Liberia To Monteverde – 4 Best Ways To Travel

Are you wondering what is the best way to get from Liberia to Monteverde?

Costa Rica, the land of jungles, volcanos, beaches and of course the beloved sloth. One of the most special places to visit, especially if you are a lover of wildlife. One journey you may find yourself doing is from Liberia to Monteverde.

When we visited Costa Rica, the first place we visited was Liberia. It is fairly common to arrive there if travelling from Nicaragua. It is also a popular airport to fly to. We spent a few days in Liberia and then decided to go to Monteverde for 2 days, which meant figuring out how to get there.

Luckily for you, we did all the research on the different ways to get from Liberia to Monteverde and came up with the 4 best options; Renting a car, taking a shuttle bus, public transport, and private transfer.

We ended up opting for the private transfer but in this post, I am going to go into full detail on each option, so that you can choose the best one for you.

If you are still in the planning stages and wondering if Costa Rica is worth visiting then check out our post with all the reasons why it definitely is!

4 Ways To Get From Liberia To Monteverde

Here are the 4 best ways to get from Liberia to Monteverde in Costa Rica. For each option, I will also explain how to get from the airport to the specific mode of transport, in case you do not plan to stay in Liberia.

Map showing the route from Liberia to Monteverde in Costa Rica

1 – Rent a Car

One thing we wish we had done differently when we visited Costa Rica was having a rental car. Costa Rica is totally safe to drive as a tourist and having your own car will give you total freedom over your time.

We made the mistake of looking for a car too late and most were already taken or ridiculously expensive. The key is to search for your rental car and book it several months in advance. The earlier the better!

I would always recommend using a site like Discover Cars to search for the best car for you and compare prices to get the best deal. Plus if you book through them, you will get free cancellation right up until the last minute should your travel plans change, which is super useful.

🚙 Search for your perfect rental car in Costa Rica using Discover Cars here!

When looking for a great deal on a car for your trip, it’s good to know you can select to pick up the car directly from Liberia Airport or from Liberia city centre.

I did a quick search to see what the price would be searching 4 months in advance and you can get a car for as little as $120 per week for a small manual car! The cheapest automatic car was $140 for the week. As you will soon see this is cheaper than the cost of a private driver for just this journey, but you will have the car every day.

Just keep in mind that there may be some extra costs if you want to add additional insurance, an additional driver or if the main driver is under 25 etc. You will also need to factor in fuel costs, which at the time of writing this post are around $5 per Gallon/ $1.34 per Litre.

Renting a car is the best way to travel when following our full 3 week itinerary for Costa Rica.

Road Conditions in Costa Rica

It is also handy to note that even though the main roads throughout the country are all in great condition and well-maintained, there are also a lot of side roads and more off-beat tracks. These can be gravel tracks or even take you through river crossings. If you don’t rent a 4×4 then you will most likely not be able to drive these roads.

Always check before you set off that, your satnav is taking you on main roads and not having a laugh at your expense.

Our driver wanted to take us the scenic route and we got stuck on a super steep gravel track road that his car just could not get up. We had to turn around and go back for miles to use the main road, adding about another hour to our journey.

a gravel track going up and over a hill in Costa Rica on the way to Monteverde

How long does it take to drive from Liberia to Monteverde?

If you do opt to drive yourself, the route from Liberia to Monteverde is only 116km/ 72 miles which should take no more than 2.5 hours.

2 – Shared Shuttle Bus

Another option that you can take directly from Liberia Airport to Monteverde is a shared shuttle service. There is one company that runs this service with 2 daily shuttles to choose from. One at 9:30 am and one at 3:15 pm.

The company is called Interbus and you can book your tickets directly with them. A ticket for an adult is $65.55. The journey should take around 2.5 – 3 hours.

If you have stayed in Liberia, keep in mind that you will need to take a taxi back to the airport to catch this shuttle.

The reason we didn’t opt for this was that once you factor in the cost of 2 tickets and a taxi ride the price is similar to a private transfer, which I will cover shortly. But had we landed at the airport and wanted to go straight to Liberia then this service would have been ideal.

** I did find another option for a shuttle from Liberia city centre to Monteverde through BookAway. This one is also at 3:15 pm and is $50 per person. However, we have had only bad experiences when we have booked transport through BookAway so I would be careful with this one.

3 – Liberia to Monteverde By Public Transport

The cheapest and most sustainable way to make the journey from Liberia to Monteverde is using public buses. Costa Rica is known for being an expensive destination, so if you are travelling on a budget, this will be your best option.

However, travelling by public transport is also going to be the slowest option by far, taking around 5-6 hours in total.

Firstly if you arrive at the airport you will need to take a bus into the city centre. There are multiple buses that will pass the airport and stop in the city. However, bus number 513 is a good one to look for as it passes every 30 minutes and will cost you around $1 for the 30-minute ride.

From Liberia (Terminal de Buses Municipal de Liberia) you will need to take another 3 buses to get to Monteverde.

Liberia > Canas > Tilaran > Monteverde

  • The bus to Canas departs every 20 minutes. The journey takes around 1 hour and should cost $3.
  • The bus from Canas to Tilaran, will be another 1 hour ride and cost around $1.
  • The final bus to Monteverde will take around 2 hours and cost around $4.

At each stop, I advise just asking around for where and when to catch the next bus. The people in Costa Rica usually spoke pretty good English and were always happy to help.

You can also use this really great website for more details on using public transport in Costa Rica.

