Getting There & Departing
By Plane: The nearest airport with regular service is in Liberia.
By Car: Follow the directions for driving to Liberia. When you reach Liberia, head straight through the major intersection, following signs to Peñas Blancas and the Nicaraguan border. Allow approximately 5 hours to get from San José to La Cruz.
By Bus: Transportes Deldú buses (tel. 2256-9072 in San José, or 2679-9323 in La Cruz; www.transportesdeldu.com) leave San José roughly every 2 hours (more frequently during the middle of the day) between 3:30am and 7pm for Peñas Blancas from Calle 10 and 12, Avenida 9. These buses stop in La Cruz and will also let you off at the entrance to Santa Rosa National Park if you ask. The ride to La Cruz takes 5 1/2 hours; a one-way fare costs between C4,250 and C5,000. Additional buses are often added on weekends and holidays.
Grupo Transbasa (tel. 2666-0517) leaves Liberia for Peñas Blancas throughout the day. The ride to La Cruz takes about 1 hour and costs C1,670. Buses depart for San José from Peñas Blancas daily between 3:30am and 5:30pm, passing through La Cruz about 20 minutes later. Daily buses leave Liberia for San José roughly every hour between 3am and 8pm.
The highway passes slightly to the east of town. You’ll pass the turnoffs to Santa Rosa National Park and Playa Caujiniquil before you reach town. For the Bahía Salinas beaches, head into La Cruz and take the road that runs along the north side of the small central park and then follow the signs down to the water.
On to Nicaragua
Guanacaste is a popular jumping-off point for trips into Nicaragua. The main border point is at Peñas Blancas, Costa Rica. Several tour agencies and hotel desks arrange day trips to Nicaragua from resorts and hotels around Guanacaste.
Be forewarned that this border crossing is among the most difficult in Central America, as it is strict, slow, and hot (except when it’s pouring rain). If you’ve never done this before, you’ll be completely mystified about what to do first and where to go next unless you hire a tramitador, a border fixer. These smooth operators can be very helpful if you’re in a bind, but if you’re not careful, they can also fleece you blind.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.