How to get to the Nicoya Peninsula with a car
From San José drive on the Interamericana to Puntarenas (120 km) where you take the ferry
to Paquera or Naranjo. See: » Ferry from Puntarenas
Or circumnavigate the Gulf of Nicoya by continuing north from Puntarenas, direction Liberia, and turn off at km 168 to the Tempisque Bridge.
From Liberia drive down the Highway #21 to Santa Cruz, which is the fastest way to get to Tamarindo.
To get to the middle and southern part of the peninsula you can also drive on the Interamericana (Highway #1) until
km 168 and then take the road over the Tempisque bridge.
See » Map of the Nicoya Peninsula
There is only one year-round driveable road which connects the northern with the southern part of Nicoya Peninsula.
See » Along the Gulf from Naranjo to Paquera
Shorter routes from Montezuma and Santa Teresa to Samara are not negotiable during rainy season and are difficult to find.
See » Road Map from Cobano to Playa Coyote
The Nicoya Peninsula is notorious for its horrendous roads.
Few parts are paved and potholes abound. During rainy season roads are sometimes obstructed with giant mud holes, while in dry season you jolt in a collective dust bowl over rutted dirt roads.
A four-wheel-drive is useful though not necessary for most of the tourist areas.
There aren't many gas stations on the Nicoya Peninsula. On the southern peninsula there is one gas station in Paquera, two more
in Cobano and another one near Santa Teresa.
On the northern Nicoya Peninsula gas stations are a bit more common. However there is a long gap on the coastal route between Nosara and Tamarindo. The closest gas station in Tamarindo is in Huacas, 12 km north of Tamarindo. In a pinch ask locals if someone sells gasoline from a barrel.
Patience while driving is a virtue. Car accidents are frequent due to bad road conditions and unexpected hazards. Avoid driving at night.
Take Care: Never leave valuables unattended in your car !! See » Travel Safety