Is Uber in Costa Rica?

Are you traveling to Costa Rica for exploration, adventure, or relaxation? If Costa Rica is on your vacation radar and you want to plan your transportation options, rest assured that Uber is in Costa Rica. However, depending on where you are traveling, you will have more or fewer Uber options.

Uber is in Costa Rica. Uber is consistently a fast and reliable travel option when moving throughout the Central Valley. However, it is harder to find consistent Uber service in more remote locations. 90% of Costa Rican Uber drivers are located near the capital city.

Costa Rica

Uber is in 80 countries around the world and over 10,000 cities globally. There are no issues in Costa Rica when searching for Ubers in the Central Valley. The Central Valley contains the provinces of Alajuela, Heredia, San José and Cartago. On the other hand, it is harder to use Uber in more rural areas. You will have fewer options around many national parks, remote beaches, ecolodges, vacation rental houses, and adventure tourism spots.

Is Uber in Costa Rica?

In Costa Rica, Uber is always just a tap away on your cell phone in the San José area. It is an easy option to use to travel to surrounding towns from the San José Airport. About 90% of Uber drivers are in the Central Valley, leaving many other regions with inconsistent service. Liberia is a city in Guanacaste that also has some Uber options. You can search Uber’s city checker tool to find out more information.

The service began in Costa Rica in 2015, and in 2020 the company planned to extend its business. However, with the outbreak of Covid-19, the plans changed. During the peak of Coronavirus, it was hard to find Uber drives. The government imposed driving restrictions in the country. But in February 2021, a number of the conditions were lifted, making it easier to find a driver.

When you search for an Uber in smaller beach towns like Tamarindo, there is service. But keep in mind, in September 2021, Tamarindo only has 4 Uber drivers, so the wait times may be longer than when you use the service in the city. If you are looking to go a long distance, most often, the driver isn’t willing to take you because the return trip is just too far. Additionally, fares fluctuate a lot throughout the day in more remote locations.  

Using Uber at the Airports

When you fly into Costa Rica, you can arrive at either the Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO) in San José or the Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport (LIR) in Liberia. If you plan on staying in Guanacaste, the northwestern region of the country, then LIR is where you should fly into the country.

The Costa Rican Debate Over Uber

Over the years in Costa Rica, there has been tension between the local red taxis and Uber drivers. The red taxis are unionized. They must follow Costa Rica law and use meters (referred to as a “MARIA”) to regulate the payment rate. In addition, they only accept cash payments.

When Uber first began in Costa Rica, local taxi drivers and officials harassed Uber drivers. This harassment often occurred when picking up at the airport. In the beginning, Costa Rica did not consider Uber a legal business. Private taxi services were never allowed in the country.

But in 2019, the ride shares became legal with the premise that since it is a taxed service, it can’t be illegal. Even with these past issues, Uber has become the norm for both tourists and locals these days.

Uber Eats In Costa Rica

Uber Eats has been available in Costa Rica since 2017. Costa Ricans call a home delivery service “express” or “a domicilio.”

There are 250 affiliate restaurants associated with Uber Eats in Costa Rica. Once again, this service is popular around the capital city, where you can order breakfast, lunch, dinner, or snacks throughout the day. Once you find the restaurant option you want and place your order, you can track its location by the minute until it arrives at your doorstep.

Uber Eats usually delivers to the front reception when ordering from a hotel. To learn about the “best hours for Uber Eats,” click here.

More About Uber

If traveling to Florida, check out more information about requesting Ubers at “how to Uber from Miami airport” and “how to Uber from Orlando airport”.

To learn more about Uber and how it’s different from Lyft, click here (“are Uber and Lyft the same company”).