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!

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


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

  1. Arne

    We took the bus from la Irma to Monteverde. Comfortable bus. We had to put our luggage in the trunk under the bus. 1175 Colones. Schedule is still the same (10am and 3pm).

    I came from Sámara: Bus to Nicoya at 6.30am, in Nicoya there is a Bus waiting from/to San José. It will drop you off at La Irma around 9am. In La Irma there is a Gas station where you can buy drinks/snacks and use the toilet.

    • Arne

      A guy from the hostel told me about the new schedule from Santa Elena to Puntarenas:
      4.20 (or 4.30?) am

  2. Natascha Robert-Nicoud

    Hi !
    My friend and I would like to go from Monteverde to Liberia. The thing is we would arrive at Monteverde at about 11a.m. When looking at the comments and information, I saw that we could take a bus at 3p.m from Monteverde to la Irma, the question is: is there a bus from la Irma to Liberia that late in the afternoon ? Cause every people in the comment section took the 4:20a.m bus…
    thank you so much for this website !

  3. 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!

    • Brian Connon

      We have been told (at Cabinas Eddy) that Santa Elena to Liberia involves three buses; one from SE to Tilaran (0700); Tilaran to Cañas; Cañas to Liberia. Will try in three days time. B.

  4. 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

  5. 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!

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. 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

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