At the SJO Airport:
Most of the corporate preferred hotels provide complimentary airport shuttle. Prior to your arrival, contact the hotel directly to request shuttle services.
If you prefer to take a taxi, walk past the rental car desks, through the doors, to exit the airport. A doorman will ask you if you require a cab and escort you to the left towards the taxi desk. You will be required to pay for the taxi in advance according to your destination. The driver will take the ticket stub from you and escort you to the cab. It will be a red-orange cab (airport taxi). Approximate travel time from the airport to the Marriott Costa Rica or Melia Cariari hotels is 10-15 minutes. Courtyard Marriott is 15-20 minutes depending on traffic.
If you have booked a rental car, you will find the counters right after customs, before leaving the building.
Ground Transportation in Costa Rica:
1. Costa Rican taxis are inexpensive, and most taxi drivers are honest, though there are exceptions. By law, they should use a meter (maria) for trips around town, but many don’t. In this case, don’t take the taxi unless you negotiate a reasonable fare before leaving. Many try to charge a surcharge for waiting outside hotels – this is illegal and you should refuse to pay.
2. Be prepared to speak Spanish or have your destination written in Spanish as most do not speak English.
3. Regular taxis (those with government issued permits) are red and have a yellow triangle on both sides of the car with their license number. It is a good habit to remember this number just in case you forget something in the car. These taxis have a tax-meter. Make sure it is turned on and they charge you the amount showing.
4. Some hotels allow certain taxis to be stationed in front of their place. Normally these taxis are in better shape but they will not use the meter because they will charge you a higher rate for the lost time waiting at the hotel. Make sure to ask them for the rate before you start your journey or you may end up paying an extra amount at the end.
5. If a car looks exactly like a cab but does not have a yellow triangle, it is a private person working illegally as a cab driver. They are called “piratas” (pirates) and since there is a limited supply of taxis (especially when it rains), there are a lot of “piratas.” Do not use use these taxis – many of them have little or no insurance, do not have tax-meters, and may charge you way too much.
6. Taxis in rural areas work differently. They usually have a standard price ($1-2) for any trip within their community. If you go further, the price depends not only on the distance, but also on the road conditions.