Last updated on February 14th, 2024 at 12:07 pm
If you’re planning a Costa Rica itinerary, you might hear about the ferry from Paquera to Puntarenas. It’s a great way of crossing from the Nicoya Peninsula and the wonderful beaches there to San Jose, Monteverde or Manuel Antonio.
The Puntarenas ferry is often a quicker way of travelling from the peninsula to the mainland than going around the Gulf of Nicoya by car. Here’s all you need to know about the ferry from Paquera to Puntarenas.
Getting to the Paquera and Puntarenas Ferry Terminals
The Paquera Ferry Terminal is in the small town of Paquera, on the southern tip of the Nicoya Peninsula. It’s a transport hub with opportunities for onward transport via bus or taxi.
The ferry from Paquera to Puntarenas is a car ferry which is convenient if you’re renting a car during your trip to Costa Rica.
You can also purchase a ticket as a foot passenger if you’re travelling without a car. It will take you approximately an hour to get from Paquera to Montezuma, two and a quarter hours to Samara and two and a half hours to Tamarindo.
While you’re in Paquera, why not think about doing a Bioluminescence Kayaking Tour? It’s one of the best spots in Costa Rica to see bioluminescence at night. Read about our experience of Bioluminescent Kayaking at Bahia Rica here.
The Puntarenas ferry terminal is located in the city of Puntarenas on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. Puntarenas is approximately one and a half hours from San Jose, just over one and a half hours to Monteverde and just under two and a half hours from Manuel Antonio.
The Puntarenas Ferry Schedule
There are up to eight ferries per day between Puntarenas and Paquera. The current schedule is as follows, but please take a look at the website for the most up-to-date times:
Ferries from Puntarenas and Paquera go at the same times in each direction:
Puntarenas Ferry Tickets
You can book tickets for the Punteranas ferry in advance online, and I would recommend that you do this in high season (particularly over Christmas, in January and February and at Easter).
You can purchase tickets at the ferry terminal, and this can sometimes be the best option if you are unsure which ferry you’ll be getting. Be prepared to wait for longer, however.
If you’ve purchased your ticket in advance, you’ll usually be fast-tracked and be able to get on to the ferry quite quickly. We saw a long line of cars at the Puntarenas ferry terminal waiting to purchase tickets, whereas we could drive straight to the front of the ferry queue since we’d bought ours in advance.
You’ll only need to book in advance if you have a car. If you’re a foot passenger you won’t need to.
TIP: We had trouble booking our ticket on the English version of the website. If you experience the same or it implies tickets are sold out, try the Spanish version. It worked for us!
Even if the website tells you that all tickets are sold out, it is worth still heading to the ferry terminal. They can only allocate a certain number of tickets for online purchases, so there will be tickets available at the terminal if you get there at a reasonable time.
The website to book your tickets on is www.quickpaycr.com. If you’re on the Spanish version of the website, choose which direction you want to travel in under ‘Salida y Destino’, then choose the date and time. Click on ‘Siguiente’, then select whether you are travelling with a car or as a foot passenger under ‘Tipo Di Servicio’. You’ll need to add the type of vehicle if you’re driving (for example, SUV), the number of passengers and the number plate, plus your phone number and email address.
How Much is the Ferry to Puntarenas?
It costs $24 per car one way, and $1.50 per passenger. You’ll need to pay for each passenger as well as for your car.
What To Expect on The Ferry from Paquera to Puntarenas
The ferry journey lasts 70 minutes and takes in some impressive scenery so grab yourself a seat and enjoy.
The ferry has three decks in total. The bottom deck is for parked cars only and you’re not allowed on this deck during the journey. Make sure you don’t leave any valuables in your car when you leave it.
The upper two decks include both indoor and outdoor seating. There’s plenty of seating (and tables) so you’re unlikely to have any trouble finding somewhere to sit. The middle deck contains indoor seating with air conditioning and you might prefer to sit here if you struggle with the heat.
The top deck has a canopy over the top but it can get quite hot up here. It’s where you’ll find the best views though!
There are restrooms and a cafe on board, serving drinks and snacks including empanadas, chips, cakes, biscuits and more and there’s also a bar. The servers at the cafe seemed reluctant to take dollars so you might be better off ensuring you have some colones with you.
Getting the Ferry from Puntarenas to Paquera
We found that the process at both the Puntarenas Ferry Terminal and Paquera Ferry Terminal was quite similar. Paquera is a smaller ferry terminal and less busy than Puntarenas. We managed to get on board slightly quicker there.
Make sure you arrive at the ferry terminal half an hour before your ferry is due to leave. Departure times are above (as noted, these are the same as the departure times for the ferry from Paquera to Puntarenas).
From Paquera there are buses which go to Cobano, Montezuma and Santa Teresa. Taxis are also available.
To help you with your travel plans in Costa Rica, check out The Ultimate 3 Week Costa Rica Itinerary for Families.
For more information on when to visit Costa Rica, head to What Is The Best Time To Visit Costa Rica? Planning Your Trip