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Air

International flights leave from Juan Santamaría (SJO) airport outside Alajuela.

Aeropuerto Internacional Juan Santamaría Handles international flights in its main terminal. Domestic flights on Sansa depart from the Sansa terminal.

Aeropuerto Tobías Bolaños In the San José suburb of Pavas; services private charter and a few national flights.

Airlines Serving San José

More than 20 international airlines fly to/from Aeropuerto Internacional Juan Santamaría. Listed below are all of the airlines and the destinations to which they offer direct flights.

Aeroméxico (www.aeromexico.com) Mexico City.

Air Canada (www.aircanada.com) Toronto.

Air France (www.airfrance.com) Paris.

Air Panama (www.airpanama.com) Panama City and David.

Air Transat (www.airtransat.com) Montreal and Toronto.

Alaska Airlines (www.alaskaair.com) Los Angeles.

American Airlines (www.aa.com) Dallas, Miami, Newark and Charlotte.

Avianca (www.avianca.com) Managua (Nicaragua), Panama City, Bogotá (Colombia) and other Latin American destinations.

British Airways (www.britishairways.com) London.

Condor (www.condor.com) Germany via Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic).

COPA (www.copaair.com) Panama City, Guatemala City and Tegucigalpa.

Cubana (www.cubana.com) Havana.

Delta (www.delta.com) Atlanta, Denver, Los Angeles and New York.

Iberia (www.iberia.com) Madrid.

Interjet (www.interjet.com) Mexico City.

JetBlue (www.jetblue.com) Fort Lauderdale and Orlando.

NatureAir (www.natureair.com) Managua and Bocas del Toro (Panama).

Southwest Airlines (www.southwest.com) Baltimore and Houston.

Spirit (www.spirit.com) Fort Lauderdale and Houston.

United Airlines (www.united.com) Houston, Washington, DC, and Newark.

Swiss Air (www.swissair.com) Zurich.

Volaris (www.volaris.com) Guatemala City, San Salvador, Panama City, Cancún, Mexico City and Guadalajara.

West Jet (www.westjet.com) Toronto.

Wingo (www.wingo.com) Panama City, Guatemala City.

Bus

Bus transportation in San José can be bewildering. There is no public bus system and no central terminal. Instead, dozens of private companies operate out of stops scattered throughout the city. Many bus companies have no more than a stop (in this case pay the driver directly); some have a tiny office with a window on the street; others operate from bigger terminals servicing entire regions.

Note that bus schedules and prices change regularly. Pick up a copy of the free (but not always up-to-date) booklet Itinerario de Buses from San José's downtown tourist office, or download a PDF version from www.visitcostarica.com (most easily located in your search engine by typing 'Costa Rica Itinerario de Buses'). Buses are crowded on Friday evening and Saturday morning and packed to the gills at Christmas and Easter.

For buses that run infrequently, it is advisable to buy tickets in advance.

Bus Terminals

Collectively, the following five San José terminals serve Costa Rica's most popular destinations. Chances are you'll be passing through one or more of them during your trip. Be aware that theft is common in many bus terminals. Stay alert, keep your valuables close to you and don’t stow anything important (such as passports and money) in the overhead racks or luggage compartment of a bus.

Gran Terminal del Caribe This roomy station north of Av 13 is the central departure point for all buses to the Caribbean.

Terminal 7-10 This newer bus terminal is a base for routes to Nicoya, Nosara, Sámara, Santa Cruz, Tamarindo, Jacó, Monteverde, La Fortuna and a few other places. The four-story facility has a food court, shopping center and parking lot. Although it's located in the zona roja, historically a dangerous area of the city, police have stepped up their patrols to reduce crime.

Terminal Coca-Cola A well-known landmark. Numerous buses leave from the terminal and the four-block radius around it to points all over Costa Rica, in particular the Central Valley and the Pacific coast. This is a labyrinthine station with ticket offices scattered all over.

Terminal del Atlántico Norte A small, rather decrepit terminal serving the Southern Caribbean and Puerto Jiménez.

Terminal Tracopa Buses to southwestern destinations including Neily, Dominical, Golfito, Manuel Antonio, Palmar Norte, Paso Canoas, Quepos, San Isidro de El General, San Vito and Uvita.

Domestic Bus Companies

Alfaro (http://empresaalfaro.com) Nicoya, Playa Sámara and Playa Tamarindo.

Autotransportes Caribeños Northeastern destinations including Puerto Limón, Guápiles, Cariari, Siquirres and Puerto Viejo de Sarapiquí; the Caribeños group encompasses several smaller companies (including Empresarios Guapileños and Líneas del Atlántico), all of which share the same terminal and customer-service phone number.

Autotransportes Mepe Southern Caribbean destinations including Cahuita, Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, Manzanillo, Bribrí and Sixaola.

Autotransportes San Carlos La Fortuna, Ciudad Quesada and Los Chiles.

Blanco Lobo Puerto Jiménez.

Coopetrans Atenas Atenas.

Deldu (www.facebook.com/transportedeldu) Peñas Blancas.

Empresa Alfaro Nicoya, Nosara, Sámara, Santa Cruz and Tamarindo.

