San José – Tracopa Terminal

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The San José Tracopa Terminal is where you find buses heading South. Major destinations include: David (Panama), Paso Canoas, Golfito, Uvita, Dominical, Quepos and Manuel Antonio.


Tracopa Terminal is a nice, clean, open station with two spots for food and coffee, and has nice clean bathrooms. We have a recent photo of the schedule below (May 2017). If you want to double check times and prices, have a look at the Tracopa website.  Although the website only shows you the main routes and times and wont break it down to when buses pass stops along the way. In general with Tracopa however, even if you are getting off half way enroute, you pay full fare.
Surfers, you will pay an extra 2000₡ for your board.


I have had it recommended to me in the past to purchase tickets one day in advance during the busy season. I have never done this and have always managed to get a ticket on my day of travel. But be warned – if it is a very busy time of year and you are taking a popular bus route then it is definitely a good idea to show up at least an hour early in the morning to make sure you get a seat. If seats are full, ask if you can stand.


Need help planning activities on your trip?

If you need some vacation inspiration, check out some of the activities and tours offered for the Manuel Antonio and Central Pacific area. If you are still planning for your upcoming trip, I am told this Trip Planner from Gecko Trail is quite useful to help you prioritize where you want to spend your time! Gecko Trail is a ICT certified Travel Agency that has great core values and gives back to the community. So much to see and do in this beautiful country!


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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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!



Photo Taken: May 2017

Photo Taken: May 2017

Coffee, soda, rice, beans, etc.

Ticket windows are along the wall on the left in front of the buses

Toilets - 200 colones!

Lots of seating and even a electrical outlet somewhere on one of the walls.

Another coffee spot

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59 travel tips for San José – Tracopa Terminal - share your tips below!

  1. Hila

    Your help please, I have difficulties understand the timetable in Tracopa website. I need information about the bus schedule from San Jose to Golfito please and to Rio Claro. Much appreciated, this site is wonderful.

  2. Mirjam

    For all of you who want to travel from San Jose to Manuel Antonio and then the same way back: I recommend you, buy the ticket for the way back in San Jose too. Because in Manuel Antonio there’s nowhere where you can buy a ticket. I had to take the local bus to Quepos (335 Colones) to buy the ticket there.

    • Robin

      Thanks very helpful

  3. Barbara

    Hey – do you know the name of the first bus stop leaving San Jose where the Tracopa buses along the Costanera route take the 20 minute break? It’s just after Orotina. I would like to take an Uber/taxi there from the airport avoiding having to get into SJ Centre. But I would need an address/name. I know that there is no official Tracopa office there to buy a ticket, but I’m willing to take that risk and hope the find a spare seat going towards Quepos. Any pointers to give Uber/taxi directions would be very helpful. Many thanks

    • centrocoasting

      Hi Barbara, sorry I didn’t get back to you on this one. Hope it worked out.

  4. Fernando Beltrán

    hola, quiero saber a que hora sale el primero bus hacia manuel antonio y si puedo comprarlo el mismo día que viajaré ? gracias saludos

  5. dolors

    Buenos dias
    me interesaria saber el mejor transporte para ir desde Sierpe A san José, tenemos el tiempo muy justo de regreso para tomar vuelo internacional
    el mes de <noviembre 2018, si alguien me puede ayudar, he visto un bus que pasa a las 7,30 am por Sierpe ,pero no coincide con el horarioi del ferry que sale de <<bahia Drake a 7.30 am
    muchas gracias

  6. Rūta

    Hello! I would like to travel to Sierpe from San Jose next day I arrive to Costa Rica, do they have a stable time-table, always leaving at 8.30, any other options in terms of times? How long does the trip last and how much is it (better to pay in colones rather than dollars)?

    I am arriving at late night, round 23.00, just would need to spend a night somewhere and take the bus in the morning in Tracopa, I suppose that it might be the most reasonable sleeping somewhere near the airpot and then getting a taxi in the morning to Tracopa terminal? Any recommendations in terms of economical accommodation (would prefer to have a private room if possible)?

    • centrocoasting

      I would stay near the airport when you arrive since it will be so late. I always stay at Melaku Hostel. But book in advance. The Tracopa schedule is stable. Best to check their website to be sure no changes have happened since I posted schedules here. To get to Sierpe you need any bus headed to the border or to Golfito that goes on the coastal route (costanera sur). I have never gone to Sierpe but I am guessing you get off in Palmar Norte and then get another bus. I would get some colones when you arrive. There are ATMs in the airport. Always nice to pay in the currency of the country you’re in!

