liberia to santa teresa

This was my 2nd time coming down to travel through Costa Rica. We decided to start in the Nicoya Peninsula and we were not disappointed. This region of Costa Rica is home to places like Montezuma, Santa Teresa, Nosara, and Tamarindo (just to name a few). The first step for us when arriving in this part of Costa Rica was figuring out how to get from Liberia to Santa Teresa.

This area is notorious for rough roads that can sometimes be difficult to travel along. If you are coming during the rainy season, you want to be sure of which route to take because it is possible to get stuck in deep water.

In this post, I will go over the best options for getting from Liberia to Santa Teresa.

liberia to santa teresa

Where is Santa Teresa Located?

Santa Teresa is located on the Southwestern tip of the Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica. It is only a short 30-minute ATV ride from the famous Cabo Blanco Reserva. This beautiful beach destination borders the Pacific Ocean to its west whereas another popular location Montezuma is in the Gulf of the Nicoya.

What are the Best Options for Travel in Costa Rica?

There are a few main ways to get around Costa Rica. Which one you choose will all depend on how much money you’re willing to spend and you’re time available.

Below are some of the best ways to get around Costa Rica:

  • Rent a Car: This is the most popular option for those short on time. Renting a car in Costa Rica is very easy and I would suggest it from my experience.
  • Bus: We took a bus from San Juan to Puerto Viejo, which was super easy. If you want to take the more local bussing system, I suggest checking out this Facebook page.
  • Shuttle: This might be the best overall option for some as it gets more affordable in larger groups. Search ‘from x to y shuttle’ in google and you will find many options.
  • Flight: There aren’t many opportunities for you to fly domestically but there is an option to fly from Liberia to the southern part of the Nicoya Peninsula.

Liberia to Santa Teresa Distance

Because of how relatively “new” some of these roads are (compared to other places in the country) in the Nicoya peninsula, the route can be a little bit deceiving. Depending on which maps you use, it will normally have you going down Route 21 south. Sometimes it will have you then take Route 162. This is not suggested as the roads are worse and you are likely to get stuck.

The distance from Liberia to Santa Teresa along Route 21 is around 4 hours long and 218 km.

How to Get From Liberia to Santa Teresa

Getting from Liberia to Santa Teresa might seem daunting to some but it is pretty straightforward. The drive is beautiful and you will get to see the lush beauty of this area that hopefully never changes.

Below I will go over the top ways to do this journey.

Drive Yourself

Costa Rica is one of the more friendly places to drive on your own. Just be sure to follow all of the traffic laws and you will be fine. The roads for the most part are great and can easily be navigated. I would suggest either renting a GPS from the rental company or getting a sim card while you’re there.

The sim card I used in Costa Rica was the Kolbi. It is very cheap and I heard it had the best service for areas like the Nicoya Peninsula. If you put the directions in google maps, they will never go away (even if you lose service) unless your phone dies.

I’ll now go over some other details that you will want to know when driving from Liberia to Santa Teresa.

Rent a Car and Head South on Route 21

Depending on what time of the year you travel to Costa Rica, the prices of renting a car can vary. Normally the prices will be the highest from late December to late February times. I suggest using Discover cars as they have some of the best prices on the internet.

Once you received your rental car, you can start heading southwest along route 21.

Head Towards Nicoya

The largest portion of traffic will be when you are leaving Liberia, especially during rush hour. I would suggest leaving early in the morning, even if that means you have to stay a night in Liberia.

Nicoya is a town located right in the middle of the peninsula. Along this route, you will come across other roads that will lead to popular beach towns such as Nosara and Tamarindo.

Keep Left Towards Jicaral

The most important part of this journey that you need to pay attention to is when you start getting close to the town of Jicaral. This will be around 2 hours into your trip.

Right before this town, you will come across another intersection of which Route 162 heads to your right. You do not want to take this road, even if your maps are telling you to do so. Some roads that are closed have the risk of you getting stuck.

Instead, keep following Route 21 to your left and you will shortly go through the town of Jicaral.

10 day itinerary costa rica, liberia to santa teresa

Last Major Town at Cobano

As you keep following this route along the edges of the Nicoya Peninsula, you will pass towns such as Paquera and Tambor. The last major town you will pass through before getting off the interstate is Cobano.

This town will have more goods that you might be looking for before arriving at Santa Teresa. You will take a left out of this town and start the end of your journey down.

Do You Need a 4×4 in Costa Rica?

Having a 4×4 in Costa Rica can be very helpful, especially during the rainy season on this journey from Liberia to Santa Teresa. Can you get away with not having one? Sure. But it isn’t worth the risk in my opinion.

If you’re already planning on renting a car in Costa Rica, then you might as well get a 4×4 vehicle.

Take a Shuttle

Taking a shuttle is another very popular option. It is very stress-free and has the opportunity of being cheaper with the larger group you have. Your driver can pick you up immediately from the Liberia airport and take you straight to Santa Teresa.

If you are looking for a shuttle anywhere in Costa Rica then simply put in your location and destination in google followed by shuttle. There will be many options that pop up.

Tropical Tour shuttles is a popular company but by the time you’re reading this, there could be other options as well.

liberia to santa teresa

Take a Flight

This option is not recommended as you will still have to drive 45 minutes from Tambor airport to Santa Teresa. If you are interested in flying then you can check on flights on Sansa Airlines Site.

These flights are normally between $112 USD and $130 USD. So way the pros and cons accordingly.

Things to do in Santa Teresa

There are many amazing things to do in Santa Teresa. It is also located very close to one of my favorite towns, Montezuma. Here there will be many other activities that you can do on a day trip from your accommodation in Santa Teresa.

Below is a list of activities that you can do during your stay:

Final Thoughts on Traveling from Liberia to Santa Teresa

Santa Teresa is a dream beach destination that I didn’t know I’d love so much. I read a few blogs and decided to go there and it was more beautiful than I could have imagined. The journey from Liberia to Santa Teresa seems long but it is well worth it. I will be going back as soon as possible.

Thank you for reading my guide on traveling from Liberia to Santa Teresa! I hope this has helped you plan your trip to this amazing beach destination.

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