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Pros and cons of traveling in Costa Rica by land or air transport as a student

Vacation season is already around the corner, and it means that students will start picking up the most suitable destinations. Many young people are attracted to Costa Rica thanks to its picturesque beaches, pleasant climate, and relatively cheap living costs. Most of them start preparing for the vacation beforehand. They reach out to the  write my paper for me cheap service, search for an aside job and save money to fit in the budget.

It is important to consider many different aspects, starting with the duration of the vacation, location, entertaining program, dwelling, and personal expenses. Usually, when people get there for the first time, they try to explore the country from different sides and get the best out of their trip. It is understandable since this getaway is truly gorgeous in many aspects.

However, many people find themselves at a crossroads when it comes to getting around the country and don’t know what transportation means to choose. Such a challenge has many root causes, and it can be hard to provide a definite answer right away since every option has many pros and cons.

While one person can be satisfied with traveling by land, another one will consider this mode unacceptable. That’s why it is necessary to go deep down the question and take a closer look at each option.

Choose Between Time and Money

Even though Costa Rica is a small country, it is not worth underestimating the time required for traveling around it. For instance, you will need to spend more than fifteen hours by land to cover 100 miles, while it can take three hours by a small plane or forty-five minutes by a helicopter.

However, the latter option may cost you about $3,600. In fact, traveling by land involves different options with their own advantages and drawbacks. When it comes to air, domestic flights are the most common variant since a rare person will be ready to spend a fortune on a helicopter, especially when it comes to students.

Of course, they can use the write my essay for me service and find a part-time job during the college semester to meet this challenge, but it will hardly be worth it. Thus, the most suitable option will depend on your budget, time, and travel style. We’ll go deep down each option separately to provide insight into the question.

Pros and Cons of Renting a Car

Visiting a new country, most people rent a car to explore the region and manage their schedule. Thus, planning a trip to Costa Rica, they believe that a rental car is the best way to get around the state. Of course, this option is available only to those students who have got a driving license. The idea of renting a car can be good and bad depending on your driving experience and the airport you land at.

Thus, if it is about the Liberia airport, you can get a car to reach the most popular beach destinations and not worry about heavy traffic. However, the situation will be completely the opposite if you land in San Jose. Besides, you should consider a wide range of different moments.


Let’s start with the reasons why it is worth renting a car and traveling in Costa Rica by land. Bear in mind that we’ll indicate only the most common reasons, so the whole list of advantages may vary.

1. Relatively low expenses

If you are going to get around Costa Rica in the company of friends, a rental car can become a win-win option since you can share expenses. In general, it is considered one of the cheapest options if you get an average small or midsize vehicle. The price will depend on the model, but usually, it is about $40-70 per day.

2. Freedom of movement

When it comes to the advantages of renting a car, one cannot but mention the freedom of movement that you get. If you want to explore every corner of the country and make stops wherever you want, you should get a car. Thus, you will not have to follow someone’s rules and worry about a schedule that doesn’t meet your requirements. Most scenic views stay beyond the tourist program, so travelers who choose other transportation means don’t have a chance to reach remote picturesque locations.

3. Google Maps

Even though many tourists complain about poor internet connection and inability to use Google Maps, the chances are high that they don’t consider getting a local SIM card. It allows you to load the maps and use them even offline in some remote spots. However, make sure you have an unlocked smartphone.


You might have expected to see a longer list of rental car advantages, but the reality is harsher. Considering numerous reviews of travelers and our own experience, the list of drawbacks will be a bit longer.

1. Difference between online and offline prices

Students who travel on a budget should be extremely careful when renting a car in Costa Rica. The final price tag can differ dramatically from the one you see on the internet. Suppose you come upon a rental company website that offers you to get a car for $20 per day. It looks like a great deal, so you decide to book it. The final price can be twice as high since the online rate doesn’t include mandatory insurance coverage.

2. Poor road conditions

Costa Rica roads are legendary in a bad sense since when you get off the highway, you run into impressive potholes, ditches, extremely narrow streets, etc. If you come during a rainy season to save a penny on your travel, you should keep your eyes open since heavy rains hide all the problems and destroy the road surface, so you can find yourself in trouble every now and then.

