelligent life forms.

Quotes from TripAdvisor travelers:

  • "(the Pura Vida Hotel) arranged transportation for us to Cahuita which included not only a terrific driver (Sammy) in a new van, but an incredibly knowledgeable naturalist guide (Eduardo) who took us birding in Tirimbina Rainforest Center and Wildlife Refuge . . . . it's the best way to relocate within the country." Bob, Tennessee  (detail review click here)
  • "trips with professional driver/guides. A great way to travel in CR", Todd, Okanogan
  • "he is well-versed on all things Costa Rican--history, food, plants, etc. He has an excellent sense of humor and it soon felt like we were driving around Costa Rica with an old friend.", Dosestrellas, N. Carolina
  • "We had a 5 day custom trip through Costa Rica and Panama. . . with great knowledge of local wildlife. Our guide made it a relaxed and very enjoyable trip.", Tom, London
  • "He did an excellent job as our driver, guide and interpreter!! Or to use the Costa Rican phrase, it was Pura Vida.", John, Duluth


Prices per van up to 5 persons with luggage.  Pay your driver/guide in cash only.  Add $24 for each extra person after 5 persons.  Extra charge may be incurred for trips over 8 hours. 

If your trip includes a national park entrance you will need to buy your own tickets at the National Parks SINAC web site ahead of your trip (leave extra time as this is one baroque/deranged web site and needs all visitors passport numbers).

Also available 24 passenger bus, lower rates on English speaking taxi and any weird and wonderful transportation needs you may come up with:

  • Arenal (from the Pura Vida) direct transfer $200
  • Arenal (from the Pura Vida) scenic route via Poas Volcano OR La Paz Waterfall Gdns, Aguas Zarcas and the Iguanas of Muelle - $280
  • Arenal to central Nicoya beaches (guide starts from SJO) $320
  • Arenal to Guanacaste beaches (guide starts from SJO) $320
  • Arenal to Manuel Antonio (guide starts from SJO) $330
  • Arenal to Monteverde (guide starts from SJO) $280
  • Caldera/Puntarenas Coffee & Artisans Day Tour to your cruise ship $260
  • Caribbean Southern incl. Cahuita/Puerto Viejo/Manzanillo transfer $325
  • Central Valley day trip $200 we build it for you - for example Sarchi, Grecia, Naranjo, Palmares
  • Central Valley 1/2 day trip $115  (about 4 hours)
  • Dominical/Uvita transfer $300
  • Drake Bay Almost (not really - but a ride to the Drake Bay boat at Sierpe) transfer $380
  • El Toledo Coffee, Lunch with auntie, Elsie Kintzler Gardens/Sarchi - $200
  • Irazu volcano/Ujarras ruins/Casona de Cafetal/Basilica/Orosi Valley day trip $280 - takes 8 to 10 hours (guests favorite day trip)
  • Jaco/Caldera/Puntarenas transfer $170
  • La Paz Waterfall Gardens 1/2 day trip $120
  • Manuel Antonio transfer $200 or scenic stop-offs $260
  • Monteverde to Manuel Antonio (guide starts from SJO) $280
  • Monteverde from the Pura Vida transfer $215
  • Montezuma, Santa Teresa, Malpais - $350 includes our van ferry both ways
  • Nosara transfer $330
  • Puerto Viejo and Southern Caribbean (from the Pura Vida) $325
  • Poas Volcano $115 -½ day trip
  • Poas Volcano, La Paz Waterfall Gardens $180 day round trip
  • Puerto Jimenez transfer $430
  • Rincon de la Vieja transfer $300
  • San Jose - museums, shopping, Namu Gallery etc $180 day trip
  • San Gerardo transfer $200
  • Sarchi shopping/ Grecia/ Naranjo/ Zarcero topiary day trip $200
  • Samara/Coco/Tamarindo/Flamingo/Northern Guanacaste transfer etc $330
  • Sierpe (and boat trip to Drake Bay) transfer $445
  • Tamarindo/Flamingo/Northern Guanacaste transfer etc $330
  • Tortuguero (to Cariari and boat) transfer $230
  • Two Volcanoes Tour - Turialba and Irazu by 4WD with guide - ask for quote but about $280 (amazing day trip if 100% clear day)
  • Uvita/Dominical  $300 - a run to the Costa Ballena


  • No Idea?  Email or call  - we know where we are going :-))

Entrance fees are not included and you pay your guide in cash at the end of the day.


