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How to Get From Sarapiqui to Arenal and La Fortuna


Top 4 Best Ways How To Get From Sarapiquí to Arenal and La Fortuna

How To Get From Sarapiquí to Arenal and La Fortuna

Many people travel from Sarapiquí to Arenal and La Fortuna, Costa Rica annually. And you might be planning on going this route, but you’re probably not sure which means of transportation are available to make this trip, and that’s what brought you here.

Many people have come to me with this question, and I’ve helped them find the best ways to get from Sarapiquí to La Fortuna in the best way for them.

This article will discuss the four main ways to get from Sarapiquí to La Fortuna, from public buses to hiring a private car service. Let’s dive in and find out which option is best for you.

Transportation Services From Sarapiquí to Arenal and La Fortuna

  1. Public Bus: It takes 5 Hours and Costs between $15 and $50 Per Person
  2. Driving (Car Rental): It takes 3 Hours and Costs between $30 and $60 Per Person
  3. Group Shuttle: It takes 3 Hours and Costs between $60 and $70 Per Person
  4. Private Shuttle: It takes 2.5 Hours and Costs between $100 and $110 Per Person

There are four ways to get from Sarapiquí to Arenal and La Fortuna, Costa Rica. You can use public transportation, take a group or a private shuttle, or drive a rental car. Generally, the first two options are more affordable, and the latter is more convenient.

Public transportation is the cheapest way to get from Sarapiquí to Arenal and La Fortuna. On the other hand, hiring a private transportation service is the easiest and the fastest option, while driving a rental car gives you more flexibility and freedom.

Considerations:

These are estimations to give you an idea.
The above rates do not include the 13% IVA tax.
These prices assume there is a minimum of two travelers.
Renting a car consists of the base rate, insurance, and fuel.
Prices can fluctuate throughout the year based on market conditions and demand.

Now that you know the different means of transportation to get from Sarapiquí to Arenal and La Fortuna, and you have an idea of how much they cost and how long they take, let’s get into the details of what each service entails, along with their pros and cons.

1. Public Bus From Sarapiquí to Arenal and La Fortuna

The cheapest way to get from Sarapiquí to Arenal La Fortuna is to use the public transportation system. However, the trip is not straightforward because no direct bus connects these destinations. Nonetheless, this is one of the most accessible routes you can take using public transportation in Costa Rica. You must take a bus from Sarapiquí to Ciudad Quesada, then a bus from Ciudad Quesada to La Fortuna, and finally, if you’re heading to the Arenal area, then a taxi from La Fortuna to Arenal. The whole trip will take between four and five hours.

Let’s look at the step-by-step process for getting from Sarapiquí to La Fortuna by bus. Along with the instructions, I will share the links to Google Maps landmarks and bus schedules, which will be essential to make this trip.

1. First, you must get from your lodge in Sarapiquí to the Puerto Viejo de Sarapiquí Terminal. Most lodgings in Sarapiquí will not be close to this terminal, so you may need to take a taxi to get there, which depending on its location, it should take about 5-15 minutes and cost $5 to $15 approximately. However, a few lodgings, such as Hotel El Bambu and Gran Gavilan del Sarapiquí Lodge, are only a short walk from the terminal.

2. Once you arrive at Puerto Viejo de Sarapiquí Terminal, you must take a bus from Sarapiquí to Ciudad Quesada, which runs multiple times a day (you can see the schedules here), and costs about $3 per person. This bus takes about 2 hours to get to the Ciudad Quesada Terminal.

3. Once you arrive at the Ciudad Quesada Terminal, you must take the bus from Ciudad Quesada to La Fortuna (you can see the schedules here). This bus will take another two hours and cost about $3 per person to get to the La Fortuna Terminal.

4. Once you arrive at the La Fortuna Bus Terminal, you will need to walk or take a taxi to get to your destination. Some lodgings, like Selina La Fortuna, are only a short walk away from the bus terminal. However, there are other lodging options further away, and you may need to take a taxi, which should cost between $5 and $20 to get there.

Recommendations:

  • Buses and taxis will only take cash (USD or Colones). Make sure to bring enough.
  • Travel with daylight. It’s much safer; the weather is better, and so are the views.

There you have it. That’s how you get from Sarapiquí to Arenal and La Fortuna by bus. Even though the trip is relatively inexpensive and straightforward, you should consider that none of the above two buses have air conditioning, making the trip a bit hot and uncomfortable.

Additionally, you can’t purchase the tickets ahead of time and may not get a seat, so you would need to travel standing on one or both routes, which could be pretty exhausting.

Let’s explore the other ways to get from Sarapiquí to Arenal and La Fortuna.