Empresarios Unidos San Ramón and Puntarenas.

Lumaca Cartago.

Mepe (www.mepecr.com) Cahuita, Puerto Viejo de Talamanca and Sixaola.

Metrópoli Volcán Irazú.

Musoc San Isidro de El General and Santa María de Dota.

Pulmitan de Liberia Northwestern destinations including Cañas, Liberia, Playa del Coco and Tilarán.

Station Wagon Alajuela and the airport.

Terminal Tracopa Southwestern destinations including Ciudad Neily, Dominical, Golfito, Manuel Antonio, Palmar Norte, Paso Canoas, Quepos, San Isidro de El General, San Vito and Uvita.

Tracopa (tracopacr.com) Dominical, Uvita, Golfito, Palmar, Paso Canoas, Quepos, Manuel Antonio and San Isidro de El General.

Tralapa Several Península de Nicoya destinations, including Playa Flamingo, Playa Hermosa, Playa Tamarindo and Santa Cruz.

Transmonteverde Monteverde.

Transportes Cobano Montezuma and Mal País.

Transportes Deldú Peñas Blancas (Nicaraguan border).

Transportes Jacó Jacó.

Transtusa Cartago and Turrialba.

Tuan Grecia.

Tuasa Alajuela and the airport.

International Bus Companies

International buses get booked up fast. Buy your tickets in advance – and take your passport.

Expreso Panamá Panama City (Panama).

Nicabus Managua (Nicaragua).

Tica Bus Nicaragua, Panama, El Salvador and Guatemala.

TransNica Nicaragua and Honduras.

Transportes Central Line Managua (Nicaragua).

Shuttle Buses

Grayline and Interbus shuttle passengers in air-conditioned minivans from San José to a long list of popular destinations around Costa Rica. They are more expensive than the standard bus services, but they offer door-to-door service and can get you there faster.

Domestic Buses from San José

Cahuita

Bus Company

Mepe

Cost (US$)

8.64

Duration (hr)

4

Frequency

6am, 8am, 10am, noon, 2pm, 4pm, 6pm

Cañas

Bus Company

Pulmitan

Cost (US$)

4.12

Duration (hr)

Frequency

11:40am, 1:30pm, 3:30pm

Cariari

Bus Company

Caribeños

Cost (US$)

2.97

Duration (hr)

Frequency

6:30am, 9am, 10:30am, 1pm, 3pm, 4:30pm, 6pm, 7pm

Cartago

Bus Company

Lumaca

Cost (US$)

1.04

Duration (hr)

1

Frequency

every 15min

Ciudad Neily

Bus Company

Tracopa

Cost (US$)

13.16

Duration (hr)

6½-7½

Frequency

11 daily

Ciudad Quesada

Bus Company

San Carlos

Cost (US$)

3.34

Duration (hr)

3

Frequency

hourly

Dominical & Uvita

Bus Company

Tracopa

Cost (US$)

9.34

Duration (hr)

4½-5½

Frequency

6am, 3pm

Golfito

Bus Company

Tracopa

Cost (US$)

13.16

Duration (hr)

Frequency

6:30am, 7am, 3:30pm

Grecia

Bus Company

Tuan

Cost (US$)

1.91

Duration (hr)

1

Frequency

half-hourly

Guápiles

Bus Company

Caribeños

Cost (US$)

2.43

Duration (hr)

Frequency

half-hourly

Jacó

Bus Company

Transportes Jacó

Cost (US$)

4.23

Duration (hr)

Frequency

every 2hr 7am-5pm

La Fortuna

Bus Company

San Carlos

Cost (US$)

4.41

Duration (hr)

4

Frequency

12:45pm, 2:45pm

Liberia

Bus Company

Pulmitan

Cost (US$)

8.03

Duration (hr)

Frequency

hourly 6am-8pm

Los Chiles

Bus Company

San Carlos

Cost (US$)

5.16

Duration (hr)

5

Frequency

5:15am, 3pm

Manzanillo

Bus Company

Mepe

Cost (US$)

11.17

Duration (hr)

5

Frequency

noon

Monteverde/Santa Elena

Bus Company

Transmonteverde

Cost (US$)

4.97

Duration (hr)

Frequency

6:30am, 2:30pm

Montezuma/Mal País

Bus Company

Cobano

Cost (US$)

12.42

Duration (hr)

5½-6

Frequency

6am, 6:30am, 2pm

Nicoya

Bus Company

Alfaro

Cost (US$)

7.13

Duration (hr)

5

Frequency

5:30, 7:30am, 10am, 1pm, 3pm, 5pm

Palmar

Bus Company

Tracopa

Cost (US$)

10.32

Duration (hr)

6

Frequency

13 daily

Paso Canoas

Bus Company

Tracopa

Cost (US$)

13.81

Duration (hr)

7-8

Frequency

13 daily

Peñas Blancas

Bus Company

Deldú

Cost (US$)

8.18

Duration (hr)

6

Frequency

9 daily

Playa del Coco

Bus Company

Pulmitan

Cost (US$)

9.87

Duration (hr)

