Before you actually discover and get used to the means of transport that are available in Costa Rica, here is an overview of the transport system.
If you are moving to Costa Rica, you will definitely have to move from one place to another during your stay. So whether you are retiring in the country, or you are going to work, you can choose among several means of transport, namely buses, taxis, cars, etc. Indeed, these are part of the local landscape and of the population's lifestyle. Make sure to choose the most appropriate means of transport according to your needs and budget.
Good to know:
Costa Rica remains one of Latin America's richest countries, despite its rather basic transport network compared to other countries. But you are likely to find vehicles that are well maintained. Moreover, local authorities are determined to ensure the safety or locals and foreigners on the road.
Most of the country, especially the major places of interest, is covered by a wide bus network. Moreover, you can choose between two types of buses: the directo and the colectivo. In general the directivo will transport you from one place to another with a very few stops. The colectivo, for its part, provides longer trips with more stops.
Note that the bus is the cheapest means of transport in the country. However, bus schedules are not very regular. Moreover, Costa Rican buses are quite slow.
Good to know:
Do not rely on any bus terminal as each bus company has its own assembly point in the different cities.
In the capital city, taxis are called marias. These are generally equipped with a counter. But if you want to travel outside the city, the fare has to be negotiated with the driver.
In some cities, as well as in the capital city's remote neighborhoods, you will find collective taxis. The fare is divided among passengers. However, remember to negotiate the fare before boarding the vehicle.
You may feel like renting a car upon your arrival in Costa Rica if you have a valid driver's license. However, you must be at least 21 years old or even 25 years old. You can find car rental agencies almost everywhere in the country, even at the airport. However, note that you will have to subscribe to a compulsory insurance besides the daily rental price. This can be quite expensive, till double the total rental price.
Good to know:
Given the condition of local roads, you might have to rent a pick-up, thus increasing the rent price.
In case you are controlled by a police officer for breach of the Highway Code, never try to bribe him! You are advised to accept and pay the fine with the vehicle's owner. Remember to give him the infringement document.
In case you have an accident, wait for the police without moving the vehicle.