San José – Gran Terminal del Caribe


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At Gran Terminal del Caribe you can find buses to: Puerto Viejo* , Río Frío, Guápiles, Guácimo, Cariari, Squirres, Pocora, Limón, Peñas Blancas. This terminal also has a website with all of the schedules. Check it out here: grupocaribenos. Update on their website: something is weird on the site these days, maybe best to check the FB https://www.facebook.com/grupocaribenos/

Note that the Puerto Viejo destination here is not the popular caribean beach location near the Panama border. This bus leaves from the Terminal MEPE.

 

San Jose to Peñas Blancas (Border)

Buses leave from here for the border to Nicaragua, Peñas Blancas  – for years this ran out of the Deldu station and is why you may read that online. Buses go at 3am, 5am, 6am, 8:30am, 10am, 12pm, 2pm, 4:45pm, 7pm. Price is ¢4625 (May 2017)

Peñas Blancas to San José: 3am, 4am, 6am, 8:30am, 10am, 12pm, 330pm, 5:30pm

A recent photo (May 2017) of the schedule is in the photos below.

 

To the Caribbean

San José to Limón, Siquirres, and Guapiles.

To get to Puerto Viejo, the popular caribean location near the Panama border from San José you need the MEPE station. The Groupo Caribeños does provide service to Puerto Viejo but only from that region. Buses leave for Puerto Viejo from Guápiles.

We will be further updating this page 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.

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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!

CONNECTING STATIONS

PHOTOS TO SHOW YOU THE WAY

Full Schedule
Photo taken May 2017

Photo taken May 2017

HIGH FIVES

18 travel tips for San José – Gran Terminal del Caribe - share your tips below!

  1. Katrina

    Hello! I”m trying to go to Tortuguero with my mom next week and I know we’re supposed to catch a local bus to Cariari, but what times do the buses leave from San Jose to get to Cariari? Thanks for your help! 🙂

  2. Chris S

    Do you know if we can purchase tickets directly at the station? I cannot seem to find a functioning website where I can purchase tickets to Puerto Viejo de Sarapiquí online.

    • centrocoasting

      Yes, you purchase tickets at the station. They don’t have a way to buy tickets online and it does seem like their website is now not functioning at all!

  3. Larry

    Hi, I’ll be in CR next week and planning to go to Sarapiqui. Is this the correct terminal? How often are the buses? Thanks

    • centrocoasting

      Hey there. I am not 100% sure about that area. I only know of the stops it lists in the images on this page. Whatever schedules we have are also listed. You can also check the terminal website which is linked above in the text. You can also try the Costa Rica By Bus Facebook page to ask about specific small towns.

  4. Jane

    Hi,
    My (soon-to-be) husband and I will be arriving in San Jose for our Costa Rican backpacking honeymoon on 12 February 2019 at SJO and staying overnight in a hotel in Alajuela. We want to move on to Tortuguero and plan to catch a bus (ideally the following day – Wed 13 February) from San Jose to Cariari, then Cariari to Pavona and then by boat Pavona to Tortuguero. We have read that buses leave at 6.30 am, 9 am, 10.30 am and 1 pm for this journey. I know that tickets must be bought at the ticket office of Grupo Caribenos in San Jose. What I would like to know is: if we can’t buy them in advance (ie we just arrive on the day) are we likely to get tickets – for the earlier buses? I understand they can be bought in advance and I’m wondering if some buses are very popular and get booked up? I would appreciate any advice – it will help us greatly with our planning.
    Thank you.

    • centrocoasting

      Hi Jane, in my experience, if there are multiple buses per day, you should be able to get on one of them. I usually show up at least an hour early for the bus I want to take. However, Costa Rica is getting busier and busier all the time so I can’t say for sure if there will be a seat. I am not familiar with that particular bus and how busy it is this time of year. Good luck!

  5. Doc

    Hello,

    My family (2 adults and 1 infant) will be landing in SJ at noon and hope to catch the 2pm or 445pm bus to the border. Do you know of any luggage limitations (we will have 2 suitcases and a carry on size)? How long does it take to get from SJ to the border? Thank you for your help.