  7. Tammy Brennan

    I no the bus goes to Golfito. But I need to go to Punta Banco. Does anyone no if the bus travels that far? If it doesn’t I’ll get off in Golfo & take a taxi the rest of the way. Thanks

    • centrocoasting

      Hi Tammy, hope the bus went ok. Sorry to be slow. You take the bus to Golfito, then to Pavones and after that I am not sure. The bridge was under construction last time I was in Pavones, but I am sure it is fixed now and I would call your accommodation in Punta Banco and ask for a pick up at the grocery store or something. Have a look a the Gofito Page.

  8. Olivia

    Is it easy to get a taxi from the San Jose Tracopa terminal? We will be arriving there at about 9pm at night. How would we find a taxi? Thanks!

    • centrocoasting

      Hi Olivia, there is a taxi stand at the station. I have never arrived at 9pm but I would assume there would be taxis there hoping to get customers from arriving buses!

  9. Moon

    Is the station safe to spend stay late night? We are catching an early bus and we get in late. I am sure we could get into a hostel but thought we may just wait it out in the station.

    • centrocoasting

      Sorry for the slow reply, Moon! I can’t comment on whether the station is safe at night. I don’t believe it is open at night so I would recommend checking that out before you make any plans. You’ll need to ask the station directly I would recommend getting a hostel, there are some close by. The area around Tracopa is so so. I’ve walked around in the day and some streets I felt comfortable and some not so comfortable.

  10. Flavia

    Hi hello! I need to go buenos aires on the 31 and i know trapoca goes there, but no idea of bus route and timetable ! Any advice? Thanks !

    • centrocoasting

      Hi Flavia! Sorry we don’t have specific information about Buenos Aires, but when you take the bus from Tracopa be sure you take the CERRO route though when heading south as the other route goes along the coast and will not pass near Buenos Aires. The Tracopa website shows Buenos Aires as a destination so I am assuming that one of the buses headed south from San Jose via the CERRO will pass there. Try calling them 2221-4214 or 2290-1308 or use the contact form on the website.

  11. Scott

    I am coming from Quepos to San Jose and need to get to the airport from the tracopa terminal. It seems like the best way is Uber. I am curious if you know if there is WIFI at the terminal?

    • centrocoasting

      HI Scott, I can’t say for sure. Last time I was at the station there was no wifi, but things are changing quickly in Costa Rica and there could be now! SIM cards are easy and inexpensive and so if you need to have wifi when travelling and your phone is unlocked then maybe a good idea to buy one! Have a great trip.

  12. brenda

    Tom, do not be a dumbass! use the internet,search and you will find the info you’re looking for, geez.

  13. Ian

    There seem to be a lot of questions about getting from the airport to a bus station in downtown. When we came in a couple of weeks ago we used Uber. The pickup point was away from the taxis right at the airport and cost to downtown was about $13. Quite a bit less than taxi’s and wouldn’t ned to worry about having Colones since it’s on the credit card that Uber has.

    • centrocoasting

      Thanks for the travel advice, Ian!

  14. Kristine Atkinson

    Any helpful advice for a family of four leaving from Jaco around noon on Nov 25 to get to Gofito or Rio Claro (final destination Zancudo)?
    Thanks for any assistance.

    • centrocoasting

      Hi Kristine, unfortunately the bus headed to Golfito from San José doesn’t pass right through Jacó – it passes on the highway outside of town. However the bus to Quepos passes right through Jacó. This bus runs very regularly and you can read more about it here. There are a few buses per day from San Jose to Golfito that will pass through Quepos. You can look at the schedule on this page You need the Costanera Sur routes as these pass through Quepos. You should be able to connect to the bus headed to Gofito. If you met up with the bus from San Jose to Golfito in Quepos that leaves San Jose at 6:30am you could probably do this route in a day. From Golfito I am not 100% sure your best option. But there is a bus that goes twice per day (3pm in the aft) to Pavones. You could get off in Conte and get a taxi the rest of the way. There may be a bus from Conte to Zancudo but I don’t know that schedule. I find that whole area to be quite friendly so you should be able to get some good advice or have someone call you a taxi. If I remember correctly there is a grocery store where the bus stop is in Conte. (its a small place but a few shops around). This is just my best advice as I haven’t done this route specifically. At the end of the day if this doesnt work out you could get off at the border and there will be a ton of taxis happy to drive you to Zancudo. Not sure what the cost would be but I would think maybe $80. Hope this helps!

  15. Amy

    Buenas noches,
    Soy Amy. Me pueden informar que parada me queda cerca despues de pasar Paso Canoa, llegare hasta la terminal, y cuanto es el pasaje

    • centrocoasting

      Hola, Amy! I assume you can get off at any stop/town you like after Paso Canoas. The website shows the ticket from San Jose to Paso Canoas to be ₡7.805,00 or San Jose to David at ₡11.970,00. I am not sure what the cost would be for a stop in between those two points. You can check the latest information on prices and schedule at Have a great trip!

