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!

Help us fill in any missing information
Let us know if we have something wrong
Share your knowledge in a comment below


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!




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

  1. 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

  2. Kenia Cano

    Im trying to go from San Jose airport to Liberia airport….can somebody tell me what to do.?

    • centrocoasting

      Hi Kenia, you’ll need to get to Liberia. From Liberia you can get the bus headed to Tamarindo or Nicoya and get off at the airport when it passes. If you read the text above you’ll find the Plumitan de Liberia page link. This is the bus that goes from San Jose to Liberia. You’ll need to get to the Pulmitan station by taxi or local bus.

  3. Anita

    Hey I want to leave from San Jose airport to get to San Isidro. What’s the cheapest way? Also what’s the cheapest way to leave San Isidro on a Saturday and make it back to the airport?

  4. Clara

    Hello! I wanna go from san jose ( Juan Santamaria airport) to cauhito/puerto viejo, do I need to take the bus from the bus- terminal in san jose city? or is the a busstop in between? thank you!

  5. VL

    I am trying to find the bus pick up from the SJ airport to Manuel/Quepos and back to the airport, what do I do?

  6. Donna

    Does the bus from San Isidro stop in Alluella? How do I recognise where to get off, near airport?

  7. Doreen

    Hey, do you know the bus station, where the busses from the airport end in San José ? Or is there maybe a map where you can see, which stops the bus has?
    Thank you

      • Lorraine

        This app is great for San Jose only. So far this is the only area in Costa Rica that’s available. That being said, it’s great for planning how to get around the city. It’s in multiple languages and even tells you the number of stops between destinations and the walking directions once you get off the bus.

  8. Greet

    Hello! Is it save to go on my own by bus from the airport to the city centre of SJ? My plane will arrive at 19.30.

    • centrocoasting

      HI Greet, sorry for the slow reply. We can’t comment on what is/isn’t safe. It really depends on what area you are heading to, etc. Hope you have a good trip.

  9. Fanny

    Hola kiero saber la hora y el xosto a peñas blancas gracias

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