If you’ve lived in Tamarindo or Costa Rica for any amount of time you know how expensive buying and maintaining a car can be. Fortunately, Tamarindo and many other areas in Costa Rica have an alternative to car ownership called “colectivos”.

You could say that Costa Rica had the original Uber and Lyft way before Silicon Valley invented these two popular ride-sharing apps.

Colectivos require no smart-phone or credit card. You just have to wave them down.

Like Uber and Lyft in the states, colectivos are private vehicles that offer rides to people in Tamarindo and in the surrounding areas. They have no taxi sign on them, and you might even find yourself in a colectivo driven by one of your local friends.

To get a colectivo, wait on the side of the road of the direction you wish to go. Most colectivos are 4 door sedan type cars, so look for those and wave your hand when you see one coming down the road. Since colectivos and private cars are both the same, don’t be surprised if the first few cars pass you. Just be patient and keep waving!

The colectivos run between Tamarindo and Huacas, a 13km route, and cost only 500 colones (about $1) for a one way ride!

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There are also colectivos that run between Tamarindo and Santa Cruz but they usually cost about 1,000 colones (about $2) one way.

The colectivos will pick up and drop off people on their routes, so you’ll be sharing the ride with others.

One more thing to note, if you are just going to Villa Real and not all the way to Huacas, the ride costs the same amount, 500 colones.

Using the colectivos is a great way to get of Tamarindo and see some of the “real” Costa Rica in towns like Villa Real, Huacas, and Santa Rosa.

Comment below if you have a colectivo story.

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