Directions to Santa Teresa And Mal Pais

There are many ways to travel to Santa Teresa. Whether you decide to fly, drive, or take a boat ride, you'll be glad you made the trip. Below are some of the common ways to get here.

Fly to Tambor / Drive to Santa Teresa

  • Sansa Regional and Nature Air are two companies with multiple daily flights from San Jose to Tambor.

  • The flights take about 30 minutes, and from there a 35 minute drive brings you to Santa Teresa.

  • You can have a taxi waiting to pick you up (approximately $50 one-way), or arrange to have your car rental waiting for you at the airport. This needs to be arranged in advance.

  • These flights are small, and fill up fast, so be sure to book in advance.

  • Remember that these flight have low weight limits, with fees for extra weight. During busy times they may refuse to take overweight luggage.

Drive/Cross gulf of nicoya by car ferry 

  • There are a few ways you can drive to Santa Teresa including renting a car (4x4 recommended), or arranging for a shuttle or taxi.  We would be happy to assist you with booking any of these options.

  • When driving to Santa Teresa, you will almost certainly cross the Gulf of Nicoya by ferry. (There is an overland route which goes through Naranjo, you can read about it here).

  • Several times a day the ferry departs from Puntarenas and arrives in Paquera about 75 minutes later.

  • The time and frequency of the ferry depends on the season, so be sure to check the ferry departure times on their website.

  • Tickets for the ferry must be purchased in advance from the ticket booth. You will not be allowed on the ferry without a ticket. A ticket must be purchased for every person, as well as the vehicle.

  • If the ferry has already reached its capacity for automobiles, you will need to wait for the next one. This often happens during peak season. It is recommended that you arrive early to ensure a place on the ferry.



Remember a 4X4 vehicle is needed to reach us, and is generally better for Costa Rica roads.

When driving to Santa Teresa, the trip can be divided into 3 parts.

  1. Getting to Puntarenas

  2. Going from Puntarenas to Paquera

  3. Going from Paquera to Santa Teresa

1. Getting to Puntarenas

  • From San Jose, there are two roads one can take to get to Puntarenas. The Pan-American Highway (Carratera Interamericana Norte), i.e. Route 1, takes about 2 hours.

  • A newer toll road, called the Caldera Highway (Autopista del Sol), i.e. Route 27, cuts the driving time to about 75 minutes from San Jose to Puntarenas. (see the map, below)

  • From Liberia, drive south on the Pan-American Highway, and turn off at the Puntarenas exit.

  • From Liberia, you can also bypass the ferry by driving through Santa Cruz, on toNicoya - Jicaral - Naranjo to Paquera (a 4x4 is recommended).

2. From Puntarenas to Paquera

  • Once you arrive in Puntarenas, drive to the end of the peninsula, to the ferry departure point.

  • You will start to see signs directing you to the ferry

  • Note that there are two different ferries, one to Paquera, and one to Naranjo. Make sure to take the ferry to Paquera.

  • Pay for the ferry in the ticket booth, across the street from the ferry. You cannot pay on the ferry. You must pay for the car and for each person in the car.

  • The ferry takes about 75 minutes to cross the Gulf of Nicoya, and it may take another 15 minutes to drive your car off the ferry.

3. From Paquera to Santa Teresa/Mal Pais

  • From Paquera the drive to Santa Teresa will take you past Tambor and Cobano before arriving in Santa Teresa. Signs for those places will let you know you're going the right way.

  • The road to Montezuma is the same as the road to Santa Teresa, until you arrive in Cobano. In Cobano, turn left to go to Montezuma, or keep going straight to go to Santa Teresa

  • When you arrive at the Playa Carmen crossroads, a left will take you to Mal Pais, and a right will take you to Santa Teresa.

  • After you turn right at the crossroads toward Santa Teresa, follow the road about 3 kilometers and right after you pass "SELINA HOSTEL", turn right and follow up the hill approximately 600 meters. You will pass Nautilus hotel and after 400 meters Canaima chill house. As soon as you pass their parking lot, make a right turn and go 200 meters to our parking lot.