Santa Teresa / Mal Pais

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Getting in and out of Santa Teresa/Mal Pais by local bus is always a mission. The road to and from is dusty and just when you think it should be easy to get somewhere close by, it’s not. The local bus schedule can change often, but for travellers coming from and going to San José the bus times don’t change much since they are timed with the ferry.  To get on the bus in Santa Teresa  you only need to head to the main road, stand there with your stuff and wave as it approaches


Direct bus from San José to Santa Teresa

The direct bus from San José leaves from the Terminal 7-10. This bus takes about 6hrs and leaves San José at 6am and 2pm. As of July 2017 the cost is 7545₡ (June 2018), which includes the cost of your ferry ticket of about 800₡. If you are a senior, ask for the seniors price!

Surfers, you will pay an extra 2000₡ for your surfboard.

If you are near the Airport you don’t have to head all the way to the 7-10 Terminal. Instead, have a taxi take you to the Villa Bonita Bridge in Alajuela. The bus to Santa Teresa/Mal Pais/Montezuma passes this spot about 6:20am and 2:20pm – or basically however long it takes to get there after leaving downtown so this time could be a bit longer. Have a look a the Villa Bonita page to see what this spot looks like and more info on how to get there.


Direct bus from Santa Teresa to San José

When leaving Santa Teresa/Mal Pais you wait on the side of the road for the bus. Any spot along the main road is fine. In the mornings (6am) the Direct bus leaves from Santa Teresa but in the afternoon (2pm) it leaves from Montezuma so you will have to take the local bus to Cóbano to connect with it.
If you are leaving on the afternoon bus you will have to pay 1000 to get to Cóbano first and then charged the full 7545₡ (June 2018) ticket price to San José.If you are a senior, ask for the seniors price!  From there everyone heading to San José gets on the same bus in Cóbano at 3pm to go to the ferry.

We have a photo of the schedule below (May 2017), but here it is in writing:

Transportes Cóbano Schedule:

  • Santa Teresa/Mal Pais  to  San José: 6am ( there is a 2:30pm bus – but it leaves from Montezuma so you need to go to Cóbano to get it, extra 1000₡)
  • San José  to  Santa Teresa/Mal Pais: 6am  and 2pm


Cheaper option with non-direct bus:

Local Buses from Santa Teresa to San José

Take the local bus to Cóbano. Bus takes about 30-40mins and costs 1000₡. It will pass around 6am and 2pm. When you arrive there will be a bus going to Paquera at 7am and 3pm (to connect with the 9am and 5pm ferry) which costs ~1800₡. Buy your ferry ticket, get on and cross, 810₡. Then make your way to the Puntarenas bus terminal (1500₡ taxi) and buy your ticket to San José with Transportes Unidos for 2585₡. Check the Puntarenas page for more info on schedules. All of the indirecto buses from Puntarenas to San José bus pass the airport on the way. That’s 6195₡ plus the taxi, which you could share.


Local Buses from San José to Santa Teresa

Basically the same as above but in reverse! When I got to the Paquera side a person claiming to work for Transportes Cóbano approached me and offered to sell me a ticket on the Direct bus for the special low price of 5000₡! This is not a low price. The price of the ticket all the way from San José is 6210₡ + ferry. This is almost double the cost of taking the local bus from Paquera (1800+1000₡).


Puntarenas to Santa Teresa

If you are arriving at the bus station in Puntarenas you need to get to the ferry to Paquera. The bus station in Puntarenas is about 15 blocks from the Ferry and it is worth the 1500₡ taxi to get there, have a look at the map below

Once you get off the ferry in Paquera there will be a bus waiting for you to take you to Cóbano. This trip takes about a 1.5hr  and will cost ~ 1800₡.  If you end up catching the bus coming from San José you may stay on that bus or switch. You’ll find out when you get there. Unfortunately there is usually a small wait in Cóbano for that connecting bus if you have to change. The rest of the trip form Cobanó to Santa Teresa takes about 40minutes and costs 1000₡.