3. Aggressive driving style

Unless you drive in NYC or similar megapolises with crazy traffic and aggressive drivers, you can face many unpleasant situations that will spoil your mood and vacation in general. You should be ready that other drivers will not let you in their lane if you decide to change it.

4. Increased stress level

If you don’t have enough driving experience under the belt, you can get depressed because of all the big and minor issues on the road. Costa Rica roads demand increased attentiveness because you don’t know when you face another challenge. Some people claim that traffic there reminds them of a nightmare.

5. Theft

All rental cars are marked with special signs that make you a perfect target for thieves. Thus, you shouldn’t let your guard down when you hit the road. It is crucial to follow all safety rules and never leave things in the car. Besides, when you get a car, make sure to check it for all damages and indicate them in your rental contract. Otherwise, they can make you pay for them later, claiming that they are your fault.

Pros and Cons of Private Drivers

Well, at first, it may seem like a luxury that an average student cannot afford, but it is one of the most common and popular things in Costa Rica when it comes to getting around the country. It is all about convenience and your financial capabilities. Thus, you should be ready to pay about $125-250 per trip or $180 per day. However, if you have travel buddies to share it with, it can look pretty affordable.


Surprisingly, the number of advantages will tip the scale in this case, but it is up to you to decide whether all the pros are a good reason to choose this option.

1. Fewer concerns

If it is hard for you to orientate in a foreign country, and you can easily get lost and stressed, a private driver can become a great way out since they will meet you right at the airport. You will not have to worry about a wide range of issues connected with a rental car or adjust your vacation to a schedule of public transport.

2. Freedom

A famous proverb says, “He who has the gold makes the rules,” so you can enjoy the freedom of movement and manage your route as long as you have money. You can ask your driver to stop in a picturesque place, wait for you somewhere or drive you back home when you get tired. In other words, you will enjoy your vacation to the fullest and put yourself in the shoes of celebs.

3. Relaxation

Since you don’t have to drive a car and choose the most suitable road, you get rid of stress. Even if you get in a traffic jam, you can enjoy a book or conversation with friends. Anyway, all these road issues will not be your thorn in the side.

4. Guide

A private driver can become an informal tour guide since most drivers speak English and don’t mind sharing useful info about their homeland. Thus, you will find out what places are worth visiting, where you can find picturesque spots that are not mentioned in a tourist program, and where to buy quality things on a budget.


Even though the previous advantages could convince you to opt for this option, it is worth examining the opposite side of the coin not to face unpleasant surprises.

1. Price

It will not be a big deal if you have a company of friends ready to support your idea and share expenses. Nonetheless, if you are a solo traveler, you will spend a fortune on such a private driver, especially if you are going to use their services during the whole vacation. A rare student can afford such costs, and you will hardly somehow cut them.

2. Way back

Unless you hire a private driver for the whole trip, so they will stay with you till the end, you will have to take care of your way back yourself. Thus, you will have to find a taxi, ride a bike, etc., to investigate the destination. Bear in mind that you should get back home by sunset since it is pretty dangerous to walk at night in unfamiliar places far away from your hotel.

Pros and Cons of Shared Shuttles

Those who cannot afford a private driver may consider a shared shuttle bus. It is one of the most popular and comfortable ways to get around Costa Rica on a budget.


Usually, they cover the most popular tourist destinations and sights, so if you are interested in visiting all the must-visit places of the country, it can become a good option.

1. Price

If you travel with up to three friends, you can share the expenses and enjoy your trip to the fullest. Even though the price can vary, depending on the company and location, it is usually about $50 per ride.

2. Comfort

This option is still much more comfortable than a public bus, and you will not face a language barrier since most drivers of shared shuttles speak English and are ready to help tourists. Besides, such vehicles are equipped with air-conditioning, which is a great plus in hot weather.

3. Availability

If you are afraid that you will not cope with searching for a reliable company, you can turn to your hotel and ask them to book such transportation means. They are available throughout the country, so you will hardly face any difficulties.


Unfortunately, there are also a range of drawbacks to consider, so you should decide whether they can become a stumbling block on the way to using such a vehicle.

1. Restrictions on luggage

In almost all cases, you will not be allowed to take more than medium bags, so it is worth sorting out this moment beforehand.

2. Way back

The situation is the same as with a private driver if you don’t hire it for the whole day.

