Monteverde / Santa Elena

Tag us on instagram @centrocoasting. We love to see where you're going!

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!

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!



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


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

  1. Graeme

    Monteverde – Nicoya – Sámara/other beaches in Nosora region

    Option 1: There is a 04:20 bus to La Irma. You can get off here and wait for the first bus to Nicoya. I’m not sure when this is but the first one leaving San Jose is 05:30 and I believe it takes around 3/3.5 hours to reach La Irma.

    Option 2: You can also get on the 6am bus to Legartos. I took direction from my hostel and ended up getting the bus down to near Barranca, and changed to go back up route 1 at the bus stop called El Cruce. You don’t need to do this however. You can get off at the first junction when the road out of Monteverde (605) reaches route 1. This doesn’t have a name but the closest thing is a supermarket called Mini Super Leticias on Google Maps.

    I got on a bus going to Nicoya – Nosara at about 08:15 from El Cruce and it then went past the other bus stop mentioned above at about 08:50, I think past La Irma about 9. This may have been the 05:30 from San Jose.

    This was Wed 20 Nov 19

    Hope this is of use to someone!

    • shong

      Gracias Graeme! I’m trying to get to Nosara to see the turtles in Ostional…it was driving me loco! Should I attempt to hitch hike, get the ferry & make my way to Nicoya then try for the bus connection? Glad there’s an easier way!

  2. Eden

    Tamarindo to Monteverde
    Did today (14.9.2019) this trip, I took the 5.30am bus “Alfaro” to La Irma, but I got off the bus at 8.55am in the gas station in the crossroads with road 606 (because the driver didn’t stop at La Irma). I took from there the bus to Monteverde at 9.10am. the ride was smooth and easy.
    On the gas station just wait on the side on the road to Monteverde, there is no bus stop.

    • Eden kafri

      *The 5.30am bus to San Jose, I paid directly to the driver 3200C and told him I want to go to La Irma

  3. Nathan

    Regarding La Irma to Monteverde:
    This Monday (Sept. 2, 2019) I missed the 1:30 bus from Liberia and so I walked a block south to the other bus station (Palmares) and caught a 2:00 for San José (c4500=~$8.00) virtually guaranteeing I would miss the crossing bus at La Irma. I explained my goal to the driver and got on the bus (luggage below). Google said 59 min. to Irma -without stops. The driver was excellent but we still arrived at about 3:15 due to the other stops on the route. He chased down the driver of the Monteverde bus via cellphone and let me know we had missed it by 10 minutes. I decided to get off at Irma anyway rather than ride to Sardinal attempting to catch that later bus. I figured I might be able to hitch a ride with a friendly truck or car.

    I got off the bus and was immediately approached by a taxi driver who offered to drive me up the hill. I said “Vamos a ver.” While I got my bearings.

    There was another couple (obviously tourists like me with backpacks, surfboard, etc.) standing there in the same pickle. The taxi driver offered to drive us up for $70 (!!!). I declined. He came back with a “best offer” of $60, pointing out that this would be $20pp. I explained to him that I would chance it trying to catch an uphill truck.

    He wandered away and, perhaps convinced that we weren’t going to bite on the $60 option, returned with the best option: recoger (catch) the Monteverde bus via his taxi. He said it could be $20 or $30…

    We decided to try it and loaded up his 4×4.

    We just missed the bus at its first junta (stop), but caught up to it a few blocks later. Good to his word the taxi driver honked, flashed his lights, and overtook several other cars to stop the bus.

    We hopped out, paid the chofer (bus driver) (c1000=~$2), shifted our gear, and paid the taxi the $10 he asked for. Gratitude all around.

    Anyway, if you just miss the Monteverde bus at La Irma and are confident enough to bluff the opportunistic taxista, this is a good solution, but time is of the essence…

    Also- thanks for this terrific site!

  4. James

    La Irma to Santa Elena, bus came at 3:15 and arrived in SE at 5:10. Cost 1250c pp and there was plenty of space on it.

  5. Batman

    Santa Elena => Puntarenas

    Cost: 1615 Colones
    Duration:±2.5 hrs
    Times:05:30, 06:30, 15:00

    We took this bus as part of a larger route to Manuel Antonio. The bus at 05:30 and 06:30 take different routes so the time may be significantly different.

    The bus arrives in puntarenas on the corner of Avenida 1 and Avenida Central. It is a few minutes walking to the bus for Quepos

  6. Pippa

    Hello! Just did the tamarindo – Monteverde trip today and this was my experience:

    – got 5.30am bus from the plaza, heading to San José
    – got to the gas station on route 606 at 8.10 – earlier than expected! I had just told the driver that I needed to change for Monteverde and they showed me where to get off
    – I was expecting a bus at 9.10, but was told it was gonna be 9.30, and then someone else told me it was 10.
    – bus showed up at 10 so a two hour wait – not the end of the world but a bit longer than expected
    – got to Santa Elena at 12

    Hope this helps

  7. Beth Roberts

    Hey guys, I’m travelling from Samara to Monteverde and have found the following route is the way to go:
    Samara > Nicoya
    Nicoya > La Irma
    La Irma > Monteverde

    Does anyone have any info on which bus to get on at Nicoya for the La Irma stop and what times it leaves Nicoya? We are getting the first bus in the morning from Samara to try and catch the 10am connection at La Irma to Monteverde.

