Travelling by bus in Costa Rica

Costa Rica bus

Travelling by bus may take a fairly long time but it is an economically friendly way to travel Costa Rica. The buses are good quality and comfortable and travelling by land means you don't miss any of the beautiful Costa Rican landscape.

For most companies you can buy your tickets previously in the terminal or even on the internet. However, those that do not have ticket offices in the station will allow you to buy your ticket directly from the driver on boarding the bus.

San José's Coca-Cola terminal is a busy and bustling place where almost all the buses go from. You can get to pretty much anywhere in Costa Rica from here, although you can also head northwards from the Terminal del Atlántico Norte, east to Limón from the Gran terminal del Caribe or South from the Terminal Musoc.

Buses leave San José city frequently to the following city, beach and national park destinations:

Where? How long?
Alajuela 40 minutes
Cahuita National Park 3 hours 45min
Cartago 1 hour
Heredia 20 minutes
Irazú Volcano National Park 1.5 hours (weekends only)
Jacó Beach 3 hours
La Fortuna 4.5 hours
Liberia 4 hours
Manuel Antonio National Park 4 hours
Monteverde 4.5 hours
Poás Volcano National Park 5 hours
Playa del Coco 5 hours
Playa Flamingo 6 hours
Playa Tamarindo 5 hours
Puerto Limón 3 hours
Puntarenas 2.5 hours
Sarchí 1.5 hours

The other key cities in Costa Rica also have regular bus services to onward destinations:

Alajuela: The terminal de autobuses de Alajuela has regular buses to and from the Juan Santamaría Airport, San José and the following popular tourist attractions.

Heredia 20 minutes
Sarchí 30 minutes
Butterfly Museum 30 minutes
Zoo Ave 30 minutes

Heredia: There is no main bus terminal here but buses leave from different stops around the city.

San José (Avenida 4, between C/1 and C/ Central) 20 minutes
Barva, for Braulio Carrillo National Park (C/Central, between C/1 and 2) 20 minutes
Alajuela (Corner of Avenida Central and C/9) 20 minutes

Liberia: The two terminals in this city and frequent buses make it a great place to head to the beautiful beaches of the Nicoya Peninsula. The Pullmitan Terminal is at Avenida 5, between Calles 10 and 12, and the Terminal Liberia is at Avenue 7, between Calles 12 and 14.

Playa del Coco (Pullmitan Terminal) 1 hour
Playa Hermosa (Terminal Liberia) 1 hour 15 minutes
Playa Tamarindo (Terminal Liberia) 2 hours
San José (Pullmitan Terminal) 4 hours

Puerto Limón: This capital of the Caribbean coast also has two terminals which connect it with the rest of the country. The Terminal del Caribe is located at Avenida 2, between Calles 7 and 8, and Autotransportes Mepe is at Avenida 4, between Calles 2 and 4.

Cahuita National Park (Autotransportes Mepe) 1.5 hours
Manzanillo (Autotransportes Mepe) 2.5 hours
Moin (to get to Tortuguero National Park - Terminal del Caribe) 20 minutes
Puerto Viejo (Autotransportes Mepe) 2.5 hours
San José (Terminal del Caribe) 3 hours

There are also various international bus companies which travel around Latin America. Ticabus is a well trusted firm which has comfy buses to/from Costa Rica, Panama, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala and Mexico.