Frequency

8am, 2pm, 4pm

Playa Flamingo

Bus Company

Tralapa

Cost (US$)

10.27

Duration (hr)

6

Frequency

8am, 10:30am, 3pm

Playa Nosara

Bus Company

Alfaro

Cost (US$)

8.11

Duration (hr)

6

Frequency

5:30am

Playa Sámara

Bus Company

Alfaro

Cost (US$)

7.54

Duration (hr)

5

Frequency

noon

Playa Hermosa

Bus Company

Tralapa

Cost (US$)

8.90

Duration (hr)

5

Frequency

3:30pm

Playa Tamarindo

Bus Company

Alfaro

Cost (US$)

9.51

Duration (hr)

5

Frequency

11:30am, 3:30pm

Playa Tamarindo

Bus Company

Tralapa

Cost (US$)

8.92

Duration (hr)

5

Frequency

7am, 4pm

Puerto Jiménez

Bus Company

Blanco Lobo

Cost (US$)

15

Duration (hr)

8

Frequency

8am, noon

Puerto Limón

Bus Company

Caribeños

Cost (US$)

5.64

Duration (hr)

3

Frequency

hourly

Puerto Viejo de Sarapiquí

Bus Company

Caribeños

Cost (US$)

4.47

Duration (hr)

Frequency

10 daily

Puerto Viejo de Talamanca

Bus Company

Mepe

Cost (US$)

10.04

Duration (hr)

Frequency

6am, 8am, 10am, noon, 2pm, 4pm, 6pm

Puntarenas

Bus Company

Empresarios Unidos

Cost (US$)

4.57

Duration (hr)

Frequency

hourly

Quepos/Manuel Antonio

Bus Company

Tracopa

Cost (US$)

8.10

Duration (hr)

Frequency

every 1-2hr

San Isidro de El General

Bus Company

Musoc

Cost (US$)

6.41

Duration (hr)

3

Frequency

hourly 4:30am-6:30pm

San Isidro de El General

Bus Company

Tracopa

Cost (US$)

6.36

Duration (hr)

3

Frequency

hourly

San Vito

Bus Company

Tracopa

Cost (US$)

12.03

Duration (hr)

7

Frequency

6am, 8:15am, noon, 12:15pm, 4pm

Santa Cruz

Bus Company

Alfaro

Cost (US$)

9.15

Duration (hr)

5

Frequency

7 daily

Santa Cruz

Bus Company

Tralapa

Cost (US$)

8.97

Duration (hr)

5

Frequency

9am, noon, 2pm, 6pm

Santa María de Dota

Bus Company

Musoc

Cost (US$)

4.16

Duration (hr)

2

Frequency

6am, 9am, 12:30pm, 2:30pm, 3pm, 5pm, 7:30pm

Sarchí

Bus Company

Tuan

Cost (US$)

1.93

Duration (hr)

Frequency

11:45pm, 5:30pm, 6:05pm Mon-Fri, noon Sat

Siquirres

Bus Company

Caribeños

Cost (US$)

2.83

Duration (hr)

2

Frequency

hourly

Sixaola

Bus Company

Mepe

Cost (US$)

12.32

Duration (hr)

Frequency

6am, 8am, 10am, 2pm, 4pm

Tilarán

Bus Company

Pulmitan

Cost (US$)

8.04

Duration (hr)

4

Frequency

7:30am, 9:30am, 12:45pm, 3:45pm, 6:30pm

Turrialba

Bus Company

Transtusa

Cost (US$)

2.40

Duration (hr)

2

Frequency

hourly

Volcán Irazú

Bus Company

Metrópoli

Cost (US$)

8.20 (round trip)

Duration (hr)

2

Frequency

8am

International Buses from San José

David (Panama)

Bus Company

Tracopa

Cost (US$)

21

Duration (hr)

Frequency

7:30am, noon

Guatemala City (Guatemala)

Bus Company

Tica Bus

Cost (US$)

86

Duration (hr)

48

Frequency

3am, 6am, 7am, 12:30pm

Managua (Nicaragua)

Bus Company

Tica Bus

Cost (US$)

29-42

Duration (hr)

9

Frequency

3am, 6am, 7:30am, 12:30pm

Bus Company

TransNica

Cost (US$)

28

Duration (hr)

Frequency

2am, 4am, 5am, 9am, noon

Bus Company

Central Line

Cost (US$)

29

Duration (hr)

Frequency

4:30am, 10am

Bus Company

Nicabus

Cost (US$)

29

Duration (hr)

8

Frequency

4:30am, 6:30am

Panama City (Panama)

Bus Company

Expreso Panamá

Cost (US$)

40

Duration (hr)

14

Frequency

noon

Bus Company

Tica Bus

Cost (US$)

42-58

Duration (hr)

16

Frequency

noon, 11:55pm

San Salvador (El Salvador)

Bus Company

Tica Bus

Cost (US$)

65

Duration (hr)

20

Frequency

3am, 6am, 7:30am, 12:30pm

Tegucigalpa (Honduras)

Bus Company

TransNica

Cost (US$)

57

Duration (hr)

16

Frequency

2am