    Any tips would be much appreciated!!

    Thank you

  8. Holly

    We just took the 5:30am bus from Monteverde to San Jose (March 2019). A good thing to note is to get to the bus terminal about 30minutes early to buy tickets or get them online as it was very busy and about 15 people weren’t allowed on as it was told full. Needless to say they were pretty upset to have to wait 9 hours until the next bus.

  9. Karl Bech-Larsen

    Hello, and thanks for a wonderful site!
    At present I’m in Las Juntas spending the night in what might be the only hotel in town.
    Does anyone know if I can catch the Puntarenas to Monteverde bus in Las Juntas proper (i. e. the bus station) round 10 AM ,or do I have to go back out the 6 km. to the highway at La Irma?

    • Holly

      It will be too late now for you I’m sorry but anyone else reading this it would be good to know that yes you can catch the bus from here rather than going back to the highway. We caught a taxi from La Irma to here to have some lunch and wait several hours for the afternoon bus as it’s more pleasant than sitting by the highway. The taxi cost us 1000c per person.

  10. Ed

    Monteverde to Manuel Antonio – I took a 5:30 AM bus from Santa Elena to Puntarenas (ticket cost was 1,590 colones). We arrived at about 9:15 AM. I then walked two blocks to the bus station for Quepos, which is nextdoor to ‘Soda La Esquina’ on Calle 1. I purchased a ticket (cost – 2,605 colones) for the 10:00 AM bus to Quepos and arrived just before 2:00 PM. From Quepos, I then took the regular bus to Manuel Antonio (cost is 335 colones which is paid onboard to the driver). Wanted to forward this on as I did not find a lot of info across the web for bus routes to/from these locations. Although the journey is long, it is way more affordable than taking a shuttle. This trip took place on February 6th, 2019.

  11. Julian

    Thanks for the information on your site, here are some updates. We traveled this month from San Jose to Monteverde and from Monteverde to Tamarindo.

    The price and schedule is still the same from San Jose to Monteverde (3035c).
    Also the price for the shuttle Bus to the cloudforest Santa Elena is still 600c.

    Then we take the bus at 4:20 am in
    Monteverde to (the Highway intersection) in La Irma for 1500c.
    In La Irma we catched the next bus to Iberia for 2050c.
    And in Iberia we payed at the bus terminal for a ticket to Tamarindo 1490c and got the 11:10 am bus (with the longer route through Famingo). If you pay in the bus it is 1500c.

    • Kay

      Hi Julian, I’ll be in Monteverde next month, and from there I plan to go to La Irma so I can catch the Ticabus to Nicaragua. Do you remember what departure times from Monteverde to La Irma were available when you made that trip?

    • Baptiste

      Hi, thanks for the tips. Can you tell where exactly is the bus stop in Monteverde ? Is there any in Santa Elena ?

  12. elle


    this blog is amazing!!!!

    I’m looking for the best way to travel fro Santa Elena to Tarmarindo (my hotel there also mentioned Huacas?…maybe the bus stops here?)

    any advice appreciated 🙂


    • Julian

      Hi Elle,
      Look at my Post, I guess it is the best way to Tamarindo.
      Tamarindo is not so big, the bus stops when ever you want on the main street.

  13. Jerome

    I just did the journey from Monteverde to San Juan Del Sur yday (Jan 4th 2019) and posting this to help anyone who’s looking at doing this trip or exploring how to do it.

    1- I took the TransMonteverde bus at 6am, headed to Puntarenas with a stop in Lagarto. I paid around 1200 colones as i didnt specify i was getting off before Puntarenas and elsewhere in the comments, it’s mentioned the ticket to Lagarto cost 875 colones so make sure you ask for this. I bought my ticket the day before.

    Put your luggage on last so you can get it quickly when you get off.

    2- I got off the bus at Lagarto, right at the entrance of the InterAmericana Highway. Follow this on your google maps to see where the hwy is and time your stop but its pretty clear as the dirt road meets a paved T. There was a few others getting off there too. We got there @ 750am. When you get off, walk right across a bridge about 150m and there’ll be a bus stop.

    3- At 8:15am, the blue bus to Liberia arrived. The ticket cost 2350 colones ($3.90USD)

    4. I got to Liberia about 10am and there was a bus to Penas Blancas, leaving from the same bus stop straight away. Just ask someone you see.
    I changed some colones to Nicaraguan cordobas from a guy there. Check the rate for 1000 colones. Official rate is around 54. I was quoted 50 which was close enough for me as I only changed 10,000 colones ($16 USD), enough to get me to SJDS before I could go to an ATM. This also saves needing to do this at the border.

    5. The bus from Liberia went around an hour until there was a minor car accident near the bus which the driver blamed the bus driver so we had to get off and they waited til the police arrived. I shared a cab to the border with some other travellers for 2000 colones. Barring this, you should get to Penas Blancas in about an 1.5 – 2hrs and the bus costs around 1650 colones ($2.70). I still got to the border around 1145am.

