Getting from the Liberia Airport (officially known as Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport) to Tamarindo is a pretty simple process.
There are 5 main options for the trip depending on your budget and how much time you have.
A shared shuttle is the best deal you’re going to find. I recommend Tamarindo Transfers & Tours. It’s only $20 cash per person to/from the Liberia Airport. Here’s a picture of the type of shuttles they’ll pick you up in:
This option is a mixed bag. Some taxis are clean, some look like they belong in the junk yard and not on the road. Some drivers are nice, some belong in a freak show. A private taxi will run you around $60-$80. If you have 3 or 4 people in your group it beats taking the shared shuttle mentioned above since they’ll take you straight to your rental or house. Make sure to settle on the price before getting in the taxi. The key here is to bargain hard and walk away if they won’t agree to your price.
3. Public Bus
I prefer taking the public bus when I’m going from Tamarindo to the airport. It leaves on a pretty consistent schedule. The trip takes about 2 hours from Tamarindo and only costs $2.50. One caution though, the buses are not air conditioned, so if you’re planning to get there this way DO NOT wear jeans.
Taking the public bus from the Liberia Airport to Tamarindo is a little bit tougher. You might be waiting up to an hour for the bus to come depending on when your flight lands (Nothing worse than seeing the bus leave right as you exit the airport!).
Once you exit the sliding doors of the airport, take an immediate left and walk all the way down to the bus stop pictured below:
Once you’re at the bus stop you’ll probably have to ask the bus driver if they’re going to Tamarindo since some of the buses will be going to Nicoya. “Vas a Tamarindo?” “Are you going to Tamarindo?”
Tamarindo has a small airport about 5 minutes outside of town. You can take flights from Liberia into this airport with both Sansa and Nature Air. It’s not a cheap option, but sometimes you can get good deals if it’s already included with your flight from the U.S.
One time I had a flight from San Jose into Liberia with SANSA. Since my final destination was Tamarindo, they let me get off in Tamarindo since they had a scheduled stop there anyway! It never hurts to ask the gate agent.
The runway in Tamarindo is also a fun experience. Picture a country road in the states, and that’s what the runway looks like!
5. Rolling the Dice
This works best when you’re not in a rush to get immediately to Tamarindo from the airport. As you exit the airport you’ll see a flood of taxi and shuttle drivers all shouting at you if you need a ride. I’ve had success getting a $15 shared shuttle and even a $20 taxi ride with only 1 other person in it using the “Rolling the Dice” method. When the taxi drivers and shuttle drivers approach you tell them you can only pay $15.
They’ll most likely say that’s way too low, so tell them that you’ll be waiting at the public bus stop for the bus, and if they have space in their shuttle or taxi to come get you and you’ll happily pay $15. Most likely they’ll come back to the bus stop and get you in a shuttle. But, with this tactic you have to be willing to take the public bus since there is a chance it won’t work.
If you have any other suggestions on getting to/from Tamarindo and the Liberia airport share them in the comments below.