Unique Modes of Transportation and Alternatives to Car Rentals in Costa Rica

Valeria Alvarez /
Valeria Alvarez / | © Culture Trip
Jenn Parker

A car can only go so far in a country where there are a lot of rough backroads, hidden attractions, and hard-to-reach vistas. Here are some more affordable, sustainable, and exhilarating options to see the best Costa Rica has to offer.

While the main highways in Costa Rica are paved and in relatively good condition, the majority of other roads, often found within and between smaller towns and attractions, can be rough or even treacherous. Many are unnamed, narrow, swerve around steep cliffs, or become enveloped in the fog of the country’s famous cloud forests. Plus, though renting a car itself is fairly cheap, Costa Rica’s required car insurance is quite a bit more expensive. Save yourself the headache of it all by taking buses on long treks across the country and then renting one of these alternative options while in local areas. In a lot of places, a car isn’t even necessary and all you really need is a simpler tool to get around town.

All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV)

All-terrain vehicles are a very popular mode of transportation, especially for shorter distance travel. This exhilarating mode of transportation can be used to access places that a car would not be able to. ATV tours are a great way to explore the more rugged and remote side of Costa Rica – which is really one of the main draws of the country.

Dune buggy tours are the new rage these days in Costa Rica. This off-roading, open-air, and low-riding vehicle is built to cruise through mud, sand, rocky roads and back country territory. These stable and safe adventure-mobiles are a blast to drive and ride in as a passenger.

Polaris Ranger

This heavy-duty piece of machinery is a cross between a golf cart and an ATV. While they are very expensive to buy in Costa Rica, they are a great vehicle to rent. The Polaris Ranger is capable of driving on roads that a golf cart could not, yet it is more comfortable, stable and safer than a traditional ATV.

Golf Cart

A few years ago, golf carts made their way into happening beach towns like Tamarindo. If you are planning on just enjoying the immediate area you are visiting, renting a golf cart is a nice way to get to and from restaurants, bars, the grocery store and the beach when your vacation rental is just a little bit out of walking range.


The tuk-tuk has taken over Nosara! The tuk-tuk is a common mode of transportation in countries like India and Thailand and now they are in the bohemian yoga town of Playa Guiones, Nosara. This motorized tricycle vehicle makes getting around Playa Guiones a breeze, especially since the town is very spread out.

Electric Bicycle

The electric bicycle is an eco-friendly mode of transportation that is blazing trails in Costa Rica. What makes an electric bicycle a great option for getting around town is that you have the ability to turn on the battery powered motor or manually peddle depending on your energy level. There are even electric mountain bikes available for rent for the more extreme cyclist.


There is definitely something to be said about getting around without the noise of an engine rumbling. This is one of the most environmentally friendly modes of transportation that you can take while you are in Costa Rica. Slowing down your commute to the pace of a walking horse is also a peaceful way to really take in the beautiful surroundings and abundant nature that Costa Rica is host to.

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