    6. Pay your Costa Rican exit fee first (5000 colones) – you can do this at a window outside (its signposted) and they give you a receipt or with your card within the immigration office itself. Go through immigration after paying. This was really smooth and quick (10 mins total). I didn’t need to complete any forms (Australian passport).

    7. Go through a couple of passport checks. On the Nicaraguan side, they held my passport for about 20 mins and asked me to wait for some unknown reason. It wasn’t stressful. They eventually waved me through.

    8. Go through Nicaraguan immigration, they asked how long i’d be there (2 wks) and if i had an outward ticket (I didn’t as i read it wasnt needed). More discussions and then they let me through. Again, I didnt need to complete any forms. You pay the $12 USD direct to them, make sure you have this currency to make it easier.

    9. Leave immigration and you’re in Nicaragua! Walk down about 50m and there’s buses on the left. Take one that goes to Managua or Rivas, check it goes past La Virgen. Touts on the street will tell you the bus is only direct to Managua or there’s no buses or something (neither is true) and offer you a taxi for $20 USD, not a bad option but i was dedicated to the grind by now. I took the bus to Managua – it left 5 mins after I arrived. Get on, sit down and then pay after, a guy comes down the aisle to collect. It costs 30 cordobas ($1USD) to La Virgen and takes 30 mins.

    10. Follow this on Google Maps and go to the front as you approach, tell them your stop is La Virgen (“proxima parada a la Virgen por favor”) and they’ll stop for you. Tell them you need to get your bag from under the bus (if needed – “tengo una bolsa debajo el bus”). Facing the way the bus arrived, turn left and go down the road towards SJDS, you’ll see a couple of signs saying welcome to SJDS.. there’s a bus stop about 100m down to wait in the shade. I got here about 1.10pm.

    11. I had to wait a while til the bus, it eventually arrived at 2pm. It costs 20 cordobas ($0.60usd). It was one of the old US school buses and quite busy. I had to get them to put my big bag on the roof but it was secure. Arrived about 2.40pm in San Juan Del Sur at the ‘Market’ bus stop which is central and walking distance to everything.

    TLDR: It takes around 8-9 hours and 5 buses. It’s time consuming but not difficult. Transport only costs are around $11 USD vs $65 for the shuttle which is still 3 or 4 hours. Familiarise yourself with the route on Google Maps so you can track your blue dot and get off where you need to.
    Complete the route and chill like a true backpacker champion in SJDS. Like everything in life, take snacks and enjoy the journey!!

  14. Francesca

    Hey! I’ve been travelling in Costa Rica and your bus guides have been a god send! Just to give you some updated info on Monteverde to La Fortuna, which I did today, the bus to Tilaran is now 12.10 (rather than 11.30) and costs 1300 colona, it took approx 2 hours and then I picked up the 3.30 from Tilaran for 2975 colona to Fortuna and was in my hostel for 5.20 which I thought was pretty efficient 👍🏼 Even managed a sneaky beer in Tilaran as I had an hour to kill – it’s definitely an easy journey to make and a fifth of the price of the transfer (which I did the other way and it was nice – great boat ride and awesome viewpoint from the bus)

    • James

      Thanks Francesca we have just done the exact same journey! We left monteverde from outside the tourist information centre and got the 15.30 bus to La Fortuna from Tilarán

  15. Abigaël

    Just found this incredible we site, so helpful!
    We actualy are in Quepos and Would like to get to Monteverde / Santa Elena, would it be better to do Quepos-SJO-MV or Quepos-Puntarenas-MV?
    Also any recommendation for best zipline in MV/SantaElena?
    Thank you very much!!

    • AJ

      Hey! I would go via Puntarenas. It’s faster! Also, it’s been 7yrs since I went ziplining but we went to Xtremo I think it was called and it was supposed to have the longest ride.

  16. Jade M

    Hi, Transmonteverde has a new timetable.

    Monteverde-San Jose
    5:30am and 2:30pm

    San Jose-Monteverde
    6:30am and 2:30pm

    Cost is ₡3035

    • centrocoasting

      Thank you!

  17. Pavelito

    Bear in mind that the 5:30 bus from Monteverde to Puntarenas is not going on Sundays. The 6:00 is, though, current price 1590 colones.

    • centrocoasting

      Thanks! Always good to know when Sunday buses are different.

  18. Daniel tomenendal

    Hey guys, the 6am bus from Monteverde to Puntarenas still exists. I used it 3 days ago and it was quiet easy.
    Does anyone have a good idea how to come relatively easy from Quepos to the Corcovado National Park? And where would be the best town to stay for 2-3 days? Would like to see the Park and do a kayaking tour in Golfo Dulce.
    Thanks guys

    • centrocoasting

      Thank you for the info. Sorry for the slow reply. Hope you had a great time in the Park!

  19. Brian

    Hi, what would be the best way to get to Hojancha from Monteverde? I see that the bus is not currently operating due to the road closures but trying to plan the trip for whenever they resume service again.

