Getting to Awaken Retreats:
The Juan Santamaria International Airport (alternatively SJO) is located 20 minutes outside of Costa Rica’s capital city. With most flights arriving here, it is the most popular airport for international flights.
Awaken retreats (formerly known as Rancho Delicioso) is a 43-hectare area, located in the Southern Nicoya Peninsula. You will find us located between the towns of Malpais, Santa Teresa and Montezuma. Even though we are remote, there are plenty of ways to reach us. The main modes of transport from San Jose are:
- Domestic Flight + Taxi
- Shuttle Van
- Direct Bus
- Public Bus
- Rental Car + Ferry
Travel Requirements for visiting Costa Rica
Before you book your trip, ensure you are eligible to enter. For tourists journeying to Costa Rica, you must have a passport with validity for at least 30 days after your arrival. We also advise that travelers have proof of a return journey (plane ticket), which must be within 90 days of arrival.
If you want to spend more than 90 days here, you will be required to cross the Nicaraguan border to the north, and then return after three hours. Bear in mind, this trip will likely take all day, so spending the night either in Nicaragua or along the way, is advised.
If you would like to find out more about your travel visa options for visiting Costa Rica, visit the embassy website.
It is crucial that if you have visited a country that ha Yellow Fever (such as Colombia), you will be required to show proof of your vaccination. If you are unable to do so, you will not be allowed entry. Please be aware of the vaccinations you will require. More information can be found here.
Upon your departure from Costa Rica, you will have to pay a departure tax ($29). This will be charged at the San Jose Airport. CRC, USD, and most major credit cards are accepted. Check with your airline, as many flights have this cost included. Once at San Jose Airport (SJO), all travelers are required to visit the ticket counter, even if they have checked in online, and only have carry-on luggage.
Domestic flight and Taxi (from San Jose Airport)
There are two airlines that fly from SJO to the local airport located in Tambor. The rough cost for a domestic flight from San Jose will be 75$-105$ (one way). Once in Tambor, it is then a 30-minute taxi ride to our retreat. It can be difficult to organize your domestic flight to coincide with your arrival on an international one, so sometimes it is best to spend the night in San Jose, and make your way here the next day.
Sansa Airlines: If you decide on flying with Sansa Airlines, the flight will depart from the Domestic Terminal. You will leave the International Airport and turn left, walking two blocks until you find the “Sansa Ticket Office”. It is important to know that the luggage allowance on Sansa is lower than that of most international carriers, so be prepared to pay extra.
FOR GEOFF: Nature Air? Can you book local flights online in advance?
Another option you can choose is to ask for a rental car for your arrival in Tambor. This takes the stress out of navigating the entire way (from San Jose) but allows you to explore the local area once you’re here. We suggest renting a 4X4 car, as it will allow you to explore all the roads, even the more adventurous ones.
Shuttle Van Service
This option is incredibly easy and takes you directly from San Jose Airport to the retreat. It is operated by Montezuma Expeditions and should cost around 50$. We advise that you follow the link provided, and sign up via email. This is a group shuttle, and you will receive instructions and details once you have signed up.
In terms of timing, the shuttle runs from the airport to Puntarenas which takes roughly 90 minutes. You will be required to get off the shuttle and take your luggage with you (the shuttle driver will help you with this). The ferry ride is 90 minutes, and you may get the opportunity to spot some ocean wildlife, such as dolphins, whales, and sea turtles! Once arriving in Paquera, there will be another shuttle waiting for you, which will take you directly to the retreat (another 90-minute drive).
You are also able to use this service when you leave us. Pick up time depends on the season, 7:00 AM in high season (months), and 9:00 AM in low season (months). Depending on the season, you will arrive at the international airport (SJO) between 12:00-12:30 PM (High season), and 2:00-2:30 PM (low-season). It is recommended that you arrive at least 2 hours before your flight, and preferably 3.
Shuttle Service from Liberia INTL Airport: Alternatively, if you chose to fly into Liberia, there is a shuttle that will take you to Cobano, and costs $49.00. Then, it is an $8-$10 taxi ride to the retreat.
The direct bus is comfortable and easy. It is also cheaper than the shuttle, at $15.50. However, it does not bring you directly to Awaken Retreats. The bus goes to Montezuma, but you will be required to exit the bus in Cobano, and take a local taxi from there, which costs approximately $8-$10. The total cost of the journey should be around $25.00.
The benefits of taking the bus are that you do not have to exit the bus at Puntarenas, it leaves from the International Airport, and it is cheap.
Cost: $15.50 + local taxi
Phone: 2642-1112 / 2519-9973
Bus Terminal Address: Nueva Megaterminal, Avenida 7, Calle 10, contiguo al Cine Líbano.
Social Media: Facebook Page
Direct bus schedule:
Departing San Jose (CITY): 6:00 AM and 2:00 PM
Departing Airport (SJO): 6:20 AM and 2:20 PM
Departing Montezuma: 6:20 AM and 2:20 PM
Departing Cobano: 7:00 AM and 3:00 PM
Directions to Bus stop from San Jose International Airport
Either take a taxi or walk to the following address “Bridge of Villa Bonita in Alajuela” where the bus will get travelers from the airport. Upon arrival at the ferry, the bus driver will give you a ferry ticket, and a card allowing you to reboard the bus. You will still be required to exit the bus, travel on the ferry, then reboard the bus in Paquera, to continue your travel to Cobano.
