If you’re planning to visit Montezuma, Tambor, Santa Teresa, Malpaís, Paquera or any beach on the Nicoya Peninsula from San Jose, taking the ferry from Puntarenas to Paquera is one of the best ways to get there.
In this article, you will learn exactly how to take this ferry. We’ll give step by step instructions for buying tickets, how to cross with a car or by foot and how long the ferry is. There is also an instructional video at this end of this post.
Taking the Ferry from Puntarenas to Paquera
Puntarenas Ferry Location
The Puntarenas ferry is at the very end of “Paseo de los Turistas,” the main road that goes through Puntarenas town. If you’re driving from San Jose, the drive is very easy on the highway, taking around 2 hours.
You can put in Google Maps “Naviera Tambor ferry” to get to the ferry dock.
This is the ferry route from the Puntarenas ferry to Paquera.
You will go through the Gulf of Nicoya past some islands into the bay.
Puntarenas Paquera Ferry Schedule
Here is the schedule for the ferry from Puntarena to Paquera.
Puntarenas – Paquera: 7 AM, 10 AM, 12:30 PM, 3 PM and 6 PM.
Paquera – Puntarenas: 6 AM, 10 AM, 12:30 PM, 3 PM and 5 PM.
Purchasing Ferry Tickets Online
You can purchase your ferry ticket online on the Quickpay CR website. The site is in Spanish but you can ask Google to translate it for you. (This is the company’s website, we are not associated or are affiliated with them. This is purely for information. Please contact them if you have any questions).
They only sell a certain number of tickets online so if it says sold out for your dates, the allotted amount of online tickets are sold out. You will have to purchase them at the dock in person.
If you have a rental car, it will ask you for your license plate and you can enter any 6 digit number or put in RENTALCAR.***
When you are purchasing tickets, you need to choose “Vehicle Liviano (automovil)” and the ticket price for the vehicle is 12,882 CRC (~$20 USD). The price of the ticket per person is 810 CRC (~$1.30 USD). They’ll also charge a service fee. It’ll also ask you information such as your email address, passport number and other details. These are the prices per way. If you are purchasing round trip, you’ll need to buy the other half separately.
Once you purchase the tickets, they’ll email you the receipt and confirmation. You need to arrive at the Puntarenas dock 30 minutes before your ferry time.
Purchasing Ferry Tickets in Person
To purchase your ticket in person, you need to go to the ticket office across the street from the ferry dock. It’s on the right hand side with a large blue sign that says “BOLETERIA.”
**If you are traveling on a weekend or during the months of December through April, make sure to arrive at least 1 hour early to purchase tickets in person as those are busy tourism season months. If you are traveling during Christmas, New Years or Easter, I would arrive 2-3 hours early if you can’t purchase tickets beforehand*
When we took the 2 pm ferry, the ticket office didn’t open until 12:45 PM since the workers were on lunch. For our second trip on the ferry, we purchased tickets the night before.
When buying tickets in person, tell the cashier how many adults and children and if you have a car. I bought tickets for me, Yeison and our car so I told the lady “Dos adultos y un carro por favor.”
Taking the Ferry With a Car
If you have a car, you will need to drive onto the car loading area by the dock. There is an officer there that will tell you where to go to wait in line. Once you park in the waiting area, the ferry attendant will ask you for your tickets. If you purchased them online, you can show it to him on your phone.
When driving onto the dock, everyone except the driver must get out and board the boat by foot. Make sure all the foot passengers have their ticket with them as they will have to show it to board the ferry.
The loading time starts about 45 minutes before departure. There is a loud speaker that will announce when it’s time to load the ferry and it is in English and Spanish.
If you’re renting a car, make sure to check out our special Costa Rica car rental discount and extra benefits!
For those traveling without a car, the process is the same. If you’re arriving by bus, you will get off the bus right at the ferry ticket office.
While you wait to board the ferry, there is a nice waiting area under a large white tarp in the dock loading area.
When they start loading the ferry, you will follow the foot passenger line to board the ferry. You’ll show the ticket to the ferry attendant and then board the boat.
The ferry has bathrooms and a cafeteria selling snacks, food, water, coffee and drinks. There are outside seating areas as well as an inside air conditioned cabin with televisions. You can sit anywhere you want.
Please note that face masks are required at all times on the ferry, inside and outside.
As soon as it’s time to leave, they will make an announcement over the loud speaker in English and Spanish.
The ferry from Puntarenas to Paquera takes a little over an hour. You will cruise through the Gulf of Nicoya and the views are beautiful. You’ll see a few islands and other boats.
Getting off the ferry
When the ferry is close to Paquera, you will hear an announcement for drivers to get into their cars. Once the ferry is docked, foot passengers will get off first and then cars.
Once you get off, you can take a taxi, take the bus or drive to your next destination. There are buses from Paquera to Cobano, Montezuma and Santa Teresa.
The bus from Paquera to Montezuma and Santa Teresa is at 6:15, 8:15, 10:15, 12:15, 3:15 PM, 4:30 PM and 6:15 PM.
I asked for the price of a taxi from Paquera ferry dock to Santa Teresa and they told me it is around 30,000 CRC (~$48 USD).
Puntarenas Paquera Ferry Video
Watch a video of us taking the ferry from Puntarenas to Paquera below. You’ll see where the ticket office is, what the ferry is like and how the roads are.
As you can see, taking the ferry from Puntarenas to Paquera is super easy and fun!
If you are taking the Puntarenas ferry to Naranjo, the process is the same (same location) to board. The ticket office is not the same, it’s a little bit down the street from the Paquera ferry and the loading area is right next to the Paquera dock. Here is the schedule and prices.
The Naranjo ferry is a good option if you want to go to Samara.