Airport – Juan Santamaría International (SJO)

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Many travellers are not aware that the San José airport is not actually in San José. It is located in Alajuela which is 20km west of the city. This is a bit inconvenient for those travellers who want to get a bus that only leaves from San José centre, but it is also good to know that many of the buses that leave San José pass Alajuela on their way. More info on this below.


To find the bus stop at the airport, you only need to head out the main doors and make your way to the highway in front. It is easy and there are some photos below to show you what it looks like.


Bus Terminals in San José

This is not an exhaustive list and not all terminals and destinations are listed below, but these are the most common ones travellers tend to use and what we have information for so far. We will keep adding and improving this list as we go!


Terminal 7-10  – For service to: Santa Teresa/Mal Pais, Montezuma, Cobanó, Samara, Nosara, NicoyaJacóMonteverde/Santa Elena, La Fortuna


Terminal Tralapa – Tamarindo, as well as Playa Flamingo, Playa Panama, Santa Cruz.


Terminal Tracopa – For service to: Quepos, Dominical, Uvita, Paso Canoas or David (Panama) and destinations between.


Pulmitan de Liberia – For service to: Liberia, Tilarán, Playa del Coco, and a few more.


Terminal MEPE – For service to: Puerto Viejo, Sixaola, Puerto Jiménez, Managua (Central Line), and a few more.


Gran Terminal del Caribe – For service to Peñas Blancas (Nicaragua Border), Guapiles, and other Carribean destinations.


Empresarios Unidos –  Puntarenas is at Calle 16 and avenida 12 which is about 10 blocks south of the 7-10 Terminal.


And of course you have all of your international services such as Tica Bus, TransNica, Nicabus, Central Line, Platinum.


Airport to San José Centre

In front of the airport is a major highway that heads to San José. A taxi will cost you $25 USD but you can also take a local bus. I am told by the taxi organizer that all buses that pass the bus stop in front of the airport are heading to the city centre. If you know where your hotel is then you can maybe follow your route on Google Maps and get off at a close stop. Or head to the center and get a much cheaper taxi from there.


Villa Bonita

Villa Bonita is a great spot to know about if you are getting a bus but don’t want to head all the way to San José. Tons of buses pass by here and it is a common spot for travellers to grab the bus. Have a look at the Villa Bonita page for more information. This is a very common spot for both travellers and locals to get the bus from an there are locals who hang out there and sell drinks and snacks and help you flag down your bus. The only thing about this spot is that although it is very likely the bus will stop nothing is every 100% if you’re not at an actual station.


Trip Planning

If you are still planning for your upcoming trip, I am told this Trip Planner from Gecko Trail is quite useful to help you prioritize where you want to spend your time! Gecko Trail is a ICT certified Travel Agency that has great core values and gives back to the community. So much to see and do in this beautiful country!


More details coming very soon!

Time to catch the bus, I’ll be back with more info soon.


Help your fellow traveller

If you have taken any of the buses on this page, please drop us a comment below about how the trip went, what time you left, how long it took and what it cost. And, definitely let us know if we have anything wrong.

Lets help each other in our travels!


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We do not 100% guarantee that all schedules, times and prices are exact. The information in this website is based on personal experience and by information submitted by other travellers. Information has been gathered from station schedules, station managers, bus drivers and driver helpers. We have done our best to get as much accurate up to date information as possible, but prices and times change. Also, remember that you are responsible for your own health and safety. Travel safe and travel smart - and have fun!





24 travel tips for Airport – Juan Santamaría International (SJO) - share your tips below!

  1. Maria

    Took the Tuasa bus from SJO into the city centre. Very easy, but definitely take a look where the bus stop is (as in pics above) before going outside the airport as I was a bit overwhelmed at first by all the taxis! The bus seemed to come very frequently and many other people were waiting. It was about 700crc, cash only. Goes to Tuasa terminal near the park central, took about 30mins for me.

  2. Rory Magnusson

    Is there a schedule of departures from the airport to Tilaran? And what does the bus destination say?

  3. ron regan

    I dont see any current postings. Is this website still monitored?

  4. Luis Mantilla

    Any body can tell me.please about..the schedule for the express bus from the Alajuela airport going to Nicaragua .

  5. SJH

    Lots of good information on this site – thanks! Is it possible to catch Ticabus in Alajuela headed north to Nicaragua? (There have been problems on the Ticabus web site today, so haven’t been able to look at schedule or chat with them.)

  6. Sylvan Bonin

    The best part of my stay in San Jose was getting to the MEPE station from where the other bus dropped me in downtown. I walked through the Mercado Central! If you can, leave time before your bus departure to wander the Mercado, buy yourself lunch for the trip, and just take it all in. There are no lockers at the MEPE. The little old man who sweeps the MEPE station has a locked closet that serves as a luggage drop. It only costs a couple of dollars, well worth it to go into the market unencumbered. The less you have to keep your eyes and hands on, the better.

  7. Sara Gregg

    Hi i might be looking in the wrong place but, which buses go from san jose to the airport?

    • Normand morin

      I am looking for the same answer!? I think it is corner calle 12 and avenida 2 parada alajuela ! But their is no schedule ! Who as a schedule? Tank You

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