    Many thanks 🙏🏼

    • centrocoasting

      Hi Brian, sorry we don’t have any alternate route info for the road closure right now. I recommend going to the tourist information or to the bus terminal where you buy the tickets and see what they recommend.

  20. Lauren

    We’re a couple traveling from Canada and we just completed the route from Monteverde (Santa Elena) to Playas del Coco. Here is what we did, as I’m sure it will help some people:

    1- We took the TransMonteverde bus at 6am, headed to Puntarenas with a stop in Lagarto. The ticket cost 875 colones.

    2- We got off the bus at Lagarto, right at the entrance of the InterAmericana Highway. There is no official station or bus stop, but you’ll know it’s there because the dirt road stops and a paved road cuts the way. There’s also a green road side indicating « Puntarenas » left and « Liberia » right. We got there at about 8am.

    3- At 8:30am, a blue bus came down the highway with a Liberia sign in its front window. We flagged it down and got on board. The ticket cost 2350 colones.

    4- We arrived in Liberia, walked a couple blocks to the Pulmitan Terminal, bought our tickets (710 colones each) and got on the bus right away. It left 5 minutes later, at 10:30am.

    5- We arrived in Coco at 11:30 am! The trip went just fine. The connections were easy and the buses were on time. All in all, we only waited 30 minutes in Lagarto. The trip took 5h30 and cost about $8 US per person, versus 4 hours and $40-50 for a shuttle. Totally worth it 🙂

    • centrocoasting

      Thank you! this is helpful.

    • Normand morin

      Update !
      From Monteverde bus station Take the 06:00 am bus To Puntarenas (1300 colones) The dirt road end’s a lot sooner now (Guacimal) And get off at the jonction with the rt.1 pan am.(1km. after Sardinal there is a big service station on the left corner ) +/- 07:50 Get out and To the right is the bus stop for the blue bus heading To Liberia +/- 08:00 (2825 colones)! Arriving in Liberia +/- 10:30
      Lagarto ? Never could find it !??
      Normand Morin
      P.S.i paid the driver in Monteverde , but you can by your ticket in advance at the office !

      • Romina


        I’m slightly confused by this update. After the first bus heading towards puntarenas, you got off at guacimal?

        And did you walk 1km to the bus stop for the bus heading to Liberia?

  21. Anna

    We just did the gecko trail tour from fortuna to monteverde: it is just a 1,5 h horseride, the rest of the tour will be done by car and boat, plus our baggage which we of course could not take with me on the horse has been opened by somebody. So I would not recommend it to anyone. Greetings, Anna

  22. Sky

    Just want to verify the La Irma schedule. I forgot to snap a picture of the board above the stop but the bus passes at 10 am and 3 pm. it works as a good waypoint for anyone coming from Samara, Nosara, or elsewhere in that part of the peninsula. There is a covered bus stop along highway 145 across from the gas station on 1 (the Inter American highway?), past the taxi lot. Though I can’t speak to how consistent the taxis are, there was at least one waiting in the little lot for the better part of the day to catch passengers who were headed in one direction or the other.

    • Sky

      Oh! the fare was about 2500 colones for two people at the time of posting (7/14/2018) and getting on at that stop we were not allowed to put baggage beneath the bus though we didn’t press the issue.

      • centrocoasting

        Thanks, Sky! Great info contribution.

  23. Michael Kensington

    Hi there – this information was very helpful before we took the bus from San Jose to Santa Elena. Here is our summary of he trip from yesterday (15 June).
    We flew into San Jose in the morning landed at 9.30 and were out by 10.30. We caught an orange taxi (registered airport taxi) and it cost C 17000 to get to 7-10 Terminal. I tried to book ahead on the transmonteverde website but it wasn’t working. We simply went to level 2 in 7-10 and purchased our tickets, cost was C 2945 each I think. 7-10 is a great place to chill and wait for the bus level 3 had heaps of space and views over San Jose. The bus itself left on time just after 2.30pm and we arrived in Santa Elena at 7.20pm including one short stop. We were very glad that we booked our tickets early as the bus was chockablock, about 15 people were standing in the isle the whole way. I can’t comment on whether we stopped at bus stop close to the airport. I don’t think we did, but maybe that is because no one had booked a ticket with that bus stop. Cheers and hopefully this helps.

    • centrocoasting

      Thanks, Micheal! Great info.

  24. Narelle

    The schedule for the bus going from monte verde from San Jose has been recently updated to 7am and 2:30pm everyday (ie 6:30am bus got moved to 7am). However this is not reflected on the 7-10 bus terminal website. The price for this bus is 2,945 colones.

    Also anyone know how long they journey from Monteverde to Santa Teresa is by public transport?

    • Narelle

      Going to Monteverde from San Jose***** oh dear.

  25. Piet

    I left Montezuma today and can confirm that there is a 5.30 am and a 6 am Bus. The price is still 1500c to Puntarenas and 500c to Lagartos the crossing at the highway if you want to go north. Expect them to still ask for the full price or getting charged crazily if you travel with a surfboard (3000c to Lagartos) and they refuse you to enter the bus if you dont pay. I didnt have the problem on my way to Monteverde and only paid 1500c from Puntarenas.

