Southern Pacific Coast of Costa Rica
On the shores of the Golfo Dulce (Sweet Gulf)
Just south of the old Banana Port of Golfito
To see a detailed road map of the southern section of Costa Rica, go here.
Getting There from San Jose, Costa Rica
Private Vehicle and Driver - Airport Pickup
Domestic Flight to Golfito (about 50 minutes in duration - about $80 one-way)
- We can arrange a licensed, private vehicle to pick you up at Juan Santamaria International Airport.
- The driver can pick you up day or night – you can avoid a night’s lodging in San Jose if you choose.
- The drive takes 7 hours and costs between $240-300, depending on the number of people.
Bus to Golfito or Paso Canoas (between 7 and 8 hours - about $12 one-way)
- Sansa and Nature Air operate morning and afternoon flights.
- International flights land at the Juan Santamaria International Terminal (SJO).
- The domestic airline Sansa is located in a building next to the international airport.
- The domestic airline Nature Air is located in Pavas, about a 30-minute taxi ride from the International Airport.
- Domestic weight restrictions for Sansa are 27 pounds... pack lightly! You'll be charged $1 per pound for overweight luggage.
- Domestic weight restrictions for Nature Air are 30 pounds... pack lightly! You'll be charged $1 per pound for overweight luggage.
- Some surfboards will fit on the airline - contact them directly and reserve luggage space for your board if you can.
- Have your printer ready to print a receipt for your ticket if you book online.
- Domestic travel agents have access to seats that are not available online or internationally - if you have trouble finding a domestic seat, we can recommend a local travel agent.
- See the information below for boat taxi or land taxi to Zancudo.
Boat Taxi: Golfito to Zancudo (about 20 to 30 minutes, depending on tide)
- http://www.visitcostarica.com/ict/paginas/LEYES/pdf/ItinerarioBuses_es.pdf shows the bus and public ferry schedule.
- There are two daily buses from San Jose to Golfito leaving from the Tracopa Terminal - see below for boat taxi or land taxi to Zancudo.
- Often it's more direct to take the bus to the Panama Border at Paso Canoas - see the section about traveling from Panama for bus or taxi to Zancudo.
Land Taxi: Golfito to Zancudo (about 1.5 hours - about $50-$60)
- We can pre-arrange a water taxi who will meet you at the dock in Golfito - land transfer from the Zancudo dock to the Sol y Mar is included. The cost is $20 per person, $50 minimum. From Puerto Jimenez across the gulf, the boat taxi is $20 per person with a $60 minimum.
- You can book your own water taxi (negotiable - about the same price) from the public dock next to the only gas station in Golfito.
- An inexpensive public boat leaves from the Samoa Restaurant in Golfito every day except Sunday at noon. The cost is about $5 per person one way.
- Consider your stamina if you choose either of the last two options. There are lots of watering holes along the 30-minute walk to the Sol y Mar from Zancudo's public dock, but it can be HOT! Sometimes you can arrange a ride from the dock to the Sol y Mar with someone who was on the boat with you.
Driving (7 hours from San Jose to Zancudo)
- Negotiate the price with any of Golfito's official red taxis.
- Realize that driving times are a lot slower than you are probably used to.
- Rental cars cost about $60+/day and can be rented in San Jose.
- We highly recommend leaving San Jose no later than 11 a.m., so it’s easier to find your way – in the daylight hours.
- During the rainy season (particularly in September, October and November), you'll need a high-clearance 4-wheel-drive vehicle.
- Either drive south on the Pan American Highway to Palmar and follow signs to Rio Claro, OR drive from the international airport (Alajuela) to Jaco and connect to the Coastal Highway. Drive on that Coastal Highway past Quepos to Palmar and then on to Rio Claro.
- Before Golfito, take a left at "Nuevo Bar Rodeo" and continue to the new bridge over the Rio Coto.
- After the new bridge, the road is dirt - after 5 km, you'll come to a Y-Junction at Pueblo Nuevo - turn right.
- It is 10 km to Conte, where the road is a "T" - take a right.
- It's 18 km more (really bumpy road!) to Zancudo. You'll see the turn-off to Pavones on your left, but keep going straight, following the sign to Zancudo.
Getting There from Panama City, Panama to Zancudo
Here are the steps you need to take to get to Zancudo from Panama:
- Domestic flight or bus to David, Panama.
- Bus or taxi to the Panama border: Paso Canoas.
- Go through immigration procedures to exit ("stamp out of") Panama.
- Go through immigration procedures to enter ("stamp into") Costa Rica (separate building on other side of the border).
- Bus (about $2) or land taxi ($40-60 depending on your bargaining skills) to the Sol y Mar in Zancudo.