San José – Villa Bonita Station


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** October 26th, 2018: There has been a temporary change in Ferry hours and the bus from San Jose to Santa Teresa/Montezuma now departs at 7:30am and 3:30pm. 

The bus stop in front of the Villa Bonita Station in Alajuela is a great spot to grab the bus if you are arriving at the Airport and don’t want to go all the way into San José to catch the bus from the main station. Essentially it is large covered bus stop with a gas station about 40metres away. People are often confused on how to exactly use this stop and also have some level of discomfort with the idea of taking a taxi to the side of the highway to wait. Have no fear, this is a very well used pick-up spot. There will almost surely be others waiting and there are even some very nice locals selling water, soda and plantain chips who can help you catch your bus.

 

It takes about 20-40 minutes for the bus to get here from central San José (depending on traffic) but I would recommend being here no later than 20 minutes after your bus was scheduled to leave from its station in San José.

 

Getting a taxi here

A taxi from the airport should cost no more than 2500₡. It seems close but its a bit of driving. Chances are they will fist quote you $10 for the ride.

 

Walking from the Airport to Villa Bonita?

Have you ever wondered if you can walk to this spot from the airport? No? – well I have! And, so I did. Turns out you can walk about 25minutes along the side of a busy highway to get here. Would I recommend this option? Probably not. There is no sidewalk and most of the journey is along a small worn foot path next to the highway (see photos).

 

 

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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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!

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PHOTOS TO SHOW YOU THE WAY

If you decide to try to walk here from the Airport - this is what much of your journey will look like. You also have to walk over a bridge and under a bridge. 25 minutes to get here. A taxi from the airport is ~2500₡.

Photo taken February 23, 2016

The stop.

Photo taken February 23, 2016

The stop - there is a gas station behind the bus stop. But if you need water or soda then there are some vendors selling these things right at the stop.

Photo taken February 23, 2016

Here you can see the bus to Santa Teresa/Mal Pais/Montezuma/Cobano stopping to pick up passengers.

Photo taken February 23, 2016

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35 travel tips for San José – Villa Bonita Station - share your tips below!

  1. Jessica

    Hi there! Our flight lands at 1:02pm at SJO. Will we have time to make the 2pm bus to Santa Teresa from the Villa Bonita station?

    • AJ

      If your plane is landing at 1pm then it’s pretty unlikely you’ll even be through customs by 2pm. Remember you have to land, taxi to your gate, disembark, go through customs, get luggage, exit airport and get taxi.

  2. Soledad

    Buenas tardes, en el mes de abril voy a estar en costa rica. Quisiera saber donde compro los boletos del bus para ir desde el puente villa bonita hasta santa teresa? y cuanto cuesta el viaje por persona?. Otra consulta los horarios de salida son a las 6am y a las 2pm?.
    Muchas gracias!!

    • centrocoasting

      Hola, si los horarios de salida son 6am y 2pm. Puedes consultar este pagina por el hoario. Y, puede comprar el boleto del chofer.

      • Soledad

        Buenas tardes, gracias por tu respuesta. Cuanto cuesta el viaje desde Villa bonita hasta Santa teresa?? y en que parte de ésta pagina puedo sacar el boleto? Muchas Gracias

        • centrocoasting

          Hola Soledad! El horario que cambio de San Jose a Santa Teresa. Consulta la pagina de Transportes Cobano por el Horario. Ahora es 7:30 y 3:30

  3. Sunshine

    Does anyone know if a bus to La Fortuna/Arenal passes by the Villa Bonita stop?

    • centrocoasting

      Hi there, sorry for the slow reply. The bus to La Fortuna doesn’t pass this location but there is a bus station. The bus leaves from the 7-10 station in Central San Jose or you can also get a bus from Ciudad Quesada.