Once arriving in Cobano, simply find a local taxi that will take you to Rancho Delicioso/Awaken Retreats in Delicias.
If you want an even cheaper option, there is a local bus you can take. It leaves from downtown San Jose, at this address: Avenida 12, Calle 16. The earliest you can catch this bus is 6:00 AM, with the latest being 5:00 PM.
This bus will take you to Puntarenas, but will not drop you at the ferry terminal. If you have lots of luggage, we recommend a taxi, as the walk is 2.3KM or 1.42M. If you’re feeling up to it, you can walk along the beach. It’s a lovely walk, and the beach will eventually lead you to the ferry terminal. We only recommend this to those traveling with backpacks.
FOR GEOFF: Is there a bus on the other side? Where does it take you? Cobano?
Rental Car and Ferry
If you’re not interested in taking public transit or renting a taxi, then renting a car is another convenient option available to you. If there are two or more people involved in the rental, then it will be as affordable as the shuttle. However, if you do not have prior experience driving in Central America, and don’t speak enough Spanish to confidently ask for directions, then we would not recommend this option.
If you do decide to rent, then the journey should take you roughly 5 hours, including the ferry. Driving from San Jose to our Farm is quite an adventure, as there are no road signs, so you need to either know where you are going or be happy to stop and ask the way! Some rental car companies will offer a GPS device for the car, just be careful about hidden costs.
Since you will be unlikely to need the car while here, we would suggest that you drive the car to Puntarenas, and drop it off there (as this will save you money).
Driving from the Airport (SJO) to Puntarenas
From SJO, you begin along the main highway (The Interamericana) and continue until the exit for Atenas. Exit here, and move over the freeway to the left. About 2km down the road, you will pass a soccer field and a blue school. Between these, you will make another left. There are no road signs, so if you find yourself lost, ask someone about “La Pista por Caldera”. Keep driving and after 3.5km you will see an overpass. Don’t drive under it, turn left just before it, take the onramp and head west along the freeway. This will take you to the port next to Puntarenas, called Caldera. Once you reach here you will want to keep going northbound along the coast. Look out for a large development named “La Roca”. At this point, you will pass over the road you want to be on. There is a sign for Puntarenas here, although it is covered with tree branches which make spotting it very difficult. You want to take this exit and get on the road heading west again. This will take you out to the very tip of the peninsula, where the Puntarenas ferry terminal is.
Ferry from Puntarenas to Paquera
If you’re taking the ferry, there are two you can make the journey on. One will arrive in Paquera, the other Naranjo. You will want to take the ferry headed for Paquera. The ferry takes about 90 minutes. It costs 810 colones ($1.50) for adults and 485 ($0.85) for kids. If you have a car to bring across, the cost is about 12000 colones ($21.00).
One aboard, the ride is very comfortable. You can find an air-conditioned passenger deck, where you may purchase food, drinks, and alcohol if you’re feeling up it. The sunset ferry often has music and dancing, which can be a lot of fun. However, most rides are peaceful and offer fantastic views of the surrounding area. If you are bringing a car on the ferry, it is recommended that you arrive a good 30 minutes early to grab a space. The busiest day for the ferry is usually a Friday, and if you are traveling in high season, it is good to get there a couple of hours before the departure time if possible. If you find the wait time is too long, and you feel like a drive, you can drive north around the bay, which will take about four hours.
Once you depart the ferry in Paquera, you will drive toward Cobano. This is a 45-minute drive. Once at Cobano, you will want to take a left turn which will take you to Montezuma. Once in Montezuma, follow the beach road. You will come to a place called Hotel Amor de Mar. Here you will see a paved road that travels up the hill, and if you drive up for ½ km, there will be a sign for Anamaya, which means you are very close to Awaken Retreats/Rancho Delicioso.
From Puntarenas to Paquera:
5 am / 9 am / 11 am / 2 pm / 5 pm / 8:30 pm
From Paquera to Puntarenas:
5:30 am / 9 am / 11 am / 2 pm / 5 pm / 8 pm
The schedule for both ferries is subject to change and does so every few months. For up to date information, please contact the following number:
(506) 2661-2084, then press 4 (Menus are in Spanish).
Other travel options
Private Taxi: You also have the option of taking a private taxi, either from the Airport, or San Jose city. However, bear in mind that if your schedule does not match the ferries, then you will be forced to wait for the next one. A taxi with an English speaking driver will cost you anywhere between $200 and $250, for the entire journey.
Water Taxi: You can also drive or taxi from San Jose to Jaco. Here, you will be able to take a speedboat which will drop you off in Montezuma. These boats leave Jaco at 10:30 AM and return from Montezuma at 9:30 AM. This is a great option if you wish to see wildlife. There are usually Dolphins, manta rays and sea turtles along the journey.
If you wish to book a speed boat, use the link here.
Accommodation near SJO Airport
Adventure Inn: $70-80 – http://www.adventure-inn.com/
Flor de Mayo: $60-$65 – A favorite for travelers conscious of their health. Here you will find a lovely botanical garden, an organic farm, lovely walking trails, dozens of different species of bird, and free breakfast. It is only five minutes from the airport.
Vida Tropical B&B: $38 – A welcome and comfortable alternative to cold and overpriced hostels. https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/180442?s=rsafstc9