    Regards Piet

    • centrocoasting

      Thanks, Piet! Really high surfboard fees make me crazy in Costa Rica – since often you can pay more for your board than you do for your seat! I now ask for a receipt each time but nobody will ever give me one.

  26. Melody

    Hi there. We are 3 people in Montezuma going to Santa Elena next. We are planning on leaving Montezuma very early to take the 530 am ferry to puntarenas to catch the 815 bus to Santa Elena to avoid travelling for so long during the day. I’m wondering if there is another option I’m missing that wont involve us having to wake up so early. Also staying a night in santa Teresa is an option for us. Thank you for your great tips on this blog! They have been helpful so far in the travels

    • centrocoasting

      Montezuma to Santa Elena is a long trip! So no matter what bus you take its a long day. You don’t need to be on the 5:30am ferry if you want to sleep in. You just need to get on the 9am ferry sailing so you can get the 1:15pm bus to Monteverde. You have two bus options from Montezuma. You can take the Transportes Cobano bus leaving from Montezuma to Puntarenas. Its a nicer bus but you have to pay the full fare all the way to San Jose even if you get off in Puntarenas. Or you can take the local bus to Cobano then Cobano to Paquera then get on the ferry. It will save you a bit to do this, check out this page for more info on prices You will end up in Puntarenas a bit early if you take the 9am ferry so you can get to the bus station and have some lunch before getting on the bus to Monteverde/Santa Elena. You can try doing the 11am ferry but I think its nicer not to rush and get to Puntarenas with enough time to eat and use the toilet and relax before another long bus trip. Here is a bit of route info:

      • Kelly Top

        Do you know if the construction on 606 has effected any bus routes/times?

        • centrocoasting

          Hi Kelly, I believe the construction is interrupting traffic and they are allowing vehicles to pass at different points in the day. However, I don’t know if this will affect the bus’ ability to get there. The Transmonteverde website is still selling tickets for two buses per day and so my assumption is that they will time it to let the bus through. You could Transmonteverde and ask

  27. Mary Henry

    I go to Tilaran from Santa Elena often. I always have a coffee at the coffee shop next door to Vitosi and wait for the noon bus. I don’t know anything abut any earlier bus at all. There is one later in the afternoon.

    • centrocoasting

      Thanks, Mary!!

  28. James


    Wanted to check the times for the bus from Monteverde to Punta Arenas is 4:30am or 3:00pm? My spanish isnt the best but i believe that is what the first picture says?

    Hoping to make it as close to Dominical as possible in 1 day, leaving from Tilaran on the 8:30am-Monteverde first.


    • centrocoasting

      Hi James, I never realized that sign isn’t super clear. It’s 4:20 and 3pm. There is also one at 5:30am that takes a different route but also goes to Puntarenas. It says 6am via Sardinal but I believe that was changed to 5:30am. If you are in Monteverde I would buy your ticket in advance or get there early. My last experience in busy season had a very full bus!

  29. Kate

    Santa Elena to Arenal (not La Fortuna)

    This one is too easy!

    7am Santa Elena to Tilarán (leaves from outside the Tourist information)

    10am Tilarán to Arenal

    Arrive in Arenal around 11am.

    We can’t remember the exact price but we think the whole journey was around $7 dollars.
    There isn’t a shuttle from Monteverde to Arenal, the shuttle only goes to La Fortuna (even though it has to pass Arenal to get to La Fortuna). We were quoted $250 dollars!!!

    • centrocoasting

      Thanks again, Kate! I am happy to hear that this trip was so easy for you! That is a crazy shuttle price quote!

      • Mary Henry

        It’s really crazy. But people charge it. I go to Tilaran by bus and stay the night then at 6:00 the next morning I take a shuttle all the way to the border and back for $50.

  30. Sam

    Just to say we’re in Santa Elena now and have discovered that the 5.30am bus to Puntarenas does exist but doesn’t run on Sundays.

    • centrocoasting

      Thank you so much for this update Sam! Sorry if you had been there for 5:30am. We just got reports from two travellers that this new bus time exists but I guess they did not travel on Sunday. I have updated the info above.

      • Sam

        No worries, luckily our hotel let us know so we were not waiting around! So you know, the 6am bus got us to Puntarenas in time for the 9am ferry. It was a little tight as we had to clear the road of a fallen tree en route from Santa Elena but should normally be fine. Police met the bus in Puntarenas and were very helpful finding taxis and explaining the cost so travellers weren’t ripped off. They seemed concerned for tourist safety and to be honest Puntarenas didn’t seem somewhere I’d want to hang around on my own! Also worth noting that the buses meeting the ferry/connecting to Santa Teresa at Cobano all wait for each other so don’t worry if your bus is running quite late, your connection will still be there. Thanks for the amazing resource – travelling Costa Rica has been so easy with the info from your site.

