hdb logo small

FAQ about traveling by Bus in Costa Rica

General questions
  1. What type of buses are available?
  2. Does a direct bus stop between origin and destination?
  3. Are there more then one company running the same route?
  4. What is the price of the bus ride?
  5. Can I book on-line?
  6. Can I pay in US dollars?
  7. Can I pay with credit cards?
  8. Are Buses running on national holidays?
  9. Do busdrivers speak English?
  10. Do buses have toilets?
  11. Tip for any bus change outside the San Jose Area!
  12. What about shuttle services?
Arriving in San Jose   Juan Santamaria Airport
  1. Can I take the bus at the airport?
  2. Do I have to enter to San Jose?
  3. Can I return to San Jose and fly off the same day?
Arriving in Liberia   Daniel Oduber Airport
  1. Do I have to enter Liberia?
International bus connections

Your question is not in this faq? Contact us.


General questions
  1. What type of buses are available? There are "directos" and "ordinarios". "Directos" and "ordinarios" run between the mayor cities. Between smaller locations all buses are "ordinarios". There is no price different between the faster "directos" and the slower "ordinarios". Time difference to final destination is usually not much more then 30 minutes. Additionally there are international bus connections, which have different rules (see International Bus Connections). Qualtity of all buses is normally very good. But in rural areas and around San Jose you may find relay old ones.
  2. Does a direct bus stop between origin and destination? Yes it does, but only at the highway.  So you have to go to the highway to get it. 
  3. Are there more then one company running the same route? Usually not, but along the main highways run several companies to different paces passing trough the same villages along the way. In this cases you have different companies running the same route and the choice to take witch ever you please (the first one!!).
  4. What is the price of the bus ride? Traveling from the Nicaraguan to the Panamanian border costs less then 20 US Dollars. So your fair should be far below. 60 kilometers cost around 2 dollars. 
  5. Can I book on-line? No it is not possible to purchase on-line tickets or make on-line reservation. If you don't get on the bus at the terminal, some companies let you make telephone reservations the same day of travel. Only in this case you have to pay then the driver.
  6. Can I pay in US dollars? Only local Colones are accepted in domestic buses. Make sure you have small bills of 1000 and 2000 Colones, if you don't get on the bus at the terminal. If you run out of Colones you will not have any problems of changing small amounts of dollars anywhere.
  7. Can I pay with credit cards ?  No, only cash.
  8. Are Buses running on national holidays? Buses on Christmas, Eastern and some national holidays are less in the San Jose area. But more buses are running extra service to the beaches and to the Nicaraguan border. There are nation wide NO buses on December 25 and Holy Friday. so don't plan to travel those days.
  9. Do bus drivers speak English?Usually not, but you will find someone on the bus, how can translate, if you have a problem.
  10. Do buses have toilets? No they don't. Only international bus lines have usually toilets. All bus travels over 4 hours have to stop by law for at least 15-20 minutes. Which they normally do.
  11. Tip for any bus change outside the San Jose Area! If you have to change buses for any reason outside the San Jose area, tell the driver in advance. He will stop the right bus for you on the way if this is passing by. The drivers will be pleased to stop all traffic, to have a talk and to let you change buses. Works not always, but often enough.
  12. What about shuttle services? Yes there are shuttle services. They are expensive, about ten times the normal fare and not relay faster. Picking up a lot of people on 10 different sites and bringing them to 10 different sites can by annoying. Nevertheless if you don't want to care of anything, it maybe right fore you.
to the schedules   top
Arriving in San Jose   Juan Santamaria Airport
  1. Can I take the bus at the airport? You can. There are two bus stops. The main bus stop is on the road around the airport, just behind the parking building (see map). From there you can take buses to San Jose, Alajuela and Heredia. Also all buses coming along the "Interamericanan norte" stop there on there way back to San Jose. Just tell the driver in advance that you want to get of at the airport.
    There is also a bus stop at the highway where you can stop all buses going to the North. The bus stop is a hut about 500 meters from the airport. The area is not relay pleasant and difficult to access. If you hiding North with luggage you better take point 2 into consideration.
    Airport
    to the schedules   top
  2. Do I have to enter to San Jose? You do have to enter San Jose, if you travel to the South or the Caribbean Coast. If you travel to the North including all Liberia, Nicoya, Puntarenas, Jaco, Manuel Antonio, La Fortuna etc. you can travel via Alajuela. All "ordinarios" coming from San Jose and hieding north stop in Alajuela. The log distance bus stop is on the way from Alajuela to the Airport at the "Centro Comercial La Parada". To get there take a Alajuela bus at the airport and get off there, or take a taxi for about 4 dollars and tell the driver you want to get off at the long distance bus stop and don't trusted them, if they say there isn't, 'cause they want to take you to San Jose.
    Buses to Liberia, Cuidad Quesada, La Fortuna, Atenas, San Ramon, Palmares are frequent.If you hiding for Puntarenas or Nicoya take any Bus and change at San Ramon or Baranca,
    Less buses are available to Jaco, Quepos and Manuel Antonio, therefore take any Atenas bus and change there.
    On the way back buses don't enter Alajuela any more. But they do stop at the Airport. Tell the driver your destinations anyway.
  3. Can I return to San Jose and fly off the same day? Well you can, but it isn't recommendable. Locals, which don't live in the San Jose area, stay a night near the airport. If you don't want to get surprised, do the same.
to the schedules   top
Arriving in Liberia  Daniel Oduber Airport
  1. Do I have to enter Liberia? No you don't if you traveling to the Nicoya Peninsula. Walk from the Terminal about 300 meters to the highway. There any Bus will stop you. On your way back, they also drop you there.  
to the schedules   top
International bus connections
Buses on international connections are not allowed to carry passengers on inland connections. They also are supposed to refuse boarding without ticket, but sometimes, if empty, they do. International buses aren't usually faster than an inland connection to the border, walk trough the border and getting an continuing connection on the other side. But they are much more comfortable, usually with toilet and you don't have to carry around your baggage. They are usually more expensive then the same trip with inland connections, and they cost the same independently where you get on and where you get off, therefore it is not very useful to use them to get from the last town before the border to the first town after the border.
If you have an inland connection before you can get on the international bus, always check with a local agent of the international bus company where you can get on the international bus.

© 2017 thebusschedule.com  - all rights reserved. - Site map