Getting to Gandoca
Gandoca is a beach town located in the southern Caribbean side of Costa Rica just north of the border with Panama. There are several ways to get there.
Travel Details and Tips
GETTING TO COSTA RICA: You'll want to fly into San Jose. Remember to check entry requirements and to have an exit ticket to show you'll be leaving the country before the end of your visa. Most countries are granted a 90 day travel visa upon arrival. In San Jose you can use Uber but they cannot pick you up right outside of the airport where the taxis are. DO NOT get into a taxi in San Jose without agreeing on a price - they will take advantage of you. There is not Uber in the Caribbean and taxis are generally fine to use, but it's always good practice to agree on a price before you get in. It's not easy to get to Gandoca the same day you land and it's usually easier to spend a night in San Jose or the Caribbean on your way.
GETTING TO THE CARIBBEAN: From San Jose you can take a bus, shuttle or private taxi.
BUS: Go to the MEPE Station to catch a bus to Puerto Viejo or Sixaola. You cannot buy tickets online but you can purchase them at the station in advance. The schedule changes often and the bus times are not listed online. There tend to always be a 6am, 10am, and afternoon bus. The ride is 4-7 hours based on traffic, weather, and construction and costs around $12.
SHUTTLE: Caribe Shuttle is a great service. They can either take you to Puerto Viejo, Manzanillo, or Sixaola. To get to Sixaola you'll need to book a shuttle to Bocas Del Toro and get off at Sixaola (which is at the border to Panama). Shuttles can pick you up in San Jose at various locations including the airport.
CAR: The easiest and most direct way would be to rent a car or hire a driver. This is the most expensive option. We recommend Viktor (+506 8682 8075) who is reliable and has reasonable prices.
WHITE WATER RAFTING: Yes, that's right. Expladores Outdoors will pick you up in San Jose, take you on a 4 hour rafting adventure, and drop you in Puerto Viejo for $99. Breakfast and lunch are even included!
GETTING TO GANDOCA:
FROM SIXAOLA: It's a short 15 KM taxi ride to Gandoca that costs $10-15. You can find a taxi in Sixaola or we recommend these two drivers from Gandoca who you can reach on Whatsapp. Bareta (+506 8432 3480) and Marcus (+506 7239 4643).
FROM MANZANILLO: THIS IS ONLY FOR THE ADVENTEROUS WHO'RE TRAVELING WITH A BACKPACK. Though Manzanillo is close to Gandoca, there is no road between them because of the wildlife refuge. It's not recommended to hike alone, but we can help you find a guide and you can even get a horseback ride all the way to Gandoca. The hike is 3-4 hours in total. There's also a boat that can get you to Punta Mona and from there it's an hour along the beach to Gandoca.
FROM PUERTO VIEJO: From Puerto you can get to Manzanillo by bus or taxi, take a bus to Sixaola, or get a taxi direct to Gandoca (usually about $50).