My top tip, if you plan to take public transport is to start your journey as early as you can. The first bus to Canas starts at 4:30 am. This way you will always have plenty of options and time to catch the next bus and will arrive in daylight.

inside a bus station in Costa Rica with several public buses waiting

4 – By Private Transfer

Lastly, the option that we went with in the end is to travel by private transfer. Not a taxi, but a pre-booked private driver.

Hailing a taxi on the street to take you, would not only be a challenge to get someone to accept but would also cost a lot more.

We used the website to get a quote and book our driver. As I mentioned before we normally wouldn’t choose such an expensive option as we like to try and travel on more of a budget. But the cost was pretty much the same as booking the shared shuttle for 2 people and taking a taxi to the airport to catch the shuttle.

We instead decided we would love to be picked up from our hotel and have a car to ourselves for a change. We could also pick the exact time we wanted to travel rather than having to use one of the 2 times the shared shuttle departs.

We also got really lucky and our driver was lovely. He was happy for us to stop to use the bathroom and offered to stop so we could buy snacks too if we wanted.

The private service cost us $150 in total. It should have taken the same amount of time as driving yourself, around 2.5 hours. However, as I mention we had a slight detour thanks to our enthusiastic driver trying to show us his beautiful country but his poor car being unable to handle the roads.

Remember to book this type of service you will usually need to request the car at least the day before you wish to travel so that they can find a driver for you.

*** TOP TIP – there is Uber in parts of Costa Rica, such as San Jose and Liberia but they usually won’t do a journey as long as this one.

Don’t forget to stay connected on your trip.
We use Airalo for convenient online sim cards or if you prefer a physical chip then Claro or Tigo are the best options once you arrive.

Where To Stay In Monteverde

We loved Monteverde and the cloud forest, so we are thrilled you are going to visit this wonderful place too. To help you out a little more with your planning, here are a couple of suggestions on great places to stay based on where we stayed and other places we saw.

Budget Option – Hostel Paco House

This is the guest house we stayed at for around $22 per night. We had a large private room and a private bathroom. Breakfast was included and cooked for us by the lovely woman who owns the place. The location of this guest house was great, just outside of the main town but only a couple of minutes walk to be in the centre.

🏠 Book your cosy and affordable stay at Hostel Paco House Here!

Mid-Range Option – Freddy’s Place B&B

Just a little further up the road out of town is Freddy’s Place B&B. This bright and modern B&B is well-loved for its location and super welcoming hosts who will happily help you plan out your time in Monteverde and give you insider tips on what to do in the area.

🏠 Check out Freddy’s Place B&B to see why it has a 9-star rating!

High-End Option – Chira Glamping Monteverde

If you have the budget to splurge on a more luxury accommodation then it has to be Chira Glamping. They have incredibly high ratings and it’s obvious why. Their glamorous, glamping, bubble, pods (not sure what they really call them) are fully equipped with luxury interiors and clear fronts.

Located up on the hillside, each unit has a private balcony that looks out over the valley. You can even see them from down in the town. What a dreamy way to start and end each day.

🏠 Take a look for yourself at these special glamping units with incredible views!

a girl walking in a green hanging bridge in Monteverde Costa Rica

Liberia to Monteverde FAQs

Now that you have everything you need to know to get you from Liberia to Monteverde, let’s cover a few last questions that you may have about the journey.

How far is it from Liberia to Monteverde?

The distance between Liberia and Monteverde in Costa Rica is 116km or 72 Miles.

What is the best way to get from Liberia to Monteverde?

The best way to get from Liberia to Monteverde is by car. Even better if you are driving yourself in a rental car. But a private driver is a good alternative. Driving yourself will also be the quickest way to do the journey.

Is It hard to drive in Costa Rica?

Driving in Costa Rica is not difficult but may just take a little getting used to. The roads are generally in pretty good condition and there are laws in place to protect drivers. Such as wearing seat belts and speed limits.

However, it is not uncommon for local drivers to ignore all the rules and hurl their cars around as fast as they can.

Because they all tend to do this, they seem to have a pretty good system of working around each other. Just make sure to be extra vigilant and stick to the rules and you will be fine.

Is Monteverde in Costa Rica Safe?

Yes, Monteverde is perfectly safe. In fact, Costa Rica in general is a very safe destination for tourists to visit.

Unlike many locations in Central America, Monteverde is somewhere you can feel totally at ease the whole time and not have to look over your shoulder on the walk back to your hotel in the evening. Which was a refreshing change.

What is the cheapest way to get from Liberia to Monteverde?

The cheapest way to get from Liberia to Monteverde is by public buses which will cost only around $10. It is also the slowest way to make the journey, so keep that in mind.

Can you fly from Liberia to Monteverde?

No, you cannot fly from Liberia to Monteverde because Monteverde does not have an airport.

Unsure if you should visit Costa Rica or Nicaragua, check out my comparison of the two, to see which one appeals to you more.

Views over green rolling hills on the way from Liberia to Monteverde in Costa Rica

Liberia To Monteverde – Final Thoughts

So there you have it. The 4 best ways to get from Liberia to Monteverde in Costa Rica. Keep in mind on during your planning and on your travels that Costa Rica is a relatively expensive destination and if you are travelling on a budget it is going to be a little bit more of a challenge.

This journey is the perfect example of this. There is a cheap option that will be the most work. But if you can afford it there are other easier options at your disposal.

When it comes to travelling around Costa Rica I will always recommend renting a car if you can so that you have total freedom to enjoy this amazing country.