Hiring a Driver in Costa Rica – Morpho Vans Review – Costa Rica Shuttle Service

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Hiring a driver in Costa Rica? In this Morpho Vans review, we’ll talk about how we got from the airport in San Jose to Puerto Viejo. This long drive was made so much better thanks to Morpho Vans. If you’re interested in hiring a driver in Costa Rica, this Morpho Vans review should convince you of who to contact first.

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Hiring a Driver in Costa Rica – Best Costa Rica Shuttle Service

During a recent father-son trip to Costa Rica, I wanted to try the various forms of Costa Rica transportation. I wanted to try the public buses and I wanted to try a private driver in order to compare. We’re thrilled to work with Morpho Vans as part of our Costa Rica travel experience. In fact, we happily recommend Morpho Vans for Costa Rica private transportation. After reading through the many glowing reviews of their Costa Rica shuttle service, I contacted them about the 4.5-hour ride to Puerto Viejo. This is Morpho Vans review details our experience.

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Summary — Morpho Vans Review

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Interested in our Morpho Vans review but don’t have time to read the whole thing? Here’s a quick summary and why you should choose Morpho Vans when hiring a driver in Costa Rica.

  • The driver was charming, prompt and professional.
  • The van itself had comfortable seats and air conditioning.
  • Wifi was also available in the van, (but internet and phone range were spotty when driving through the mountains).
  • Morpho Vans provides car seats upon request (asking in advance is always a good idea)
  • Bring water and snacks if your drive is long like ours. Or ask your driver to stop and pick some up.
  • Some roads are bumpy and/or curvy. Bring motion sickness medicine if you or your family needs it.
  • Morpho Vans can pick you up or drop you off at over 50 destinations in Costa Rica.
  • The local buses are much cheaper but much less comfortable, and there’s no guaranteed seating.
  • Hiring a driver in Costa Rica also means door-to-door service, rather than negotiating taxis to and from the bus station.
  • The Morpho Vans Website

The Airport Pickup — Morpho Vans Review

sign at arrivals - Morpho Vans Review - Hiring a Driver in Costa Rica - Costa Rica Shuttle Service

We had several things to do once we arrived at San Jose International Airport. We had baggage to claim, SIM cards to purchase, and local money to acquire. This took a while, so it was nice to know we had a Costa Rican driver waiting for us. When we walked out of the arrivals gate and onto the street, there were many Costa Rican drivers waiting. You could take a taxi to the bus station right away if you wanted. For us, however, hiring a driver in Costa Rica for the first day was the way to go. Our driver Robert had a sign with my name on it, and within minutes of exiting the airport, we were on our way.

Robert’s van was parked a few hundred yards from the exit, and he helped us put our bags in the back. Then he opened the door for us and my son and I climbed in. There was room for three in the back, with two bucket seats in the middle. Five would fit with plenty of room, while seven could fit a little more snugly.

We control the AC

Robert then told us how to control the air conditioning. This felt great after stepping into the ubiquitous sauna that is daily life in Costa Rica. The temperature at 10:30 that morning was around 30ºC/86ºF and 85% humidity. Not used to that level of heat and humidity? Then hiring a driver in Costa Rica with a climate-controlled vehicle is a welcome luxury.

Wifi Onboard

Next, Robert told us how to use the wifi. Yes, the van had its own wifi router, so we could contact Keiko and the girl in San Miguel and tell them we landed safely. Actually, we had bought SIM cards for our phone already, but not everyone does that. Besides, using Morpho Vans’ wifi allowed us to save our cell data for when we really needed it. If you’re considering hiring a driver in Costa Rica, consider if they have wifi in the vehicle. Buses don’t have wifi. Nor do they have charging ports. I needed to charge my dying phone, so this was an added benefit to using a private shuttle from San Jose.

All this had happened within the first five minutes out of the San Jose airport. Now that we were loaded, connected, and cooled down, Robert told us the plan. He advised us to get out of San Jose city first, then we could grab something to eat on the way. He told us that something very unusual was happening that day: a country-wide strike was happening. This had just begun the day before we arrived, and he wasn’t sure how it would affect our drive. With our permission, he said, he’d like to go ahead and get out of the city and on our way. We agreed, and we were off.

Little did we know that this strike would make us even more grateful to be hiring a driver in Costa Rica. We were very lucky to be working with Morpho Vans and writing this Morpho Vans review on this particular day. It will become clear as you read.

The Ride: Hiring a Driver in Costa Rica

Van father-son portrait - Morpho Vans Review - Hiring a Driver in Costa Rica - Costa Rica Shuttle Service

Robert pulled out of the San Jose Airport parking lot and we were on our way. Robert was a local — born and raised near San Jose — but his English was clear and easy to understand. In fact, he had lived in New Jersey for many years and told us a little about the experience after we asked. Robert was a safe and considerate driver, maintaining a conversation with us but watching the road and not taking risks. We talked about soccer. For example, my son loves the team Real Madrid, and their star goalie is Costa Rican. He was surprised to discover that Robert was a Barcelona fan.