Pros and Cons of a Public Bus

If your financial situation leaves much to be desired, and you haven’t taken care of saving more money for such a trip, you can count on a public bus only. It is not the worst option if you have time since the country has a well-developed bus system.


Most students travel on a budget and don’t value their time as much as others, so such an option can turn out to be a win-win since it is the cheapest one so far.

1. Price

We’ve mentioned a price among the advantages for other options provided you travel with friends who can split it with you. A public bus is affordable even if you are a solo traveler. A one-way trip will cost you about $5-8, depending on the route.

2. Availability

Public buses go almost everywhere, but if the chosen route is complicated, you may have to change several buses until you get to the destination. It is worth reflecting on the places you want to visit and contacting someone to check info about schedules.


It is recommended to save money and choose some other ways of traveling in Costa Rica for a reason. Even though you can save a penny, picking up a public bus, you will face a range of drawbacks.

1. Discomfort

It is worth starting with a moment that public buses are not equipped with air conditioning and comfy seats, so you can suffer from muggy air, especially if you come during a rainy season.

2. Crowd

In most cases, you can count only on the standing room since public buses are usually filled up completely. Considering the current uneasy epidemiological situation, it can be a real problem. So, even if you take a long trip, you will reach your destination exhausted and sweaty.

3. Time-consuming

Like all public transport worldwide, such buses make a tremendous number of stops, so it may seem that you move like a tortilla. While a shared shuttle can cover a certain distance for about two hours, a public bus will do the same for five. Thus, if you have a one-week vacation, you will not get pleasure from it if you constantly use public buses to get around the country.

Pros and Cons of Local Flights

We’ve already agreed that we consider only local flights by small planes under air transport since helicopters and private jets cannot be called an affordable way of traveling. Local airlines connect the most popular travel destinations and fly daily.


Many people don’t even consider such transportation means, believing that they cannot afford it anyway. However, sometimes they pay a double price when choosing some land options. So, it is not worth turning a blind eye to such a way of traveling as well.

1. Time saved

It is clear that one of the biggest advantages of air traveling is the ability to save time. If you plan a short-term trip and want to visit the opposite corners of the country, air travel is a win-win option.

2. Price

If you get ready for your trip beforehand, you have a good chance to get affordable plane tickets. Thus, a one-way ticket for a 20-minute flight (instead of five hours by car) can cost you about $100. If you travel alone, it can be a great deal.


Even though a flight looks extremely appealing, it has some drawbacks that make many travelers reject this way of traveling. So, it is worth checking all the moments beforehand not to get disappointed later.

1. Luggage restrictions

Most students try to save a penny, so they often opt for low-cost fares. However, most of them have strict luggage restrictions (about 20 lbs.), so if you plan to stay in Costa Rica for a long time, a small bag will hardly be enough. Thus, you will have to pay a double price for your luggage or choose a more suitable way of traveling.

2. Schedule

Planes have a certain schedule that you have to follow no matter what. It is not always suitable, but you will have to adjust your life to it anyway. Besides, depending on the airline, you will have to arrive much beforehand to pass through airport security checks.

3. Getting around

When you reach your destination, you will have to search for another transportation means to get around the area. Thus, you will have to rent a car or use a public bus or take a taxi in addition to it.

What Option to Choose?

Even though the topic sounds like “Traveling in Costa Rica as a student,” one shouldn’t forget that students are not the same. They all have different capabilities, and their preferences vary dramatically. While one person can afford to live in a luxury apartment and use services not only of an online essay writer but also a private driver, another one will struggle to save every penny and choose only the most affordable options.

Besides, sometimes it happens that wealthy people want to go on an adventure and see the country from a new perspective that goes beyond private jets and five-star hotels. In this case, they will choose rather an inexpensive, yet time-consuming transportation means. At the same time, a student who is used to living on a budget may decide to arrange a short but eventful holiday and visit as many places as they can.

In other words, everything will depend on your preferences, capabilities, duration of vacation, and desires. You don’t have to limit yourself to one option if you are unsure what variant will match your expectations. Think about your route, decide on what places you want to visit during your stay in Costa Rica, book hotel and airline tickets to come there.

You can solve all other issues upon arrival. Take your time to enjoy your journey and student years to the fullest.

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