Tamarindo


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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!

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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

Schedule for Alfaro busses posted at the 7-10 station
Confirmed still the same May 2017

Schedule posted in San José at the Terminal Tralapa
Photo taken May 2017

Photo taken May 2017

Alfaro Office. Buses to San José. Best to buy ticket in advance.

Alfaro Office. Buses pull up beside.

The Plaza. Buses to Liberia and local areas pass here.

The bus stop at the Plaza

Submitted by a helpful traveller named Jeremy, here is a bus schedule posted in Playa Flamingo.
Photo: February 2018

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HIGH FIVES

50 travel tips for Tamarindo - share your tips below!

  1. Nsk hah

    Hola,todavia trabaja el bus de trapa hasta tamarindo?o solamente a flamingo en la actualidad?

    • Nsk hah

      Tralapa*

  2. Taylor

    Hi! I will be flying into Liberia around 10pm in December. Hoping to get to Tamarindo that night/ or early morning. What is the best option for bussing?

    • AJ

      You’ll be too late for a bus in the evening but you can catch one of the many buses going to Tamarindo in the morning from the Municipal station in Liberia. Check the station page for more info.

    • Joanie L

      There is a shuttle service from the airport to Tamarindo , $20 US . You have to book in advance , Contact Tamarindo Transfer and Tours , https://tamarindoshuttle.com/

      • centrocoasting

        Thanks for the info Joanie. Though the bus is a fraction of the cost and very frequent, it’s good to know shuttle options in case of emergency.

  3. Kristin Nelson

    Hi, I am looking for a bus that will take me from Tamarindo to San Jose on Nov 13. Do you happen to know what time the bus will pick up in Tamarindo and how long it takes to get to San Jose? Will the bus drop me off at the San Jose airport?

    • centrocoasting

      Hi Kristin, we have lots of information above to help answer your question. There is a section about travel between San Jose and Tamarindo – and also lots of great comments below from travellers for extra information.

  4. Bryan

    I will be arriving at the Liberia airport and heading to Tamarindo. Will I have to walk the 2km to catch the bus or should it come to the airport on the way from Liberia to Tamarindo?

    • centrocoasting

      Hi Bryan, in the past the bus has always passed in front of the doors of the Airport. When you get to the airport just confirm this with one of the people who work there.

  5. Gnarly Wilbur

    We used the Tamarindo to La Irma to Monteverde route. It worked great. We took the 5:30AM Alfaro bus to San Jose, and asked the driver to drop us off at La Irma. We got to La Irma around 8:30 and had a quick bite at the restaurant there. There were two buses to Monteverde, 10AM and 3PM. I have a pic of the schedule, but I don’t know if I can post it here. The only thing to keep in mind is that you wait at the right bus stop. There are a couple right in that intersection, and you want to be sure to wait at the one on the road to La Juntas!
    Safe travels everyone! We made it From Tamarindo to Santa Elena in 6.5 hrs!

    • centrocoasting

      Thank you for taking time to contribute! Comments like yours are super helpful to other travellers!

      • Chiara

        I would like to do this tomorrow. Do you know where I can get the bus tickets?

  6. Daniel Vincent

    Monteverde to Tamarindo by bus — June 2018.

    6am bus from bus station. Tell the bus driver “Monteverde” and he’ll drop you off at another pick-up point 2 hours later. Wait on the corner in the open and the bus to Liberia passes once an hour. Flag it down. Ours came after about 10 minutes. DO NOT walk down the road and over the bridge. It’s apparently dangerous and the bus didn’t stop anywhere else along the road — only on the corner we were dropped on.

    1.5 hours later, you’ll arrive in Liberia. Our driver dropped us on the street and we had to walk for a few blocks to a bus station (Avenida 7/Calle 12 corner). It’s marked on Maps.me as “Bus to Nicaragua Border”. Buy ticket at ticket counter. The bus departs at 10:10am and takes two hours to get to Tamarindo. We arrived around 12:30pm.