We also talked about many aspects of Costa Rica and what makes it special and unique — both in Latin America and the world. What I found most interesting are Costa Rican politics, which were particularly interesting right now. Why now? Well for starters, a strike like what was happening on this particular day would not happen in many Latin American countries. The police would show up, possibly beat or shoot a few protesters, and it would be over. I don’t know if the strike was a good or a bad thing (and we heard varying opinions). But the fact that it happens peacefully in Costa Rica? That is interesting and important.

The Road: Costa Rica Private Transportation

tunnel morpho

Once out of central San Jose, we climbed a higher and entered a national park. All around us was lush hillsides covered in jungle canopy. The road was winding, with lots of 18-wheeler trucks hauling bananas and pineapples from companies like Dole and Del Monte.

Eventually, we came to a tunnel, and for the biggest surprise of our ride. On one side of the tunnel, the air was warm and the sun gave everything a warm glint. On the other side of the tunnel, however, there was a completely different climate. It was overcast, and a mist hung in the air. Everything had a blueish hue. That soon dissipated as we descended towards Costa Rica’s eastern shores. But it surprised us just how different two sides of one mountain can be.

The road continued to rise and fall, with many sharp turns. If you or anyone in your family is prone to motion sickness, make sure to bring your favorite remedy. My son and I don’t have that problem, but when we return, I know that my wife and daughter will want to take some motion sickness medicine before we hit the road. In addition, Costa Rican streets are not the smoothest I’ve ridden. There are potholes; there are rocky roads: there are speed bumps. Unless you’re Luke Skywalker’s land speeder from Star Wars, you’ll have a bumpy ride here and there. Not the entire way — the main roads are fine — but the occasional rough patch can be enough to wake little ones. Despite this, I can tell you from first-hand experience that hiring a driver in Costa Rica is a much more comfortable way to go.

The Strike: Hiring a Driver in Costa Rica

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When we arrived, the labor unions of Costa Rica had just begun a strike that would bog down major roads leaving the city. This does not happen in Costa Rica often. In fact, I was told by some locals that a strike of this magnitude hasn’t happened in decades. And might not happen again for years to come. Just our bad luck that it happened while we were there. As Robert predicted, the strike affected us and everyone else heading to Puerto Viejo. Whether you were on a public bus or on Costa Rica private transportation like we were, the 4.5-hour ride turned into over seven hours. You read that right. Seven hours plus.

This threw off Robert’s plan for our ride. He had a special restaurant to bring us along the way. He also planned to stop by his favorite roadside cafe when I told him I loved Costa Rican coffee. Both of these were scratched from the agenda once Robert saw the traffic ahead of us. At one point, he told us that if it was ok, he would take a shortcut to avoid one jam, but it would mean we skip miss the restaurant. We agreed. Thanks to this decision, we ate later, but probably saved 30+ minutes of drive time.

The Bus VS Costa Rica Drivers

Driver in Van 1 - Morpho Vans Review - Hiring a Driver in Costa Rica - Costa Rica Shuttle Service

After our time in Puerto Viejo was over, we took the public bus back to San Jose. We were hoping that the strike would be over by then, but unfortunately, it was not. This is when we truly appreciated hiring a driver in Costa Rica. To be clear: the Costa Rica transportation system works, and taking the bus to and from San Jose is a safe and reasonably priced option. Having said that, I can tell you that hiring a driver in Costa Rica was much more comfortable, convenient and relaxing. For example, there are no reserved seats on Costa Rican buses. you have to just arrive early and don’t let anyone break in line. The seats were comfortable, but they didn’t lean back.

Most importantly, there was no air conditioning on the bus. No wifi either, of course, but with no aircon, the ride often felt like a sauna. It was cool when the bus was moving, but with the strike and resulting traffic, the bus was not moving a lot if the time. In situations like this, sitting in a climate-controlled van, with wifi and a Costa Rican driver is the way to go.

A final benefit of hiring a driver in Costa Rica is that you have door-to-door service. When we take the bus — and we take the bus often — we must get to and from the bus station. That means extra taxi rides. Sometimes it’s worth the extra effort, but then there are times when you must leave early or arrive late. That means sleepy kids (and possibly sleepy parents). Having one less trip can make a difference sometimes.

Have You Hired a Driver in Costa Rica?

Tell us about your experience. Have you hired a driver in Costa Rica? Have you used a Costa Rica shuttle service, or ridden the Costa Rican buses? Which would you use when you visit Costa Rica next?

Further Reading:

Read about our time at La Kukula Lodge, a great eco-hotel in Puerto Viejo

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Disclosure: Morpho Vans partially sponsored our ride to Puerto Viejo, but my opinions are my own. Like this Morpho Vans Review states, I would recommend using their private shuttle services without reservation. 

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