Tamarindo is one area where the bus schedules are totally loco! We do our best to keep this page updated as much as possible with the constantly changing schedules! Please, leave us a comment if the times are correct/incorrect so we can make sure we are as up-to-date as possible. Thank you!
There are 3 different bus companies that provide service to Tamarindo.
1) Transportes La Pampa – goes back and forth to Liberia Municipal Station. These buses leave from in front of the Plaza. See map and photos below.
2) Empresa Alfaro – which goes back and forth to the Terminal 7-10 in San José. This bus leaves from Calle Cruz see map and photos.
3) Tralapa – which goes back and forth to the Terminal Tralapa in San José . This bus leaves from in front of the Plaza. See map and photos.
To and from Liberia
Transportes La Pampa: From the Liberia Municipal Station
Purchase your ticket to Tamarindo from the ticket window at the Liberia Terminal de buses Municipal. And from the driver if you are leaving Tamarindo. As of January 2018 the trip to costs 1400₡ and takes about 2.5hrs depending on time of day. We asked the ticket vender to write out the schedule and it is in the photos below (May 2017)
Liberia to Tamarindo: 3:50am, 4:30am, 5:15am , 6:10am*, 7:10am, 8:10am, 10:10am*(only Sat+Sun), 11:10am*, 1:10pm, 2:10pm, 4:10pm, 5:10pm, 6:10pm*. Both ways.
*longer route through Flamingo, Brasilito, Matapalo (~3hrs).
Tamarindo to Liberia: 3:30am, 4:30am, 5:45am, 7:30am, 9am, 10am, 11:30, 1pm, 2:15pm, 4:15pm, 5pm. Likely also 6:30pm but we will confirm soon.
Liberia Airport to Tamarindo
Normally the bus going both to and from Tamarindo will pass right in front of the airport. However, we have had reports of the bus not making the detour off the main highway to the airport doors. The distance from the highway to the airport doors is about 2km. This is one of the annoying inconsistencies in the CR bus service! If you are headed to the airport make sure you ask the driver if he is going to the airport.
If you are coming from Tamarindo it takes about 2hrs to get to the airport and if you are coming from Liberia it will pass about 20 minutes after the scheduled time above.
To and from San José
Empresa Alfaro: to and from the 7-10 Terminal San José
From San José to Tamarindo buses leave at 11:30am and 3:30pm.
From Tamarindo to San José buses leave at 3:30am (via Liberia) and 5:30am (via Puente la Amistad) and on Sundays there is an extra bus at 1pm (via Liberia).
This bus costs 5375₡ as of May 2017 and takes about 6hrs. The bus via Puente La Amistad is about 1/2 hr faster. It leaves from Calle Cruz see map and photos. Have a look at the Terminal 7-10 to see where you end up. Not a bad idea to get your ticket at least one day before. However if it is full you will likely be allowed to stand.
Tralapa: to and from the Tralapa Terminal San José
From San José to Tamarindo buses go at 7am and 4pm. From Tamarindo to San José buses go at 7:30am and 2pm. Both through Liberia. Price as of February 2018 is 5500₡ and the trip takes 6 – 6.5hrs. This bus leaves from in front of the Plaza. See map and photos. Tickets can be purchased beforehand at the small soda in front of Hotel Portofino, diagonal from the plaza. Your ticket can also be purchased from the bus driver at pickup. Not a bad idea to get your ticket at least one day before. However if it is full you will likely be allowed to stand. Check out where you end up in San José: Terminal Tralapa.
Tamarindo to Monteverde
A big thanks to bus traveller, Brian Driscoll, for this super helpful trip info: Take direct bus from Tamarindo to San Jose, get off early at La Irma (about 3.5hours), take a 10:30am or 3:00pm bus to Monteverde (not sure on price) or hire/split a ride with one of the taxis waiting at La Irma.
Check the comments below for how to get from Monteverde.
Fun stuff to do
If you want to get to know the area around Tamarindo in a more intimate setting, check out the Mangrove and Estuary boat tour for close up views of wildlife and local surrounding wetlands.
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!