  31. Sarah Kemp

    Love this website – it’s helped so much while travelling! Yesterday I travelled from San Juan del Sur (Nicaragua) to Monteverde, so thought I’d post my route in case it can help anyone else avoid paying for an overpriced shuttle!

    San Juan Del Sur – La Virgen (take the bus for Rivas, ask to be let off at La Virgen junction)
    8.00-8.40 ~40mins
    Should cost 10 cordobas but the guy charged us 30 cordobas and wouldn’t give us change!

    La Virgen – Peñas Blancas (bus arrived 2 mins after we got off the Rivas bus, I think they run every 20mins)
    8.40-9.05 ~25mins
    20 cordobas but again think we were overcharged, locals looked like they were paying 10 cordobas

    35mins border crossing
    40min wait for bus

    Peñas Blancas – Liberia (there is a ticket office at the border but when closed you can just pay the bus driver before boarding)
    10.20-12.10 ~1hr 50mins
    $3.50 / 2000 colones

    Liberia – Irma (take the 1pm bus for Puntarenas, ask to be let off at Irma junction and then walk across the road to the Monteverde stop)
    13.00-14.40 ~1hr 40mins
    2000 colones

    Irma – Monteverde / Santa Elena (Sign on the bus stop reads “10am y 3pm” – there is no bus later than 3pm so you need to make sure you arrive early!)
    15.00-17.00 ~2hrs
    1200 colones

    Total time = 9 hours (departing San Juan del Sur at 8am, arriving Santa Elena at 5pm)

    Total cost approx. $12 (vs. $65 shuttle booked with private company!)

    • centrocoasting

      Awesome, Sarah! You rock. I have added your advice to the route page and linked it above to be sure travellers can always find it. Also, if you get a second, come like us on FB and give us a rating too!! Bien Viaje!

  32. Anni

    We took a bus from Monteverde to Puntarenas at 5:30 am (July 2017), which is not on your list yet. Surprisingly, it was really fast and took us about 2 1/2 hours, so perfectly in time to still catch the 9am ferry to Paquera. I’m sorry but I can’t remember the price for the bus ticket anymore, but I think it was about the price you mentioned. We then shared a taxi to the ferry with two other travelers and paid ₡2000 altogether.

    • centrocoasting

      Thanks, Anni! I will look into that 5:30am bus. That’s really useful if there is one that can get you to the ferry at 9am. When you were at the office did they have a new schedule posted? And, was the bus in addition to the one at 6am?

      • Janneke

        Hi guys! We also took the bus from 5.30 am, we arrived at Puntarenas around 8.15, so we could get the Ferry to Paquera at 9.00 am, just like Anni. We also shared a taxi with two other travelers and paid ₡1650. When we arrived at Paquera there was already a bus waiting to go to Montezuma (takes about 1-1,5 hrs). But you have to be quick if you would like to have a seat 😉 If you are heading to Santa Teresa/ Mal Pais you have to leave the bus at Cóbano and jump on the bus to Santa Teresa/ Mal Pais (the green one on the pictures). From Cóbano to Santa Teresa/ Mal Pais is 30 minutes.
        I couldn’t find a schedule at the office in Monteverde, I got the information of our hosts. But there is also a bus going to Puntarenas at 6.00 am.

        • centrocoasting

          Thank you, Janneke!

          • Anni

            Thanks Janneke for chipping in!
            We had the same experiences as Janneke, there is no bus schedule in the Monteverde office, but I found out about the 5:30 bus on horariodebuses/ and just went to the office the day before and asked whether there is also a bus departing at that time. I bought the tickets then, but you can also buy them when boarding the bus.

            • centrocoasting

              Awesome, you two! Thanks for helping centrocoasting and for helping your fellow travellers! Keep us posted if you see any other schedule changes 🙂

  33. Ralph

    The information here is very useful, thanks!

    Do the buses to Monteverde have bagage storage?
    Is a suitcase doable or is a backpack recommended when traveling to Monteverde?
    Can I buy tickets in advance or only on the day of departure?

    • centrocoasting

      Hi Ralph! Happy to know we have helped. To answer your questions: the buses do have baggage storage underneath. Whether you bring a backpack or suitcase is up to you. There are taxis to help you get your stuff to your hotel if it’s far away or if you can walk if it’s close. You can buy your ticket in advance if you want. This time of year there are less tourists so there is likely several open seats on the bus. You can purchase your ticket at the 7-10 station in San José or you can purchase online with – they provide a per-purchase service for a $3 fee. Have a great trip!

  34. Laura

    Hello! Thinking of taking this bus from San Jose to Monteverde and then back again. Does it have a toilet? Thanks!

    • centrocoasting

      Hi Laura! None of the one’s that I have ever been on have had a toilet. The bus to/from San José isn’t too long though so you should be ok as long as you don’t have a coffee before you get on! 🙂

      • Laura

        Does it have restroom stops?

        • centrocoasting

          I can’t remember 100% but I feel it is very unlikely it doesn’t stop. Usually any bus ride over 3hrs has at least a 15min break.

          • Laura

            Ok thanks. I have read this is a 4 1/2 hour trip.

