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Minibuses to/from San Jose to Puerto Viejo
For about $50 US per person (discounted fares are available for children), transport is available in an air-conditioned van or mini-bus from San Jose via several companies. Some services are more reliable than others or make more stops to switch passengers to other shuttles. The trip generally takes 4 to 5 hours, although it can be more especially if you get on at the airport and the shuttle makes many pick ups at around San Jose. From San Jose, Cahuita drop-offs are generallly first (so perhaps a half hour less) and Punta Uva and Manzanillo last (so perhaps 30-45 minutes later).
Interbus, Pleasure Ride and Caribe Shuttle each make daily trips from San Jose to Puerto Viejo and back to San Jose. They will pick you up at your San José hotel or at an off-airport location (right at the airport for Pleasure Ride) and let you off directly at your hotel (almost) anywhere between Cahuita and Manzanillo (e.g. Cocles or Punta Uva).
|San Jose to Puerto Viejo|
- San Jose Airport pickup is at Denny’s restaurant which is nearby the airport. You must take a taxi there.
- Additional $7 for dropoffs in Punta Uva and Manzanillo.
- Departure time shown is from San Jose downtown, airport departure is generally 30-45 minutes earlier.
- Airport express service only, no pickups in San Jose which makes this service faster, recommended for flights scheduled to arrive before or at 2.30 pm.
- Picks up at airport restaurant so no taxi to off-airport location is needed.
- This service continues to Bocas del Toro, Panama after a 1 hour lunch break in Puerto Viejo.
- Airport express service only, no drop offs in San Jose which makes this service faster, recommended for flights scheduled to depart at 1 pm or later.
- Additional $7 for pickups in Punta Uva and Manzanillo.
- This service originates in Bocas del Toro, Panama and picks up passengers in Puerto Viejo at approximately this time. Drop offs at the airport could be as late as 7 PM depending on traffic.
You must book all shuttle services in advance; some shuttles only run if there are enough passengers booked and others regularly sell out.
We DO NOT recommend you book directly with Interbus or any of the other shuttle companies on their websites as they make it very difficult/expensive to change or cancel reservations that were made on their website (see their terms here). If you make the reservation through the form on our site instead, you can change/cancel your reservation up to 48 hours in advance.
Regular shuttles and boat service operate to/from Bocas del Toro in Panama, see our Bocas del Toro page for detailed info on traveling between Costa Rica and Bocas.
From about $60 US per person, there are also daily shuttles operated by Interbus and Caribe Shuttle between the Arenal Volcano area (La Fortuna is the name of the largest town but they'll deliver to all the area hotels and resorts). The trip takes about 6 hours.
|Arenal to Puerto Viejo|
|1:00 PM||Caribe Shuttle||$60||Book|
It's also popular to book a package to Arenal which would include transport, hotel and tours too if you like.
For getting to/from Tortuguero, most people book a complete package including transport, hotel and tours but if you'd like to go independently see our Tortuguero page for detailed instructions to make your way by bus or rental car to one of the locations where boats leave for Tortuguero or booking transportation only.
Caribe Shuttle also operates a shuttle from San Juan del Sur in Nicaragua. You can travel all the way to Puerto Viejo in one day [more info] (about 13 hours with breaks) or break up your trip by traveling from San Juan del Sur to Arenal [more info] or San Jose [more info].
Our travel partner Gecko Trail Costa Rica can also book you on the full national network of Interbus, Grayline and most other shuttle companies. Click here to see the schedules for the full national network of all the shuttle companies
If your schedule doesn't work with the shared ride van services schedules or you have 2 or more people or lots of luggage or animals to transport, you might consider hiring a van or bus with driver for a private transfer to Puerto Viejo or to anywhere in the country. The companies we use are very reliable and will pick you up right at the International Airport and bring you straight to your hotel - no stops for other passengers, no waiting for the scheduled time.
And it's affordable: San Jose to Puerto Viejo is $245 for a van for up to 6 passengers. Larger vehicles are available for larger groups too. When you compare that to a night in San Jose you didn't really want plus regular transfer service per person rates, you'll find it a great deal. The vehicles are air-conditioned and comfortable.
Our travel partners can book this for you too. You can browse rates for different destinations on the transport planner or go ahead and make a reservation:
Want to share a ride? If you are looking to share transportation to or from the Caribbean Coast your best bet is to try joining and posting in the ride share group on facebook
There is no airport in the south Caribbean region of Costa Rica; the closest airport to Puerto Viejo is in Limon which is about a 45-60 minute drive away.
This airport however had previously been served only by charter flights. However, now Sansa airlines offers flights (Nature Air now longer flies this route). The flights operate from San Jose's main international airport, Juan Santamaría (from a separate terminal beside the main international terminal). Flight schedules change often so please check the schedule with the carrier.
Flight rates will vary depending on availability and how far in advance you book.
From the Limon airport, Sansa flights are met by Airport Express shuttle services operated by Gecko Trail Airport Express or Caribe Shuttle which can take you directly to most Puerto Viejo and Cahuita area hotels. You must book these services in advance and you can do so using the buttons below. You can also have Gecko Trail book your flight and the corresponding shuttle together.
If you don't take the shuttle, you may be able to get a taxi or flag down a Limon to Puerto Viejo bus on the highway. While there are no rental car offices at the airport, you may be able to book a rental car with pickup at the airport.
Book airport shuttles from Limon to Puerto Viejo using the buttons below:
Both airlines fly via Tortuguero so you could also fly Limon to Tortuguero or Tortuguero to Limon.
Nature Air also flies from San Jose to Bocas del Toro in Panama so if you want to see both Bocas and Puerto Viejo you can do a circle by travelling by land (and boat) from San Jose to Puerto Viejo to Bocas and then return by air (or vice-versa). See our Bocas page for info on getting between Puerto Viejo and Bocas.
For more information on Costa Rican domestic flights, you can also check the Sansa website or Nature Air website directly.
If you're planning to spend a night or two in San Jose before heading to the Caribbean, we can also help you with airport pickup from San Jose International Airport to your San Jose hotel. Wouldn't it be nice to have a friendly face waiting for you in arrivals?!
There are plenty of other ways to get here: public bus, whitewater rafting, driving, flying and more. Check our transport overview page for all the options.