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Monday, March 26, 2007

Getting Around Part 2: Costa Rica Bus System for Long-Distance Travel

Presumably, if you are coming to Costa Rica (and living in the San Jose area - which is almost inevitable), you are going to want to take as many opportunities as possible to travel extensively around both Costa Rica and its neighboring countries (remember, every three months you'll have to leave the country for 72 hours - see Border Run post Here). If you're on any kind of a budget, you'll be using Costa Rica's long-distance bus system to get to the beach, the mountains, or anywhere else you'd like to go. Lets start with the good news: 1) transportation is extremely inexpensive (you can get just about anywhere in the country for less than $10), 2) You don't have to deal with the heartache of driving in Costa Rica - trust me it's not always fun to be behind the wheel here, and 3) you can get just about anywhere you'd like to go by bus. And the bad news: 1) Your travel schedule is dictated by the bus schedule (which explains why Lisa and I have on at least 3 or 4 occasions left our house at around 4:30am to catch the early bus from San Jose to our travel destination), 2) The trips can be much longer than if you were in a car, and 3) The buses, although much nicer than the city buses (which are like 25 year old school buses, see THIS POST for more information), are not always very comfortable (some have air conditioning, many others do not).

The two most important resources that I can provide to help you understand the bus system are 1) the Bus Schedule (which contains destinations, travel times, departure times, etc) and 2) the Bus Station Map (which is a map of San Jose that has labeled most bus stations according to where the buses from any given station will take you).

Download those documents by clicking below (links are also available under "resources"):
Costa Rica Bus Schedule (.pdf)
Costa Rica Bus Station Map

Finally, Lisa and I went to Montezuma, which is a small surf town on the southern tip of the Nicoya Peninsula, this past weekend and pretty soon I'll write an entry talking about that trip, and for those of you interested on getting around Costa Rica, I'll take that opportunity to explain how to take a bus to Montezuma (it's perhaps one of the most complicated trips you'll take via bus because you have to take BUS->Ferry->BUS->Small Bus->Montezuma). Pictures will be added as well.

Hope this all helps, leave comments if you have any further questions/comments about the Costa Rican transportation systems.