    Overall it took 6 hours and cost around $9. Well worth it compared to a $45 shuttle.

    To get to San Jose from there, you can get a direct bus that also takes 6 hours. It leaves at 7am and 2pm. It drops you 300metres from Stray Cat hostel.

    • centrocoasting

      Thanks, Daniel!

  7. Jeremy

    I took the bus from Playa Flamingo to Liberia this morning, which is on the route from Tamarindo to Liberia. According to the bus schedule at the “bus station” in Playa Flamingo (it’s just a roundabout for the bus to turn around) there are only three La Pampa buses from Tamarindo that go through Playa Flamingo, Brasilito, and Matapalo every day. Based on the times they leave PF, the buses would likely be those leaving from Tamarindo at 4:30am, 11:30am, and either 2:15pm or 4:15pm as there’s a discrepancy between the sign in PF and when the buses currently leave Tamarindo. Thankfully, we were waiting in front of the Super Masaii grocery along the bus route, because the bus passed us heading to the turnaround at noon. After it turned around, we hopped on at around 12:15pm, and about 15 minutes before the posted sign. Also, the bus driver charged us 1400 colones each, which is higher than the posted amount.

  8. A

    Thanks for all the info on this site!

    To update your info — I left Tamarindo today on the 2pm Tralapa bus that picks up at The Plaza. The ticket to San Jose cost c5500 and 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. We went through Liberia and stopped at a restaurant at around the 3.5 hour mark for a bathroom / food break. We stopped at the airport at 8pm and arrived at the San Jose downtown Tralapa Terminal in Barrio Mexico at 830pm, so a 6.5 hour total travel time.

    Hope this helps somebody 😊  -A

    • centrocoasting

      Thanks, A! This definitely helps everyone. Tamarindo is always changing so updates like yours are super helpful.

  9. Ingunn

    I took the bus from Liberia to Tamarindo today. The price was 1400C and took 2.5hrs

    • centrocoasting

      Hi, Ingunn! Thanks for the info.

  10. Ian

    Just wanted to let everyone know that as of 9/15/17 the 7:30am Tralapa bus still goes to San Jose stopping in Liberia (but not the bus station right along the highway). The bus is still picked up in front of the Plaza and tickets are purchased from the driver. We got off in San Ramon and the stop was right along highway one it didn’t go downtown or by the mall. We arrived in San Ramon at 12:15pm. The bus was continuing on to continuing on to San Jose.

    BTW – The info on CentroCoasting was accurate, http://www.horariodebuses.com was not accurate.

    • centrocoasting

      Thank you, Ian!! We really appreciate you confirming some of this information. Tamarindo is a place that constantly has changing schedules. I am positive this will be very useful to your fellow travellers. Have a great day!

  11. Petra

    Hello,
    I just moved to Reserva conchal. I saw there is a bus station in front of main gate and I would love to know how (what is the number of bus and schedule) can I get to Tamarindo from here?
    Thank you very much!

    • centrocoasting

      Hi Petra! This is a good question. There are some buses that go back and forth from Liberia to Tamarindo and pass through Brasilito along the way. There are just 3 per day. If you have a look at this page https://centrocoasting.com/costarica/liberia-municipal/ you’ll see the schedule for these buses. This area of Costa Rica constantly has changes to schedules so there could be some slight changes but it should be correct or close to correct. I would recommend waiting for the bus to Tamarindo to pass through. The alternative is to get any bus headed to Huacas (if there is one – last time I was there I wasn’t aware of any regular service from where you are to Huacas but the area is constantly evolving, so you never know!) If you find one, get off in Huacas and wait for one of the buses to Tamarindo to pass. Or Taxi to Huacas and wait is another option. Have a great trip and let us know how it goes!

  12. Dirk

    My travel plan is to take a bhs from Tamarindo to SJO airport. Do the buses stop at airport prior to their final bus terminals ?