    • centrocoasting

      Hi there. There isn’t usually any kind of luggage limitation. You should be fine. They sometimes charge for oversized items and for sure a charge for surfboards or the like. I believe the trip is about 5hrs. Have a good one!

  6. Alicia

    Hello,i need to go to Samara beach in february,my fligth arrive at 1pm to SJO,where i can catch a bus to Samara beach,and ,since the airport how can i go to the autobus station?How much icost taxi from SJO to bus satation…terminal?

    • centrocoasting

      Hi Alicia, you will need to go to the 7-10 station to get the bus to Samara. It goes direct 2 times per day. https://centrocoasting.com/costarica/san-jose-7-10/

      It’s been a little while since I have taken a taxi to the station from the airport but it usually depends on traffic and time of day. You’re probably going to pay between 25-40 dollars. Uber is also an option though I’ve never done Uber.

      Please be sure to double check your bus time closer to your travel date. The 7-10 station also has a website now so good to check there. Search for Guanacaste http://terminal7-10.com/en/rutas/guanacaste-2/

  7. John

    Hi, I’m flying into San Jose in a few weeks. I’ll be landing around noon and I wanted to take a bus to the NIcaragua border at Penas Blancas… Seems like I should take a taxi from the airport to Gran Terminal del Caribe, where I will hop on the 2pm bus to the border that is run by Grupocaribenos. Will it all be ok if I just show up with cash (colons)? Their website is grupocaribenos.net I just wanted to make sure all of their schedule info is up to date. I’m sure they’ll have up to date stuff on hand when I arrive.

    • Patrick

      hey there,

      colones are the country currency, so you’ll be AOK.

      USD is accepted in some places as well but, you should only pay with $20.00 notes.

      • Donald in Santa Ana

        Oh, I forgot – I think both buses (Deldú and the one to Iberia) stop at the bus terminal in Alajela. Be careful because there are several routes, just tell the driver you need to go to the bus terminal and Not Festia Gambling Canico. You should be able to get your ticket on the day of travel because there are many buses to these locations.

    • centrocoasting

      Hey John! Thanks for the help with this one, Patrick. Yes colones is best to have. In my experience, USD gets you a bad exchange anyway. There are some cases where having a bit of USD is helpful, though not necessary – I have sometimes paid border crossing fees in USD and in this case it’s helpful to have smaller notes too. I haven’t checked the Groupo Carribenos schedule in a bit but this one usually doesn’t change too much. It should be the same or very close. It’s a very nice terminal and lots of people to help you there if you need it!

    • Donald in Santa Ana

      If you are on a tight budget, I would suggest doing the following. 1st take the bus to San Jose (bus stop in front of the airport – short walk), it ends in the Coke Coca area. Then a taxi to the Carib terminal. Total cost about 7500 to 8000 colones. If you arrive in the late afternoon, take the bus to Coke Coca then a bus to Iberia (bus station in Coke Coca, you will need a taxi) (there are hostels in Iberia). Then a bus to the border the next morning. Total cost about 5000 colones plus $10 for the hostel. Keep in mind the border closes at 10 pm M-S, 8 PM Sun.

  8. Catrin

    This is more of a general question… my friends and I plan on travelling back from Tortuguero via La Pavona and Cariari on the day of our flight from SJO at 15:05. From the information we have received it appears that we can return back to San Jose for 11am and will then get a taxi straight to the airport. I want to know how reliable the buses are and if this is an advisable thing to do? We will be doing the journey early in July so are aware it will be rainy season.

    • centrocoasting

      Hi Catrin, buses are reliable and not reliable. It’s really a hard question to answer. Much of the time for really common routes the bus times are pretty close to what you expect, but there are also times where they are not. I would ask your hotel when you are there, or even some locals to get a feel for if that route is regular and on time in. Sorry, can’t be more helpful than that. Have a great trip.

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