Monteverde / Santa Elena

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This tiny town makes getting in and out really very simple. The bus leaves for both San José and Puntarenas from the TransMonteverde bus depot in the middle of town. You can’t miss it as it is right beside the Super Mega grocery store. You can book tickets online here:

Monteverde to San José

There are two buses per day both ways at 5:30am and 2:30pm. The price is 3035₡ (Dec 2018). The trip takes about 4.5hrs. See photo of schedule below and have a look at the 7-10 Terminal to see where you end up.


San José to Monteverde

There are two buses per day both ways at 6:30am and 2:30pm. The price is 3035₡ (Dec 2018). The trip takes about 4.5hrs.

From San José you catch the bus from the 7-10 station in the city center, although if you are out by the airport in Alajuela, then you can also get the bus from the Villa Bonita Station. This is essentially a bus stop on the side of the highway near a gas station named Villa Bonita. It is a common spot for travellers to grab the bus when out by the airport. It is listed as a stop for buses headed to Monteverde but if it is full there is a chance it may not stop. You can book tickets online here:


Monteverde to Puntarenas

The bus leaves for Puntarenas  at 4:20am, 5:30am (except Sunday!), 3pm. See schedule photo below. The 5:30am bus isn’t in the photo of the schedule, but two travellers have confirmed it exists. (see comments) and we have had confirmation that the 6am bus still exists too.

You will arrive at the main Puntarenas bus terminal. The trip takes about 3hrs and costs about 1590₡.

If you are headed to Santa Teresa or Montezuma, we are told you can arrive at the ferry in time if you take the 5:30am bus! (see comments below). This may not be the case in the busiest months when buses take longer.

Puntarenas to Monteverde: 8am, 1:30pm and 2:10pm.


Monteverde to La Fortuna/Arenal

This may be the coolest way to go: Monteverde to Arenal – by horseback! Check out this unique and awesome looking way of going between these two mountain paradises. A half day adventure that may even be quicker than taking the bus!


Thinking of going to La Fortuna/Arenal after Monteverde? You can take a shuttle from here that will get you there in 3hrs for $25. It goes something like this: 4×4 Jeep – boat – 4×4 Jeep.  Normally we don’t promote shuttles since this is a BUS travel site – but it is an option since the local bus is quite long. The full trip is about 9hrs by bus.


via Tilarán

Should you chose the local bus route you can catch one to Tilarán at 5am, 7am, 12:10pm or 4pm (TilaránTransportes 2695-5998.) . The cost as of Dec 2018 is 1300₡. The trip takes about 2hrs and 15min. The bus stop last time we were there was in front of the Farmacia Vitosi, which is across from the main Tourist center. See photos below for the location to wait for the bus. Then from Tilarán you will take another with bus to La Fortuna which will take about 2hrs. We have had one traveller report that she took a bus at 3:30pm (Dec 2018) and it cost 2975₡


Via La Irma

A lot of travellers use La Irma as a mid point to get switch directions when coming/going from Monteverde to places like Nosara, Samara, Tamarindo, etc.  There is a photo of the schedule below, the bus passes at 10am and 3pm. There is a covered stop there on the side of the highway where you can wait. We have had reports from travellers that they didn’t put luggage under the bus, they had to carry it on. Let us know your experience below.


Coming from San Juan del Sur?

Check out our route page for this trip. We have two great travel blogger experiences to help guide you step by step on this trip! San Juan del Sur to Monteverde


Going to Playa del Coco?

Have a read through the comments, one couple gave a step by step.



There is so much to do in this area that it can be hard to choose! Have a look at Gecko Trail tour options for some inspiration.


Cloud Forest

Headed to the cloud forest? Check out this blog post by the legendary Costa Rica travel duo at Mytanfeet: Which Monteverde Cloud Forest Should You Visit. Want someone to show you the way? Check out a Gecko Trail guided tour of the Cloud forest.


The bus goes back and forth a few times a day and costs 600₡.  Here are the times (May 2017):

Santa Elena to Monteverde
6:15am, 7:30am, 9:30am (only high season), 1:20pm, 3pm

Monteverde to Santa Elena
6am, 8:30am (only high season), 11am, 2pm, 4pm


Santa Teresa to Monteverde

This trip is easy and saves you a bunch of money. Have a look at the route here: Santa Teresa to Monteverde.


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!


Add your comments in an update below
Check the comments from other travellers for updates
Share your travel knowledge with others in the comment section 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!




Posted at the Transmonteverde bus depot/office in Santa Elena. *See above for updates to this schedule photo.