    • centrocoasting

      Hi Dirk, all buses to San Jose *should* pass the airport. Make sure you confirm this with the driver when you get on the bus. Costa Rica is unpredictable with buses at times! You could go to the Alfaro ticket window and ask the seller directly if the bus is still passing the airport. Let us know how it goes.

  13. Adam Gillmore

    Does anyone know if these busses run on Christmas day? I’d be getting in 10am Christmas day into SJO.

    • centrocoasting

      Hi Adam! I am not sure at this time if the bus schedule will change at all. If you have a hotel booked I would check with them closer to the date. I am hesitant to even ask the bus company since things change so often in Costa Rica. Best to check on this closer to the time.

  14. Cassie

    You have a typo below:

    From Tamarindo to San José buses leave at 3:30am (via Liberia) and 5:30pm (via Puente la Amistad) and on Sundays there is an extra bus at 1pm (via Liberia).

    It should read 5:30AM 🙂

    • centrocoasting

      Thank you, Cassie!!

    • Cassie

      Also, Tralapa bus tickets can’t be purchased in advance from the Supermercado 2001 still. The bus for San Jose also leaves for the same bus stop that the buses to Liberia depart from (Plaza Tamarindo).

      • centrocoasting

        Thanks again, Cassie. I have made a not above. It amazes me how often things change for Tamarindo! We will see what new twist they come up with next month!

  15. Kim

    They no longer sell Tralapa tickets at the supermarket 2001. I was told for this company that you buy your ticket directly in the bus, however I was told 7am, 730am, and 8am. I was also told this company goes first to Santa Cruz and the to Liberia which makes no sense. Couldn’t find a sign of the schedule, so I went to Alfaro for the 530 am bus.

    • centrocoasting

      Thanks, Kim! I will try to doublecheck on some of those details and get things updated above. It may make sense for the bus to go via Santa Cruz since this is one of the spots this company services but I will check on the bus times. When I was there in May they only had one in the morning – but it is Costa Rica, where buses and schedules never stay the same for long!

  16. Carolyn

    Thanks for the information. It was so helpful! I just took the 7.30am bus from Tamarindo to Liberia. The cost was 2000 colones and it left a few minutes early. It also didn’t stop at the Liberia airport, so I had to ask the driver to let me off at the entrance on the way past.

    • centrocoasting

      Carolyn! Thanks for the update on this bus route. I will definitely make a note above that the bus didn’t stop at the airport. I was just there and my buses did stop at the airport – Costa Rica is so inconsistent sometimes! When you say ‘entrance on the way past’ do you mean the main highway passing the airport turn off so you had to walk the 2km to the airport?

      • Carolyn

        Yes, that’s correct—I got off the bus on the highway at the airport turnoff. I was very lucky and got a ride with an American heading into the airport though!

      • Carolyn

        When I got on the bus I did ask the driver if he was going to the airport, but perhaps there was a miscommunication.

        • centrocoasting

          Wow, that is really frustrating! The only thing I can think of is that the driver forgot to make the turn. But, this is why I made the centrocoasting(!). Cost Rica can be so frustrating in how inconsistent it is! Thank you again for sharing your experience. This is really important info for travellers. Great job on being so aware of what is going on and knowing when you needed to get up and get off close to the airport!

  17. Marco Gomez

    I am in Tamarindo. I need to leave tomorrow morning to get to Monteverde. How would I go about getting there?? I’m really confused w/ these different buses.

    • centrocoasting

      Hi Marco. This trip is a bit of a long one. You’re ultimately going to want to get to Puntarenas to catch the bus that goes from Puntarenas to Monteverde. There are a few per day but I would recommend trying to get the one at 1:15pm. Basically you will start out in Tamarindo and head to Liberia. You need to start early, the 5:45am bus. There are a ton of local buses with Transportes la Pampa that head that direction. This trip will take you about 2.5hrs. In Liberia there are buses going to Puntarenas almost every hour and this stretch takes about 3hrs. Then you get the bus to Monteverde. I know this seems long, but the other option is to go via Santa Cruz – Nicoya which I don’t know much about and I don’t believe it is much of a shortcut even if it looks closer on a map since you’ll need to switch buses a few times. It will be less confusing for you to go from station to station in 3 buses. But a long day at about 9hrs of buses in total.

