Tamarindo to Santa Teresa

Overview Compare Minivan Taxi Bus To Stay

How to get from Tamarindo to Santa Teresa

Santa Teresa is a surfer’s paradise on Costa Rica’s northwest coast. Once a quiet fishing village, it exploded in popularity in the early 2000s thanks to its beautiful beaches, lush jungles, variety of wildlife, and world-class waves.

Santa Teresa is a world of its own. It is still quite detached from the rest of Costa Rica because of its unpaved roads, but you’ll find here more than enough comforts and natural luxury to keep you happy and entertained for weeks on end.

New to Santa Teresa? Our compact Santa Teresa guide shows you the best areas to stay, restaurants you don’t want to miss and many more tips for your visit to Santa Teresa!

3 ways to get from Tamarindo to Santa Teresa

Transport ModeDurationCostsAvailability
Minivan5 hours$50 (30,000 CRC)Check Minivan Tickets
Private Transfer5 hours$271 (164,000 CRC)Check Private Transfers
Bus8.5 hours$15.50 (9,000 CRC)Read article for more info

There are 3 ways you can travel the 190 km from Tamarindo to Santa Teresa: a 5-hour minivan, a 5-hour private transfer, or an 8.5-hour bus and ferry. Rates range from $15.50 (9,000 CRC) to $271 (164,000 CRC).

The minivan is our preferred ride for the Tamarindo to Santa Teresa route. It’s convenient and although it’s a shared ride, you will be picked up and dropped off at your hotels. A ticket costs $50 (30,000 CRC) for the 5-hour journey.

Travelling from Tamarindo to Santa Teresa in a group? A private transfer is a more flexible option as you can choose to depart anytime you want. Rates start from $271 (164,000 CRC) for a 4-seater minivan.

Taking public transport from Tamarindo to Santa Teresa is an adventure in itself. You will have to take 4 buses and 1 ferry, an 8.5-hour journey through paved streets, across a strait, and then through rough gravel roads. Does this sound seductive to you? If yes, then you’ll only need to spend $15.50 (9,000 CRC) for this journey.

Where to stay in Santa Teresa?

Still looking for accommodation? Don’t forget to check out our favourite places to stay in Santa Teresa at the bottom of this page.

Itinerary from Tamarindo to Santa Teresa

Tamarindo to Santa Teresa by Minivan

Duration: 5 hours
Cost: $50 (30,000 CRC)
Duration: 5 hours
Cost: $50 (30,000 CRC)

As the public bus is quite a complicated journey for the route from Tamarindo to Santa Teresa, we recommend booking a minivan instead.

The driver will pick you up from your hotel in Tamarindo, travel 5 hours going south to Santa Teresa, and then drop you off at your hotel’s doorstep in Santa Teresa.

Interbus, Tropical Tours, and Tamarindo Shuttle are the three companies offering shared rides. Note that they require at least 3 passengers on board to push through with the trip. Ticket prices from Tamarindo to Santa Teresa start from $50 (30,000 CRC).

Tamarindo Shuttle does not have a specific schedule. For the other two, you can see below:

Minivan schedule from Santa Teresa by Minivan

Minivan OperatorScheduleCosts
Interbus08:00-12:30$55 (33,000 CRC)
Check Van Tickets
Tropical Tours Shuttle09:00-14:00
$50 (30,000 CRC)
Check Van Tickets

Tropical Tours and Tamarindo Shuttle can be booked via their respective websites. With Interbus, you can buy your tickets online via BookAway, our preferred booking website for its excellent customer service.

Tamarindo to Santa Teresa by Private Transfer

Duration: 5 hours
Cost: from $271 (164,000 CRC)
Duration: 5 hours
Cost: from $271 (164,000 CRC)

If you’re travelling in a small group, you can also consider taking a private transfer. It’s quite expensive, but you can enjoy the comfort of your own private ride for the 5-hour journey.

Rates start from $271 (164,000 CRC) for a vehicle that can fit four people.

Check Private Transfers with BookAway

Tamarindo to Santa Teresa Bus + Ferry

Duration: 8.5 hours
Cost: [15.50 USD]
Duration: 8.5 hours
Cost: [15.50 USD]

Taking a bus and ferry from Tamarindo to Santa Teresa is nowhere near as convenient as the other options. But it’s a cheap alternative for the adventurous at heart.

The unfavourable road conditions between these two towns don’t allow for buses to operate directly. Instead, you’ll have to go all the way to Liberia and Puntarenas by land, hop on a ferry back to the Nicoya Peninsula (Paquera), and then travel by land again to Cobano and finally, Santa Teresa. A total of 4 buses and 1 ferry!

