For travelers who desire more flexibility, renting a car and driving from San Jose can sometimes be a better option than arranged transportation. The highway from San Jose to Puntarenas is an easy drive. However, once you arrive in Puntarenas, the ferry can be a bit more confusing. Start, by arriving about 30-45 minutes early. If this is a weekend, or holiday time, we would suggest arriving an hour ahead of time to make sure you can get your car on the ferry. The ferry schedule leaves about every 3 hours, so you don’t want to have to wait around for the next one. Once you find the line to wait in, park your car and find the little ticket window.
This can be tricky, but look for a short line of people. The ticket window is located inside a bakery on the corner. Once you purchase your ticket, you can go back to the car. They will tell you as you pull your car on, but no passengers (besides the driver) are allowed in the vehicle as it’s being parked on the ferry, so your travel companions will have to get out and walk and meet you on the ferry.Once on the ferry, the upper deck is an open area with seating, snacks, drinks and music. Downstairs, you’ll find a large air conditioned space with seating, more snacks and drinks. The ferry ride in total takes about an hour and a half. There are wonderful views of the Gulf of Nicoya and if you are riding in the evening, you will likely get some magical sunset colors.
Once you arrive in Paquera, again the passengers will not be allowed in the vehicle, so the driver will need to wait in the car while others walk off. The seen on the other side can seem a bit chaotic with taxis and buses waiting for people. It’s best to tell your travel companions to walk a bit ahead of the traffic so that you can pick them up. Once on your way, it’s another hour or so of driving to Montezuma!