Santa Teresa to Nosara (or Samara)

Check out our Route that explains how to do this journey. Santa Teresa to Nosara (or Samara)


Santa Teresa to Manuel Antonio

Get yourself to Puntarenas using the instructions above. In Puntarenas you need to get the bus to Quepos. Have a look at the Puntarenas or Quepos page for this schedule. Buses leave often. Once you are in Quepos it is a very short bus trip to Manuel Antonio.


Santa Teresa to San Juan del Sur

Check out our Route that explains how to do this journey. Santa Teresa to San Juan del Sur. 


Santa Teresa to Monteverde

Check out our Route that explains how to do this journey. Santa Teresa to Monteverde


Santa Teresa to Montezuma

Check out our Route that explains how to do this journey. Santa Teresa to Montezuma 

Santa Teresa -> Montezuma: ~1350₡ (via Cóbano ~1000₡+ 350₡), between 2-3hrs depending on connection in Cóbano. 2016 prices.


Cóbano Local Bus Schedule

  • Cóbano to Santa Teresa/Mal Pais: 6:50am, 10:40am, 11:50am*, 2:40pm, 5:00pm, 7:40pm* (time table from info center in St. Teresa, June 2018)
  • Santa Teresa/Mal Pais to Cóbano: 3:00am, 6:00am*, 8:00am, 10:00am, 12:00am, 2:00pm*, 4:00pm, 6:00pm, 8:00pm (time table from the local restaurant owner in St. Teresa, June 2018)

* connection with the direct bus to/from San José

*be on time. This bus starts from the far end of Santa Teresa and may take 5-20+minutes to reach you depending on where you are standing.

1000₡, 45 minutes

  • Cóbano to Montezuma: 5:30am, 7:30am, 9:30am, 11:30am, 1:30pm, 3:30pm, 4:50pm, 7:45pm
  • Montezuma to Cóbano: 6:20am, 8am, 10am, 12pm, 2:20pm, 4:15pm, 5:45pm, 8pm

400₡, 25 minutes *see photo of schedule below

  • Paquera to Cobano: 6:15am, 8:15am, 10:30am, 12:30pm, 3:30pm, 4:15pm, 6:15pm
  • Cobano to Paquera:4am, 6:45am, 10:30am, 12:30pm, 2:45pm, 4:30pm

1800₡, 1.5hrs *see photo of schedule below



Puntarenas to Paquera

  • 05:00, 09:00, 11:00, 14:00, 17:00, 20:30*

(*no connecting bus heading all the way to Santa Teresa/Mal Pais or Montezuma)

Paquera to Puntarenas

  • 05:30, 09:00, 11:00, 14:00, 17:00, 20:00

***here is an extremely useful number = call tel: 26612084 (then press 4) and you can get the current ferry schedule.



We are told it is possible to take a bicycle with you. Both wheels need to be off and it costs 3000₡ (Jan 2018).


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!



The direct bus to San Jose (now leaving from Montezuma so you need to go to Cóbano by local bus to get on)

The local bus which takes you to back and forth to/from Cóbano.

Last stop before the bus heads out of town. The plaza in front of Playa Carmen

Transportes Cobanó bus to and from San José
Photo from the 7-10 Station

Photo taken May 2017

Schedule for buses going between:
Cóbano and Montezuma
Cóbano and the Ferry
Photo from the Transportes Cóbano office
Photo: June 2017


56 travel tips for Santa Teresa / Mal Pais - share your tips below!

  1. J

    The 6am bus from Dan Jose to Santa Teresa terminates at Cobano. Only the afternoon bus goes down to the coast.
    This was sept 2019.

  2. Selina & Martin

    Hey thank for these great site!

    We wanted to take the direct bus from Santa Teresa at 6am but the driver said, all seats are reserved. Shit! So we havs to take the local bus to Cóbano, than the next one to the ferry (each ride costs 1000 Colones p. P.). At the ferry station some other travelers told us, that there is a bus here, which takes us directly to San Jose, we even need no ferry ticket (810 Colones p.P.) and costs round about 7000 Colones. As we asked the driver, he took our luggage but said we have to buy a ferry ticket by ourself. I think it was the same bus that didn’t let us in.