  • just add $40 to any "TRANSFERS" above and spend a more leisurely day at some of our favorite and sometimes secret spots along the way to your destination


  • $210/day double plus $10 per person extra - anywhere in the country, minimum 4 days includes guide lodging
  • or take a 1 week tour we work out together

Click on BOOK NOW or CONTACT US on the menu or just email or phone us if you have ANY questions about traveling in Costa Rica.


This is the most common question.

Some people however will not drive in a country without good signs and little respect for rules of the road - then you should hire a driver/guide for a transfer or for a tour once at your destination. We drive all over the country frequently and do not have a problem with crummy signage.

For 2 or 3 people it will be economical to take a private bus/shuttle service to your destination with someone like Interbus (who we also recommend as reliable). With 4 or more people the private driver guide will be the same price or cheaper. You also get your own personal naturalist English-speaking guide to take you into local places only he knows. Just be aware you'll probably eat into any car rental cost savings with taxis and you'll miss out on some places difficult to get to at your destination.

The best place to start your tour of the natural wonders of Costa Rica is right here at the Pura Vida Hotel. Pura Vida is just 4 KM from the main International airport at San Jose (SJO). It is in the central valley but without the convolutions of the nearby capital of San Jose. This makes it the ideal location to take any number of day trips to San Jose, to places like Irazu and Poas volcanoes, to shopping in Sarchi or maybe a visit to Tortuguero National Park.

There are as many ways to explore Costa Rica. Whatever you experience, it is guaranteed to be more fascinating than sitting prone at some SuperMegoResort with thousands of people you'd never hang with sucking on weird curly straws stuck in some lime green liquid listening to a Norwegian techno rendition of Richard Clayderman doing "My Way".

That BTW is preferable to being invited to a 2 hour Katy Perry concert e.g. "Be your teenage dream tonight,tonight, tonight, tonight, tonight, tonight, tonight".  But um each to their own - I suppose you could be consigned to a prison cell for 20 years with a large furry Russian commando?

We think a great way to start your first experience of Costa Rica is with a Tico naturalist guide - make that your first day learning abit about the culture and vibe from a real Costa Rican while taking in the natural wonders of the neo-tropics.


For Transfers and Tours to a destination like Arenal or Nosara for example - the Interbus (which we do recommend) will cost more than a private van usually with 4 or more persons so that decision is easy if you have a little group. Our vans will take you on your own route or one we like or recommend. As we start the trip we will discuss with you what kinds of things you are interested in or want to digress to along the route. Bottom line: a private van is cheaper if you have 4 people.


Car rentals are not cheap in Costa Rica - but with our roads, the costs of taxis at your destination locations, the amount of time it takes to get anywhere AND the beauty of our country, car rentals are a great way to go. Some people discover the money they saved on a shuttle to the beach destination was eaten up in taxi rides or just made the trip a little less interesting as they could not visit certain very interesting places. But there are some who won't drive at all so a private van or shuttle like Interbus works well.  If you need help with this decision just call us.  Be aware I am horribly biased as I enjoy driving all over Costa Rica.


Rent a car for a few days or just order up your personal naturalist driver/guide for the day and you can make your own day trips. Our day trips web page has a long list of things to do in this area.


You can take an organized tour with a professional and experienced guide in a bus or a boat or on foot or in a plane to almost anywhere at reasonable prices. Organized tours last from 1 day up to a week and can be arranged with as little as a few hours notice. But for the "good guides" book ahead. Of course so-called guides who can't speak English and show up in a "beater Lada" can be found in minutes. You do have choices eh?

Let us know if you need a little help with getting yourself organized or you have questions about certain destinations you are considering. You will find a whole bunch of ideas on our travel blog - for example here's a list of some of our guests fave places to visit in Costa Rica (compiled by guests).


Email away . . . we'll try! We try to get out once a month somewhere in Costa Rica and learn what there is to see and do first hand. So we may have been on that trail you are thinking is impassable?


Yes, yes we do own a GPS but do not particularly like 'em - we just get lost and stop a minute or two to ask directions or get acquainted with the neighborhood.  WE do recommend you learn how to use WAZE on your smart pod before coming here.  If you have an open unlocked GSM quad band phone you can pick up a chip at the airport terminal baggage claim on arrival as WAZE works best with a cell signal.

Truth is many guests with them come back saying they could not have made it without one. Although they often marvel at how you do any of this in a country with no road names. It is actually part of the joy of Costa Rica to get lost occasionally and meet the locals.

If you decide not to rent a GPS we have the most excellent Toucan map for sale in the hotel. That and a cheesy compass gets you anywhere.

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