  18. Ruby

    Hola,
    I traveling with my husband and teenage daughter. I am looking for info on how to get from Tamarindo to Samara, then Samara to Puntarenas.

    Gracias,
    Ruby

    • centrocoasting

      Hi Ruby! To get from Tamarindo to Samara you will want to head to Nicoya first. I haven’t gone via Santa Cruz before but if I were you I would get the bus from Tamarindo to Santa Cruz (1hr) and from there head to Nicoya (1/2hr). From Nicoya there are several buses that go to Samara. Then for going to Puntarenas you have two options. The first is to go from Samara to Nicoya (~1.5hrs), then Nicoya to Liberia (2-2.5hrs) and then Liberia to Puntarenas (3hrs). If you start early this can be done in one day. The other option is to get on the bus from Samara to San José. This bus does not pass Puntarenas but it gets fairly close. You would tell the driver that you want to go to Puntarenas so he will drop you in the best spot. Most drivers are helpful with this. But, I would also go to the office in Samara and ask them where this drop off spot will be. Sorry, I am not 100% sure but it will be near Barranca. As long as he drops you in the right spot (in my experience drivers are very good at this) you can then wait for the bus to Puntarenas to pass, or take a taxi the rest of the way. You can also post this question on the FB page called Costa Rica by Bus and see if anyone has any first hand experience with this route. Have a great trip! And it would be great if you could report back and let us know how it goes to help the next person 🙂

  19. Brian

    I am in Tamarindo as I type this. The La Pampa bus from Tamarindo to Liberia at 6:30am does not exist (it didn’t show up right now) and the locals at the bus station say the next one is at 7:30am. Just letting you know, so you can update the site.

    • centrocoasting

      Thank you, Brian! And I’m so sorry for the bad information. I hope you will forgive us! I have updated the site.

      • Brian

        No worries, it might be a low season thing. Maybe it runs in high season.
        Also, for Tamarindo to Monteverde/Santa Elena. One can take the San Jose direct bus, then get off at La Irma on the Panamanian highway. It’s basically a gas station. From there the bus to Monteverde stops at 10.30am and 3:00pm. Although we did not actually take these buses or have pictures to confirm. We found another couple to split a $60 4×4 taxi to Monteverde instead. There were 2 official taxis waiting at La Irma when we arrived.

  20. Ralph B

    We are arriving in Tamarindo by bus from Liberia on Tuesday afternoon. Our first destination is the Palm Plaza Commercial Center. Is there a bus stop near there? Are there any landmarks we should watch for to get off the bus at a convenient location. Any other suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks.

    • centrocoasting

      The location indicated on the map above is the ‘Plaza’ in Tamarindo and a main bus stop. I don’t know if it is the Palm Plaza you speak of but if you are looking for the center then this is likely your stop. Have a great trip!

  21. Spandana Saginala

    Hello,

    My friend and I will be travelling from Tamarindo to San Jose on Mar 7. Just looking to confirm what time the Tralapa bus leaves Tamarindo? And do they charge for luggage?

    Thank you very much,
    Spandana Saginala

    • centrocoasting

      Hi Spandana, the only schedules I have for right now is what is on this page. I will be back to update this page in a few weeks but not in time for your trip. I believe the current schedules is w/ Empressa Alfara – 3:30am, 5:30am and possibly ~1pm on Sundays http://empresaalfaro.com/guanacaste_sanjose.html. You are best to ask your hotel when you are in Tamarindo to be sure as they will know. I am sorry I don’t have the latest information at the moment. This schedule has changed often. The bus doesn’t charge for regular luggage but will charge for a surfboard if you are brining one – usually 2000 colones.

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