  35. Marsha

    Thanks a lot for that confirmation. I have booked the accommodation with Maleku Hostel following your recommendation. I will share my ‘bus story’ after I came back from the trip:) Also, thanks for letting me know about possibility of buying the ticket online. I might do it on the bus in case of the bus not stopping in Villa Bonita or a driver not noticing me. On the other hand maybe if I reserve online they will know that there is someone that needs to be picked up in Villa Bonita…Anyhow – thanks once again for the info.

    • centrocoasting

      Sorry to be slow with this reply, Marsha! So great to hear that you are getting ready and excited about your upcoming advernture. Definitely come back and let us know how it all went! Pura Vida.

  36. Marsha

    Thank you so much for this website, Centrocoasting! I have been looking for some recent info on busses from Alajuela to Monteverde and couldn’t see anything dated after 2015 and then I came across your website. Thanks!
    would you happen to know whether the morning bus from San Jose also stop in Vila Bonita and if yes – what time more less should reach Vila Bonita. I think the morning bus departures from the capital at 7 am.
    Thanks in advance for your help,

    • centrocoasting

      Hi Marsha! Sorry for the slow reply. This bus does pass by the Villa Bonita stop. It takes about 30 mins if traffic is smooth to get there from the 7-10 station. So I would plan to be at the Villa Bonita by about 7:20am. I have not taken the bus to Monteverde from here but I did recently ask to double check if they still stop there and I was assured it is a pickup spot. You will likely need to wave at it so keep your eyes pealed and let the locals there selling water/snacks to help you keep watch. There is a new business in town that will sell you tickets online for this bus if you want to pre-purchase Drop us a comment back here after the trip and let us know how it goes to share your experience with others! 🙂

  37. Angelica R

    Would anyone know if I would be able to make the 2 pm bus to Monteverde from Villa bonita bus stop if my flight arrives to San Jose International at 12:30 pm during the week? How much time would it take to exit customs and get to this stop which is about 3.2 km away it seems. Also what is the best way to get to the villa bonita stop from the airport? Any suggests would be much appreciated?

    • centrocoasting

      Hi Angelica, it is highly unlikely that you will clear customs and exit the airport before 2pm. I suggest planning on heading to Monteverde in the morning. I like the hostel Melaku (reserver in advance) just a quick taxi ride away from the airport (~$5). It’s cheap and you can grab a taxi from there in the morning (~$5) to meet the bus at Villa Bonita. If by some miracle you get through customs quickly then just take a taxi from the airport to Villa Bonita – head out of the airport and to the bus stop in front of the airport to get a taxi. The bus should pass Villa Bonita at 2:30pm since it leaves San Jose at 2pm. Just to note, there is a major construction happening on a bridge in San Jose right now that is slowing traffic and changing some routes. I have messaged the bus company and will let you know as soon as I hear anything. If you decide to stay in San Jose close to the 7-10 station where the bus to Monteverde starts from then I recommend Gaudys Backpacker

      • centrocoasting

        I just received confirmation that the bus to Monteverde will still pass the Villa Bonita. As mentioned above the bus will pass around 2:30, but get there a bit early if you can. Good luck!

  38. Julia Bauerdick

    Hey guys, do you happen to know if there is a way to get from Peñas Blancas or at least Liberia directly to Monteverde/Santa Elena without passing through San José? Thanks, Juli

    • centrocoasting

      Hey Julia! I haven’t done this route myself but the trick is to route through La Irma. Have a look at this page and you can find a link to a blogger who has more or less done that route Have a great trip! And, if you can, we would love for you to follow up below this comment and tell us how your trip went. This travel guide is all about sharing bus travel experiences and passing along your knowledge to the next traveller whenever we can! 🙂

      • centrocoasting

        Also, a backpacker recently told us that the bus to Monteverde passes La Irma at 10am and 3pm.

  39. Janusz

    Hallo, can you advise the best way to get from Puerto Viejo to Monteverde (Santa Elena). We have booking at the hostal in Santa Elena the same day, we leave Puerto Viejo morning. We get the public bus from P V to San Jose and than swith to one that going to Monteverde.
    Can we catch the bus in S Jose going to Santa Elena (2.30pm.?.)?? Have we change bus terminal in San Jose?. Thank you for your help. With regards Janusz

    • centrocoasting

      Hola Janusz! The bus from Puerto Viejo to San Jose will take about 4.5hrs. The bus from San Jose to Monteverde leaves at 2:30pm as you said. So if you take an early bus form Puerto Viejo then you should have enough time to change bus stations and get to Monteverde in one day. The bus from Puerto Viejo will arrive at Terminal MEPE Have a look at the map on this page. If you zoom in a bit you will see a station just 2 blocks away called Empressa Alfaro. This is the new 7-10 station. It used to be called Alfaro. As you can see it is a very close walk so changing bus stations is easy and quick. Have a great trip!

  40. Nicole

    Hello. I hope you can help me. I arrive late on 26th of january in San José airport. I want to take the bus to Monteverde the following day, friday the 27th. Should I stay one night in San José and take the bus from from the 7-10 terminal? Or is it possible to stay one night in Alajuela and take the bus from there to Monteverde? Does the bus stop close to Alajuela? Thanks for your help!