  4. Don

    (May 30, 2018) We just caught the bus to Monteverde from Villa Bonita yesterday. It worked well and as explained in this article. Here are a few more details. First, if you have time after you land at SJO, you might want to catch the public bus from SJO to San Jose and board the bus there. This way you do not need to worry if the bus will stop at Villa Bonita or be full. The bus from SJO to San Jose cost about $1. We chose to catch a taxi to Villa Bonita instead where we waited for 2 hours for the bus. The bus stop at Villa Bonita is right by the highway and very loud but felt safe. We paid $7 for the four of us for the taxi to Villa Bonita. The bus did stop at Villa Bonita for us, but we purchased our tickets ahead of time. So maybe the driver was looking for us. I bought our tickets online at https://www.transmonteverde.com/. When I tried to buy them 3 days before our trip, I got an error when the website was processing my credit card. It did not explain the error, but when I tried again the night before our trip, it worked fine. My guess is that you can only buy the tickets 24 hours in advance, but who knows. Another thing that was a bit odd is that when buying your tickets online, the website let you choose your seats but only showed 3 seats across, but the bus had 4 seats across. So which seats you choose probably does not mean much. When buying our tickets online, we chose the following options. Origin City = San Jose, Available Routs = 675 San Jose – Monteverde, Destination City = Monteverde, Boarding City = Alajuela – Villa Bonita. The cost was about $6 per person. The website sent me a confirmation email that I showed to the bus driver. The bus arrived at Villa Bonita at 3:05pm and at Monteverde around 7:30pm. The bus was a very nice, full sized, Mercedes Benz bus. It was only about half full but we are traveling during the low season at the end of May. It made one stop on the way to use the bathroom where you could also buy some snacks. Happy travels.

    • centrocoasting

      Hi Don! thank you so much for sharing your experience on purchasing tickets for Villa Bonita, definitely one thing we get a lot of questions about.

  5. Evan

    Cheapest way is to take an Uber, cost me $3.. whereas a taxi driver offered to take me for $15

  6. Stephanie

    Hi! If i want to buy my bus ticket in advance, i cannot choose the vista bonita station on Alajuala. Do I have to buy ticket for station 7-10 and grab the bus in Alajuala???!? Thanks!!!

    • centrocoasting

      Hi, it depends on where you are going. La Terminal (link above) is one place to buy tickets for several destinations including places like Santa Teresa. If you are headed to Monteverde you have to buy from the Transmonteverde website.

      • Stephanie

        I’m going to santa teresa. But the web site of La Terminal offert me just a departure from 7-10 and not Alajuela. Do I have to buy the one of 7-10 even if I jump in in Alajuela???

        • centrocoasting

          There should also be a departure choice of Villa Bonita. Thats the name of the stop for this page.

  7. David

    Hey There. I will travel to costa rica in about a week. My plan is to get to Monteverde as soon as possible. Unfortunately, I will arrive at around 9 p.m. So the earliest connection would be the 6.30 a.m. bus. Can you recommend any hostel close by the the busstop or would you recommend to get to the city centre of san Jose to catch the bus there?

    • centrocoasting

      Hi David! I always stay at Gaudy’s backpacker near the airport. They can arrange a taxi for you in the morning. You don’t need to go to San Jose first, but make sure you book a ticket in advance so they know to stop for you there. https://www.transmonteverde.com/

      • David

        Thanks a lot for your reply! I booked a hostel even closer to the airport. It might not be the best one I will stay in but it is close to both (the busstop and the airport).

  8. Melanie

    Hi! Thank you for the info. My flight will arrive at SJO airport at 4:30PM on April 10th. I just bought a ticket online to Jaco at 7pm from this station.
    Do you think this will be enough time to get there by cab ? I know there’s a departing time at 5pm, do you think I can take this bus if I arrive earlier ?

    I’m a solo traveler (girl) and I was wondering if this will be safe to wait there as it will probably be dark outside ?

    Thank you so much!

    • centrocoasting

      Hi Melanie! I haven’t ever been at that stop that late so I really can’t say anything about safety. There are usually locals there selling water and snacks though not sure at night. The taxi ride there is about 5-10 mins depending on traffic so as long as customs isn’t clogged up you should be able to make it there for 7pm. I have flown into CR and been through customs super quick, and other times stood in line for over an hour. Also note if the bus leaves San Jose city at 7pm then it wont pass Villa Bonita until between 7:20-7:40. Though always good to be there in case its earlier. I wish I could comment on safety stuff but that is something that is up to the individual. 🙂

  9. Matt

    Hello there! I am looking to get to Monteverde via the Puente Villa Bonita bus stop in Alajuela. I wanted to book in advance as you suggested, but after looking at La Terminal site I am unsure which final destination I am to choose as there is no Santa Elena or Montverde option? I guess I am asking which bus do I need to buy a ticket for, to be picked up at Puente Villa Bonita station and end up in Monteverde? I arrive 10pm the evening prior so I am kinda pressed for time to run around and figure it all out. Any insight would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.