  16. Vanessa

    Hi thank you for all the great information!
    What is the address of the tracopa station at San Jose to get to Manuel Antonio?
    Thank you!

    • centrocoasting

      Hi, Vanessa! You’re welcome, I am glad the information was helpful. The Tracopa Station is located on Calle 5. If you click the map marker above you will see the direction option. You can also zoom in and out of the map to see the location. Every taxi driver and local in San José will know where it is. I am not sure if the bus to Manuel Antonio is leaving directly from this station or from across the street. But head to the main station first as you will purchase the ticket here. Best to arrive a bit early. Have a great trip!

  17. Aly

    Am I able to buy tickets at the same place that the bus picks up or on the bus? Thank you for the well organized information!

    • centrocoasting

      Hi Aly, you can buy tickets at the Tracopa Terminal. There is a ticket window where you need to purchase your ticket before getting on. It’s always best to arrive at least a half an hour before your bus. Some routes fill up in the busy season. Have a great trip!

  18. Tamara

    We are very upset as we we’re travelling from Panama going back to Parrita on the last bus. The driver told us he would be going to Esterillos Oeste but took a different route back to San Jose. It was late in the night and we we’re still wet from the day. We had no where to go and no money. There was no one to talk to when we reached the bus station and had to stay two hours away from where we were suppose to be dropped off in a park that was in a very bad area. We are not happy at all as we don’t know many people to call. We will be calling authority to clear this up.

    • centrocoasting

      Hi Tamara, sorry you had a bad experience. After over 8 yrs of extensive bus travel I have had a few similar ones for sure! Bus service has significantly improved over the last few years but it’s still far away from perfect. Hopefully you found a taxi and got a decent hostel in San Jose and made it to your destination the next day. You could talk to the company, though in my experience they are not overly sympathetic! I am just a traveller like you and not connected to the companies so I don’t have any specific numbers to offer. Perhaps the tourism bureau? Your story is a good reminder to all travellers that sometimes things go sideways and you need to make a plan in a flash and to always carry money just in case. I’m glad you’re safe and I am sure you learned a few things about CR bus travel that will help others in the future.

  19. Wendy

    Thanks for this info – I’m headed to Manuel Antonio next week and this website answered pretty much all my questions. Thanks again!

    • centrocoasting

      Thanks, Wendy!! Pura Vida.

  20. Karen kennedy

    I’m taking Tracopa bus to san Jose from uvita at 1:00pm. Will it let me off at the airport?

    • centrocoasting

      Hi Karen, no it won’t. None of the Tracopa buses pass the airport. This could have changed in the last few months but I don’t think so. Ask the driver for the best place to be let off to be closest to the airport. Have a great trip!

      • Tom Deagan

        A couple of months ago (end of Nov. 2018) we were going from Esterillos Oeste to Alajuela where we live. While we were waiting at the bus stop on the highway, we met a local lady who was also going to Alajuela, and she told us to wait for the pink Collectivo Tracopa bus, and it would stop at the SJO airport. It did stop there, and it saved us from having to go into San Jose. The Directo bus does not stop at the airport.

        • centrocoasting

          Thanks, Tom! Do you remember the origin of the bus and what time you picked it up?

  21. Mac

    Any recommendations on getting from the SJO airport to the Tracopa bus station? Many people suggest a taxi, but is there a cheaper bus option? Additionally, it is not possible to buy the Tracopa tickets in advance online correct? I’ll be arriving in the morning to SJO and plan on heading directly to Tracopa to get to Quepos.

    • centrocoasting

      Hi, Mac! You’re correct, you can not buy the tickets with Tracopa in advance. And I’m sorry, at this time I don’t have much detailed info on the local buses in the city. The last time I talked to the taxi organizer that stands at the bus stop he told me that all of the buses that pass by the airport head to the city centre. I’d personally take the word ‘all’ to mean ‘some’!! Always make sure you confirm with the driver he is heading in the direction you want to go. 🙂 But there will be a buses that leave and head towards the city centre and the Tracopa terminal isn’t too far from there. There are quite a few buses that head to Quepos from the Tracopa Terminal in San José and so if you give yourself enough time you could always get the city bus to as close to the city centre and then get a taxi from there, which would cut costs. When leaving the airport just make sure you ask to get the bus headed “circa del Terminal Tracopa” or maybe “circa Parque Central”. Again, I don’t know the routes and stops. Another main road in that runs into the downtown core area is called “Paseo Colon”. Sorry I can’t give you specific details!! If you do give it a try it would be REALLY awesome if you could make notes about your journey and share them with us!! ie. what the city bus number is and where you stop in San José, etc etc. This would be great information to share with your fellow travellers! Have a great vacation!