If you still want to push through with this option, you need to leave Tamarindo early. Or else we can’t guarantee that you’ll arrive in Santa Teresa on the same day.

PRO TIP: As you’ll be taking a lot of buses, we strongly urge you to be mindful of your luggage. Make sure your bigger bags are inside the luggage compartment before boarding each bus and don’t forget to get your luggage ticket. As for your smaller bags, try to put them in front of you (or between your legs) instead of the overhead bin.

Step 1: Tamarindo to Liberia by Bus

Duration: 1.5 hours
Cost: $3 (2,000 CRC)
Duration: 1.5 hours
Cost: $3 (2,000 CRC)

From Tamarindo, you’ll have to travel 80 km northeast to reach Liberia. You should be able to get a La Pampa bus every hour from 03:30 to 17:00 daily.

A ticket costs around $3 (2,000 CRC) and travel time is 1.5 hours.

Step 2: Liberia to Puntarenas by Bus

Duration: 3.5 hours
Cost: $5 (3,000 CRC)
Duration: 3.5 hours
Cost: $5 (3,000 CRC)

Upon arrival at the bus station in Liberia, we recommend asking around for the buses bound for Puntarenas. Simply say “Puntarenas” if you can’t speak in Spanish.

They should be available in the same station. But in some cases, you might be pointed to Pulmitan Bus Station just down the block.

From Liberia, you’ll then have to travel southeast to Puntarenas for around 3.5 hours. Buses depart almost every hour from 05:00 to 15:30.

You can buy a ticket for $5 (3,000 CRC). Buses park at Puntarenas Bus Stop, located 2 km east of Puntarenas Port.

Step 3: Puntarenas to Paquera by Ferry

Duration: 1hr 10m
Cost: $1.30 (1,000 CRC)
Duration: 1hr 10m
Cost: $1.30 (1,000 CRC)

From the bus terminal in Puntarenas, you can take a 5-minute taxi ride to Naviera Tambor Ferry Port. That should cost around $5 (3,000 CRC).

At the port, hop on a ferry bound for Paquera. A ticket costs $1.30 (1,000 CRC) per person. You can easily buy a ticket at the port, but you can also buy one beforehand on quickpaycr.

Travel time is a little over an hour.

Ferry schedule from Puntarenas to Paquera

Ferry OperatorScheduleCosts
Puntarenas-Paquera Ferry07:00-08:30
$5 (3,000 CRC)
Check Ferry Tickets

Step 4: Paquera to Cobano by Bus

Duration: 1.5 hours
Cost: $3 (2,000 CRC)
Duration: 1.5 hours
Cost: $3 (2,000 CRC)

Buses are usually available in Paquera in time for ferry arrivals. Take one bound for Cobano, located 40 km southwest.

From Paquera onwards, expect some rough roads. It’s really scenic though, probably enough to take your mind off the bumpy ride.

The journey should take 1.5 hours. You can buy a ticket from the driver for $3 (2,000 CRC).

Step 5: Cobano to Santa Teresa by Bus

Duration: 50 minutes
Cost: $3 (2,000 CRC)
Duration: 50 minutes
Cost: $3 (2,000 CRC)

At the same bus station you arrive in Cobano, you can finally take a bus bound for Santa Teresa.

Also here, you can just buy your ticket from the driver. That should cost around $3 (2,000 CRC). Travel time is 50 minutes.


Our favourite places to stay in Santa Teresa

La Posada - Mid-Range

Santa Teresa is a place for connections, and La Posada is the place to do that. It’s inevitable that you’ll meet some amazing people here. Whether it’s whilst swimming in the pool, having a game of snooker, or just making the most of the chill out spaces.

If you need some privacy, don’t worry, the hostel also has lovely private rooms.

  • Outdoor swimming pool
  • Sociable atmosphere
  • Great location
  • Including breakfast

Double rooms between $50-$80 per night

Read More


Salty Enthusiasts Share House & Villas - Budget Friendly

It’s not easy to find budget-friendly accommodation in Santa Teresa, especially somewhere that’s actually nice to stay in. Salty Enthusiasts won’t break the bank, yet it’s still a beautiful place to stay.

The hotel feels like a large treehouse, meant for relaxing and providing comfort. You can opt for either a dorm bed or a private room. Both are super clean, comfortable and thoughtfully designed.

It’s a great place to meet other people too. They have lots of communal areas to chill out, and a shared kitchen.

  • Close to the beach
  • Sociable atmosphere
  • Choice of dorm or private room
  • Shared kitchen

Double rooms between $15-$50 per night

Read More


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