Photo taken: February 20, 2016

Current schedule for bus to the cloud forest

Photo taken: February 21, 2016

Puntarenas - San José Schedule
Posted in Puntarenas
Photo taken May 2017

Monteverde to Tilarán
Photo June 2017

submitted by your fellow traveller, Jason
May 2018

submitted by your fellow traveller, Jason
May 2018

submitted by your fellow traveller, Jason
May 2018

Standing in front of the TransMonteverde office.

Looking towards the the TransMonteverde office.


If you are headed to Tilarán you can head over to the Farmacia Vitosi and wait there. Bus passes at 7am.

Posted in LA IRMA


116 travel tips for Monteverde / Santa Elena - share your tips below!

  1. Osvaldo

    Hi, thanks for this helpful blog!

    In November 2022 I took the 5.30 am bus from Santa Elena to Saldinal. The bus driver suggested to drop me at El Gran Parque (rest station at Panamericana where you get food and many buses stop). At 7.15 I got a direct bus to the border (Peñas Blanca) where we arrived at 11.45 am. After timeconsuming border crossing we took two public buses (change in La Virgen) to San Juan del Sur. Buses in Nicaragua are fun, but sharing a Taxi is a reasonable choice as well.

    Saludos Osvaldo

  2. Hannah

    Hi all,

    Just took the bus from La Irma to Monteverde price was $1200 colones, and bus trip took 1.5 hours


  3. Annie

    We did Samara to Santa Elena
    From Samara we took the bus to San José at 8am. We told the driver to drop us at La Irma. And it worked very well. Arrived in La irma a bit after 10am, just missed the bus to Monteverde (only two a day 10am and 4pm!)
    We asked the taxi driver at the station if he could catch the bus, which we did, payed him 1‘000 colones per person and he got us to las Juntas where we got on the bus and arrived around 12 in Santa Elena!

  4. Madison

    This is such a great resource! The writer is super knowledgeable and a good friend of mine 🙂 I have actually started my own project! If you like learning about ecology and nature as you travel around, check out our ecology and naturalist guides ->
    We post guides every month based on where we are travelling including plant and animal species ID, cool, ecological hot spots and fun facts and articles about nature! Check it out if you’re keen 🙂

  5. Jérémy

    We traveled today from Santa Elena to Puntarenas, via Lagarto. The bus departed at 7.45am (the same bus exist on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays) and it took us 3 hours to Puntarenas. The price was 1510 colones per person.
    In Puntarenas the driver stopped at several bus stops and finally dropped us where the buses from Quepos leave. (It’s called Terminal Puntarenas-Quepos on The people who wanted to take the ferry had to grab a taxi to go there.

  6. Martina

    Hi, we travelled from La Irma to Santa Elena on 10th March.Sign with bus schedule at the bus station was still the same as on photo above but,but locals told us that according to the new schedule bus goes at 4pm instead of 3pm. And yes,it was right,american guy at the bus,who has been living in Santa Elena confirmed new timetable,which has been valid from February 2020.

    • Michael McCarter

      We just got the bus today and it left at 4pm not 3pm as per the sign! The restaurant owner across the road confirmed this too.

  7. Kirsten

    Yesterday I traveled from Monteverde to Tamarindo. This took me about 9 hours.
    I left Monteverde at 10.30 am from the mainbusstop next to the mall. It’s the bus heading to Puntarenas. Costed 1115 colones. I was told to get out of the bus in La Irma; I got there at 12.20. The busstop here is across the gasstation. Easy to see!
    Almost right away there was a bus to Cañas where I bought my busticket from the driver to Liberia, this was a little less then 3000 colones. Then in Cañas I changed the bus, but these busses are connected to eachtoher so I got off one bus and could get in the other right away.
    At 2.20 pm I arrived at Liberia (municap station) where I bought my ticket from the ticketoffice for 1760 colones. The bus was scheduled to leave at 4 pm but left about 15 minutes late. Arrival in Tamarindo mainstop was around 7 pm.

    • Kirsten

      Municap station is meant to be Municipal station! You don’t have to switch the station after arriving in Liberia.

  8. Matt

    We traveled from Monteverde to Montezuma today, The bus times have changed and we took the 7:30am bus (C1600) which has replaced the 6am service. This got us into Puntaneras for 10am and allowed us to easily connect to the Ferry which left at 11am (Taxi to the port C1500 also good tip there is a bakery where you buy your ferry ticket to Paquera which has some delicious looking treats for the journey!) Disembarking the ferry we were able to get a direct bus to Montezuma for C3000. This was a newer coach style bus compared to the other old school buses. The bus stops in Cobano before continuing on to Montezuma. We arrived in Monetzuma at around 2pm. Hope someone finds this helpful!

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