2. The Drive From Sarapiquí to Arenal and La Fortuna

Generally, driving is the fastest way from Sarapiquí to Arenal and La Fortuna, except if you lack experience driving in Costa Rica. Otherwise, a Private Car Service (a.k.a. a Private Shuttle or Private Transfer) will be faster. However, it would be best to consider other factors and caveats before renting a car to make this trip. Let’s explore them.

Aspects to Consider Before Driving From from Sarapiquí to Arenal and La Fortuna

Driving from Sarapiquí to Arenal and La Fortuna is simple, but it’s not necessarily easy. There are crazy local drivers, unpredictable and harsh weather conditions, and narrow roads in bad shape.

Costa Ricans drive significantly faster than foreigners. In addition to this, since we know the roads, as locals, we can make risky moves that might scare someone who has never driven in our country. For example, it’s common to see local drivers going full speed, passing multiple vehicles on a relatively narrow road.

If you live in Costa Rica and have been through that route thousands of times, you will not see anything particularly wrong with this. But if you come from a developed country where the roads are much broader, and there are usually multiple lines on all the highways, you might see such a move as imprudent.

On the other hand, you have the unpredictable weather conditions of Costa Rica. You might be driving with a clear sky when suddenly a cloud forms ahead, pouring rain all over the place. Driving under changing weather conditions might not be such a big problem during the summertime from December through April, but it can get extremely challenging during the rainy season.

In Costa Rica, the rainy season is not so bad from May through August. However, it can get scary sometimes during September and October, especially if you stumble upon a storm while driving. These are the top 2 rainy months and the top months for accidents on the road.

The rain also causes a lot of damage to the roads, which worsens during the rainy season. Many potholes come to life during this time of the year, and it takes a couple of months for the government to repair the cracks.

A tourist’s main problem with potholes is that they can make a vehicle’s tire explode. Exploding tires do not usually cause many accidents in Costa Rica. However, they can easily create a trip very stressful for a tourist, who will need to phone in the car rental to get another vehicle and then file the insurance paperwork. It’s not dramatic, but it can ruin a few hours of your dream vacation time.

3. Private Shuttle From Sarapiquí to Arenal and La Fortuna

We have already explored how complicated it is to get from Sarapiquí to Arenal and La Fortuna using public transportation. We also covered how driving can be problematic, so what’s the easiest way to make this trip?

Booking a private car service is arguably the easiest way to get from Sarapiquí to Arenal and La Fortuna.

Hiring a Private Transportation Service, or a “Private Shuttle,” as locals call it, is the easiest way to get from Sarapiquí to La Fortuna. You can arrange a specific time and place with a private shuttle, and a transportation company will pick you up and take you to your lodge in La Fortuna.

Here at MonteTours Costa Rica, we offer a private door-to-door service, so you don’t need to worry about carrying your luggage or walking around the public roads, compromising your safety and belongings.

You also don’t need to worry about driving in a foreign country with roads that might differ significantly from the streets you’re used to riding back home.

Instead, you arrange the pickup time and place. Then, one of our local professional drivers will pick you up with a modern vehicle to take you from your departure place in Sarapiquí to your destination in La Fortuna.

The only disadvantage of hiring this type of transportation service is the price. Going on a private transfer is the most comfortable, convenient, and straightforward option but also pricey.

Depending on the pickup and drop-off places, a private transfer will usually cost $200 for 1 to 6 passengers. The pickup time can also influence your pricing. For example, this service might get $20+ higher if you want to travel at night. And prices for private transfers are also subject to increase as demand rises, especially during the busiest days, so I recommend booking ahead of time.

 

 

4. Group Shuttle From Sarapiqui to Arenal and La Fortuna

Getting a group shuttle from Sarapiquí to Arenal and La Fortuna is an excellent choice for solo travelers and couples. A group shuttle is a shared transportation service from Sarapiquí to Arenal and La Fortuna. A modern Van with A / C will pick you up at your Sarapiquí lodge and take you to Arenal and La Fortuna.

Generally, taking a group shuttle, or a “shared shuttle,” as the locals call it, is the most recommended door-to-door way to get from Sarapiquí to Arenal and La Fortuna for most travelers. Group shuttles are convenient and provide the best balance, saving time and money for travelers in most cases.

Here at MonteTours Costa Rica, we offer group shuttles, where you share the shuttle service with fellow travelers and the cost, making it an excellent option for solo travelers and couples. Using our group shuttle to get to La Fortuna will be far more convenient than riding the public bus and significantly less expensive than hiring a private transfer.

Using our group shuttle is also more manageable and less stressful than renting and driving. The price can change depending on the seasonality and demand, but it’s usually around $65 per person.

 

 

Here’s the end of this article. Thank you for reading this far, and feel free to share this info with fellow travelers as you deem appropriate. Happy travels and ¡Pura Vida, amigos!

About the Author

Daniel Lalinde

I am the founder of , and we will happily assist you!