San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Bridging the Gap

AIR travel isn’t the only new mode of transport to Guanacaste. The long-awaited TaiwanFriendshipBridge over the TempisqueRiver opened just one year ago, and has quickened travel to the inland cities of Santa Cruz and Nicoya, as well as to the beaches from Tamarindo south to Sámara.

The government of Taiwan financed the entire $26 million cost of the project, hence the bridge’s name. Traffic zips across the 780-meter span at 60 km/hr.

The bridge sounded the death knell for the then-27-year-old Tempisque Ferry, which crossed the river in 30 minutes, with travel time increased by long waits to board on either side, especially on weekends. The bridge spans the river near the southern limits of Palo Verde National Park, a few kilometers north of the old ferry crossing.

ALTERNATIVELY, traffic used to travel north via Liberia, then south again, a prospect that added two hours on to the trip.

“Everyone is so happy to have saved two hours getting here,” says Miriam Schaerer of Nosara’s Lagarta Lodge. She adds that she has noticed an increase in bookings since the bridge opened.

Cars frequently stop at the parking lot at the west end of the bridge, passengers getting out to admire the structure and take photos.


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