    • centrocoasting

      Hi! I am sorry I can not confidently answer this question as I have not done this option for Monteverde. There is a stop called Villa Bonita near the Airport that many buses pass by as they are headed towards the coast, but I am not positive if the Monteverde bus will pass this spot. Have a look at where I am talking about here: One option would be to phone the hostel and ask them, they would likely know. I like to stay at a place called Melaku It’s simple but the beds are comfortable and the staff is very nice. Book in advance if you decide to stay here (no affiliation to this website, I just like them). If you do this route and it works out from Alajuela, please come back and leave a comment here to help other travellers 🙂

  41. Tom

    And there is no Option First to Drive to puntarenas and then take a bus to Jaco? Thanks for your help

    • centrocoasting

      Yes, you can also do this. Sorry, I should have suggested this option first. You can take the bus from Monteverde to Puntarenas and then switch to the bus to Jaco in Puntarenas. Both options require two buses. Have a look at the Puntarenas page for the schedule.

  42. Tom

    Can you advise the best Way to Get to Jaco tomorrow? Please incloude the departute Times. Thanks Tom

    • centrocoasting

      Hi Tom, your easiest option is to take the bus from Monteverde to San José tomorrow morning at 6:30am. It would be best for you to buy the ticket today to be sure that you get a spot. If not, get to the station early. If the bus is sold out, ask if you can still get on and stand. They usually say yes. Have a look at the photos above to see the front of the office where you will see the departure time of 6:30am. This bus will take you to the 7-10 station in San José. From there you can get on a bus to Jacó with the company Transportes Jacó. There is a bus leaving every hour until 7pm (until 8pm on Fridays). This is a long day but it is the easiest as you only have to change buses once and the buses come/go from the same place in San José. Have a great trip!

  43. David

    Can you advise the best way to get to Santa elena from Tamarindo. Thanks

    • centrocoasting

      Hi David! If I were you I would choose one of these two options:

      1) Take the bus from Tamarindo to the Liberia Municipal Station. Take an early bus as this bus is ~2.5hrs (or 3.5hrs for some buses which take a longer route). From Liberia head to Puntarenas. The trip from Liberia to Puntarenas is about 3-3.5hrs and buses leave almost every hour so you need to arrive in Liberia from Tamarindo by ~9am to take the 9:30am bus headed to Puntarenas). From Puntarenas grab the bus heading to Monteverde (this bus leaves a few times but the best option is the one that leaves at 1:15pm).

      2) Take a bus from Tamarindo all the way to San Jose. This is a long trip (about 7hrs) so you need to leave early. In San Jose the bus to Monteverde leaves from the 7-10 Terminal. There are two buses each day and the afternoon bus leaves for Monteverde at 2:30pm.

      **You will have to double check with a hotel or tourist info center in Tamarindo for the schedule for buses leaving Tamarindo to San Jose or Liberia. When I was last there the schedules were in a state of change. Sorry about this. I will be updating my Tamarindo information soon. For now, check with a local business or find the updated schedule in the Local Magazine.

      There is a 3rd option – but it is not any easier or any more convenient than these two.

      These two locations are a far distance away and so this is a long day but you can do it.

      Hope this helps! Have a great trip!

  44. Laura Hattrick

    Hello wondering what the journey is like from San Jose to Monteverde. And time and wheee the bus stops and arrives. Thanks!

    • centrocoasting

      Hi Laura! The journey from San José to Monteverde is about 4hrs. You will take the bus from the 7-10 terminal ( in San José. Have a look at that page to see where it is located. You will find a photo of the schedule on that page. The bus leaves 2 times per day at 6:30am and 2:30pm. The first part of your journey will be just getting out of the city. The second half of the journey will have you climbing in elevation on a windy road towards Monteverde/Santa Elena. The bus goes slower as the road becomes more curvy. Much of the road is not paved and is dusty. The bus wont likely be a/c but it is comfortable – and the views are stunning! Enjoy the trip!

  45. kevin

    how can i catch the bus from monteverde to tamarindo on wednesdays….thanks

    • centrocoasting

      Hi Kevin, there are a few ways to do this. 1) you can take the bus from Monteverde to Puntarenas, then switch busses in Puntarenas to the one going to Liberia. Then in Liberia grab one of the several buses leaving Liberia to Tamarindo from the Municipal Station. or 2) You can take the bus from Monteverde to San Jose and then switch to a bus heading directly to Tamarindo from there (see the 7-10 station or Terminal Tralapa pages). Have a great trip!

  46. Bret

    I feel so silly if I had known it was so cheap and easy I would have come i just didn’t want to pay the shuttle cost from santa teresa and thought it was too dificult and long by bus. thanks for this next time. B

    • centrocoasting

      Don’t feel silly Bret, lots of people choose the shuttle because it is faster and well promoted. The trip by bus is pretty nice and pretty easy. You have to change busses a few times and there is a layover in Puntarenas, but if you are on a budget then it’s a much cheaper option!

Leave a Comment