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Private transportation to Malpais, Santa Teresa, Montezuma

by | May 17, 2013

Transportation to Santa Teresa, Malpais, Montezuma and all other beaches in the southern part of the Nicoya Peninsula, requires taking the ferry from Puntarenas to Paquera.  The ferry ride is very pleasant and gives you unique views of the Gulf of Nicoya, its beautiful islands and beach landscapes.

The current ferry departure times are at the bottom of this page

Once on the peninsula, there are only a few miles of paved roads and the popular beaches of Montezuma, Malpais and Santa Teresa are all connected by the infamous Guanacaste dirt roads.  If you don’t want to drive these bumpy, dusty (or muddy) roads, we offer several simple transportation solutions.  Here I describe the two options for Private transportation to Malpais, Santa Teresa, Montezuma and all other locations in the southern Nicoya Peninsula.  There are also daily shared shuttles and I’ll write about those in a future post.


Private transfer with “Van Switch” at the ferry

a.     You will be picked up by our driver at the airport or hotel in San Jose, Arenal, or wherever you are.  He will take you to the ferry dock in Puntarenas

b.     You get on the ferry with your luggage.  The cost of the ferry tickets is included in our price.  Have your camera handy and enjoy the ride.  The van does not go on the ferry with you.

d.    On the other side of the Gulf we’ll have another van and driver waiting for you.  He will have our usual sign with your name.   This second driver will take you the rest of the way to Tambor, Montezuma, Malpais or Santa Teresa.

 We recommend this option because:

  • It is cheaper as there is no charge taking the van on the Ferry
  • Takes less time because the Ferry will take all passengers, but only a limited number of cars.  So, you’ll always go on the first ferry.


Private Transfer with “NO Van Switch” at the ferry

a.     The same van that picked you up goes on the Ferry with your luggage, and takes you all the way to your final destination.  The cost of the ferry tickets for the van and all the passengers is included in our price.

b.    This requires getting to the port a little earlier to be sure the van gets on the first ferry.  This is more important in the busy months of the dry season: December to April.  If our van doesn’t make it on the first ferry you have to wait for the next one.  This is a 2 or 3 hour wait.

c.    This trip costs more because the ferry charges $50 each way for the van.

Puntarenas-Paquera Ferry Departure Times

Here are the currect ferry departure times as of March 2022.   This schedule may change.  Please check with us for the latest information.

Departures from PuntarenasDepartures from Paquera
5:30 am5:30 am
9 am 9 am
12 pm 12 pm
3 pm 3 pm
6 pm 5 pm
8:30 pm8 pm


Get prices and details here:

– Montezuma Transportation

– Santa Teresa & Malpais Transportation


As in all our private transportation, the price includes: the driver, fuel, insurance, parking, road tolls, ferry tickets and all other expenses.

We can always take your surfboards on our trips, but we must know in advance so we can plan to have the right size vehicle, bike racks, straps, etc.

The size of the surfboards is important as long boards don’t fit inside our smaller vans.


We hope one of these options will work for you, and please contact us if you have questions or you’d like more details.


Find Private Transfers

Departing from:


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Destino Tropical es un sitio web donde creamos itinerarios personalizados para viajeros independientes en Costa Rica, con una gran diversidad de tours y atracciones
Logo de Destino Tropical. Sitio web para itinerarios personalizados y tours en Costa Rica