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: transmonteverde.com

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: transmonteverde.com

 

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.

 

Tours

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!

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FINE PRINT

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!

*PLEASE CHECK COMMENTS FROM OTHER TRAVELERS FOR UPDATES. WE HAVE NOT ACTIVELY UPDATED INFORMATION FOR 2YRS*
*PLEASE LEAVE YOUR UPDATES IN A COMMENT BELOW!*

CONNECTING STATIONS

PHOTOS TO SHOW YOU THE WAY

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.

Town

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
2019

HIGH FIVES

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

  1. Lana Tallman

    I saw a lot of website but I think this one holds something extra in it in it

  2. Alegria

    We did just a few days ago Liberia to santa elena, arriving from Ometepe Nicaragua.
    In Liberia we caught the 1pm bus to Puntarenas (c2100), got off at La Irma (at 3pm). You just go to the opposite side of the gas station, at the bus stop beginning of the road to Monteverde. The bus till Santa elena is now running at 4pm (c2500)

  3. Burák

    Hi everyone, we went from Liberia to Monteverde via Irma yesterday (2024/04/21). It wasn’t good option. At Irma there are just 2 buses a day to MV, if you miss the 10:30 AM as we did, last goes at 4 PM, bot 3 PM. We cought a taxi to Las Juntas. Not small city, but nothing there. Many supermarkets to buy anythyng you need, but not good place to spend half day at. I believe best option is to go from Liberia to MV via Puntarenas.

  4. Teresa

    We traveled from Monteverde to San Jose today. You can book your tickets in advance online (Transmonteverde), the bus stop in Santa Elena is at Centro Comercial. The bus also stops at Juan Santamaria Airport. An easy and cheap way to get back to the city center 🙂

  5. Jon

    I did the Monteverde – Liberia route via Tilaran today. Took the 7am bus (next to Vitosi pharmacy) to Tilaran, which actually came around 7.20. Took me around 2,5 hours. At 10am the bus to Canas left and took 45 minutes to reach the destination. 11.20 a bus to Liberia passed and only took me 45 minutes to reach Liberia. Total cost: 1500 + 500 + 1500 is about 3500 colonnes.

  6. Maria

    Took the public bus Santa Elena to Liberia a couple days ago. From Liberia you can easily get to Penas Blancas (Nica border).
    Bus #1: leaves Monteverde Commercial Centre at 4h20 or 15h. The bus is operated by TransMonteverde and you see see the schedule online (the end destination is Puntarenas). I took the 4:20 and we arrived at La Irma highway stop at about 6am.
    Bus #2: wait for a bus at the side of the highway to Liberia. I waited 20-30 mins with some helpful locals for a public bus to show up. The Tica bus also passed by but this is much more expensive. Lot of other buses passed by as well and you just need to flag them down.

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