  22. Sam

    Thank you for taking the time to do this! I am a very nervous traveler going on my first vacation, and this really helped 🙂

    • centrocoasting

      Hi Sam! This makes me very happy to hear this 🙂 Buses in Costa Rica are a fun way to travel! And, most Tracopa buses are really very nice so you’ll be riding in comfort. Always keep you eyes on your belonging in stations and other buses and enjoy your trip. Send any questions if you have them.

  23. Danielle

    Any idea if the area around the bus terminal is safe to walk during the day? I’m going to be staying at a hostel that is a 13 minute walk from the terminal, but I’m not sure if it’s safe for me to walk in the area with all of my luggage. I also don’t want to take a taxi because I am just passing through from Panama, staying overnight before a flight and I don’t intend to exchange any money for colones.

    • centrocoasting

      Hi Danielle! This is always a hard question to answer. I am constantly walking through areas that others say are not super great (during the day and staying on busy roads) and I never have problems. That area isn’t marked as a particularly unsafe zone as far as I know, and I have walked around in the day and felt comfortable. There are neighbourhoods near that I didn’t love walking through though. I’d ask the hostel and go with what they say. If you do decide to walk, just stay on the main road and know your route so you aren’t walking around with your phone out. Although, I’m sure you know that already!

  24. Carissa

    This has been so helpful so far! Especially because I went to the Tracopa website and wasn’t able to find San Jose as a departure city. So you’re saying I can get off my flight, collect my bags… and is this Tracopa terminal at the airport?? Or do I need a taxi to get to the Tracopa bus terminal. Gracias!

    • centrocoasting

      Hi Carissa! Thats great to hear that this site has been helpful to you. To answer your questions, no the Tracopa Terminal is not at the airport. The airport is in Alajuela and the Tracopa Terminal is closer to downtown San José. The taxi should cost around $25-$30, and depending on what time of day you arrive it could be a long journey there in traffic. On the website I had a look and San José is the first place listed on the drop down list under Origen, you must have just missed seeing it. All of the destinations are listed in the dropdown under destinos. Hope this helps!

      • Nigel J Watson

        FYI San Jose is the first city on the list, but only en Espanol – translate it to Ingles and it changes to… Saint Joseph!
        Does ANYONE call it St Joseph? None too bright if you ask me

        • centrocoasting

          Centrocoasting is an independent website not associated with any terminal or company. The Tracopa website and their built in translation has nothing to do with us. Translators are useful for people to know what things like ‘horario’ or ‘lunes-domingo’ mean, but there needs to be some user accountability and common sense for things like the names of cities. Pretty sure Spanish speaking traveller ever researched travel in California and put the Golden Gate Bridge in Saint Francis as a destination to visit!

        • Daniela

          funny. no one calls it St. Joseph. use GOOGLE translate folks.. I love it (most of the time) and this website is AMAZINGLY helpful.

  25. John Meggett

    Can I purchase my ticket (San Jose to Quepos) before I arrive in Costa Rica?


    • centrocoasting

      Hi John, I have never purchased a ticket in advance so I can’t comment on whether it is an easy process or not. My best advice is to email or phone the terminal In my experience, I have never had a problem with a bus being sold out and I always arrive at least 45 minutes before the bus I want to take to be sure. Sorry I can’t be more helpful with his. Good luck!

  26. Tom

    Moreover apparently you wanted to share the map of the San Jose terminal. So this is a mistake. What is such a website useful for??

    • centrocoasting

      Thank you for the feedback. There was an error on the map and it is corrected. I am only one person making this website and there are over 75 stations included, and has taken hundreds of hours of my time (for free), so mistakes happen. This is in independent website that has that is not connected or associated with any bus station or company. The reason I created this site is that there is lack of information provided for many bus stations in Central America. The site is not perfect and the goal is to gather as much basic information as I can and then continue to improve it, with the help of those using it. If you see any other mistakes, please let me know. The goal of the site is only to help travellers. I hope that one of the other 30 pages for other locations in Costa Rica has been helpful. Bien viaje!

      • Brenda

        Thank you for all of your helpful information…many of us appreciate it 😀

  27. Tom

    Who t.f. cares where is tracopa terminal in San Isidro? Everyone needs to know where is it in San Jose. Why you put here that useless map? Why this company does not have the map on their website?

    • Daniela

      tom, you sound like an inpatient jerk. good luck in this country. see you manana

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