    We were at 12:30 pm at the airport.


  3. Tommy

    I was wondering if either of the direct buses (6am or 2pm) from Santa Teresa to San Jose stop at or near the airport in Alajuela? Or do I need to get off at the Villa Bonita Bridge?? Thanks!

  4. Anita

    First off, thanks for the super useful website!! Do you know how long this temporary change in bus schedules is?

    • AJ

      Check the Transportes Cobano Facebook page to see if they have posted an update on the timetable.

      • Kami

        Thank you!! This is very helpful! I tried to book a ticket online on transportés cobanos site, but they are only giving me the 2PM option from villa Bonita to Santa Teresa.. I have contacted them, but wondering if this is expected. I would like to leave early in the morning on Sunday nov. 18th.

        If not online, how can I buy a ticket without going to San Jose.. is there a place in Alajuela?

        Muchas gracias 😉

        • AJ

          Hey! 7:30am and 3:30pm are the current times as far as I know. This is the time the bus leaves the 7-10 station so it takes a bit to get to Villa Bonita. If you want to go in the morning then I’d stay out in Alajuela and get a taxi to villa bonita in the morning and wave the bus down as it passes. This works 95% of the time! You can also go the the Facebook page called Costa Rica by Bus and see if anyone has a recent update. Also check the Villa Bonita page on this website to see what that stop looks like and more info 🙂

  5. Morgan O'SHEA

    Some information for any seniors (over 65 years old) travelling the Santa Teresa to San Jose route or vice versa. Today (23 Aug 18) we caught the 6am bus from Santa Teresa. It picked us up along the road. A helper on a motor bike accompanies the bus and helps load packs and gives luggage tags each time the bus stops.
    We asked the driver for ADULTO MAYOR (seniors) tickets and they cost 5050 Colones each for the trip. At the ferry the bus driver asked for our passports and took them to the ticket office when he got everyone’s ferry tickets. The ferry is free for seniors! Lots of other public transport is cheaper or even free in Costa Rica apparently but you must have ID with proof of age. Thanks for all the great info on these pages.

    • centrocoasting

      Thank you, Morgan!

  6. Chase Brock

    We just took the Alajuela to Santa Teresa route by bus/ferry (for our 3rd trip here). Pretty easy experience. Tip! Use the orange taxi’s or uber in Alajuela or San Jose, we had a negative experience with one of the red taxi’s. We were then warned by locals to avoid the reds whenever possible. We were also told that uber will be the best price. Leaving Santa Teresa in the afternoon is annoying as now you have to take the local bus to cobano, then switch to the transportes cobano bus to Alajuela/San Jose. The local bus will literally pick you up almost anywhere in Santa Teresa, If you want a seat, walk north away from Playa Carmen. The local bus is standing room only by the time it gets to Super Rony’s in Playa Carmen.

    • centrocoasting

      Thanks, Chase. I agree that the bus switch is a bit annoying. Especially if you have to pay the local bus to get to Cobano and then buy your fill price ticket.

  7. Kurse

    Hola! Can someone tell me what time the 6am direct bus from Santa Teresa to San Jose arrives at the airport? I have a 1340p flight and don’t know if I should plan on leaving the area the day before or arranging another mode of transport?

    • centrocoasting

      Hi! I don’t think you’ll have enough time to get your flight. The bus catches the 9am ferry in Paquera – which doesn’t get you to Puntarenas until 10:30. So, likely departing around 11 for the city. Then its at least another 1.5hrs after that. You’d get to the airport before your flight, but not likely 2hrs before so you can check in. I would leave on the 2pm bus and stay at Maleku backpackers.

      • Elizabeth Young

        Hi! What if your flight is at 2:30pm? Will the 6am from Santa Teresa get you there on time?
        Also can you pre-buy tickets online?

        • centrocoasting

          Id say this is a tight connection to make. You will get to the airport before this time but not sure if enough advance time for international flight. You’d maybe arrive at 1-1:30… but you never know. Id stay in Alajuela the night before to be sure.

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