    • centrocoasting

      Hey Matt! Sorry, La Terminal has now stopped selling tickets for Monteverde and I guess I forgot to remove that link on this page. You can book them on the Transmonteverde website. I don’t have any experience with this one but it shows Villa Bonita as a pickup. Here is the link https://www.transmonteverde.com/

  10. Angel Taskovski

    Hello, could you please tell me if ticabus stops at this station. We are trying to get a bus from alajuela to rivas/san juan del sur nicaragua. If you have other recomendations of companies that are driving from alajuela to SJDS please let us know. Also we are wondering if buying a ticket online is a safe option? we are traveling on 13th of december 2017 so we are warried we would not get a ticket if we try to buy it in the bus. and on the other hand we are warried to miss the bus or some other problem if we buy a ticket online as its our first time in costarica and central america in general. Sorry for many questions we are comming from europe and all this information we are researching about transport in central america seams a bit confusing for us.

    • centrocoasting

      Hi Angel! The TicaBus does not stop here at Villa Bonita. In general buses headed to the coast pass this spot (which is just a covered bench on the highway), not buses headed north to the border. To get to SJDS from the airport I would recommend getting a Taxi to the Tica Bus station. If you want to take the bus to the station to save money then you can find buses headed towards downtown San Jose leaving from right in front of the Airport https://centrocoasting.com/costarica/airport-juan-santamaria-international/ There is usually someone who speaks english hanging around there trying to get you into a taxi so if you choose to do a taxi you can negotiate the price there as well. Almost every bus that heads leaves the airport goes to San Jose but you can confirm with the driver before you get on. Try asking if they pass tica bus station or ask about “Paseo Colon” which is a main road a few blocks from the Tica Bus station. Buying tickets online with the Tica Bus is a new service that just started this year so I don’t know how reliable it is, but I would think it is a reliable option. I would purchase it in advance online to be sure you have a spot. You will need to arrive at the Tica Bus station at least 45minutes before your bus departs and then collect your ticket then and give them your luggage and passport info. Good luck and have a great trip!

      • Ostibosti

        Hi there,

        I’ve just read your comment regarding the Ticabus. We plan on taking the Ticabus to Nicaragua and now I can select an option to start at Alajuela, Villa Bonita. I’ve just wondered if you know if they use the same spot as you described NOW or if they stop somewhere else. Since you mentioned in the post above from 2017 that the Ticabus doesn’t stop there.

        Thank you very much for your help an tips!

        • centrocoasting

          Hey there. I can’t say for 100% sure if they do. My best advice is to call them or use their chat option on their website. Ticabus is getting better each year with customer service and answering questions. It is highly likely that this is where the bus stops if they are calling it Villa Bonita, but I would call them to ask. But great to know they have upgraded their service!

  11. Kate

    Do this bus drop off at Puntarenas? It doesn’t appear so but I wanted to confirm that I was not missing a link.

    My husband and I are trying to get from San Jose to Puntarenas with two bikes and would love any advice. We’re on a limited budget and would prefer public or shared transportation options.

    • centrocoasting

      Yes the bus to Santa Teresa/Montezuma will pass through Puntarenas and you can get off there. Just let the driver know when you get picked up so you can have your luggage taken out. You will have to pay full fare. as sadly Transportes Cobano doesn’t offer a better rate for partial routes. The bus from San Jose to Puntarenas should also pass by there though I haven’t take this bus so I can’t 100% confirm. There are usually Costa Ricans hanging out at the Villa Bonita stop selling drinks and snacks and they will be able to tell you for sure. As for the bikes, I don’t know if they would take them. I am thinking the answer is no, but you could call the companies and ask them. This is the contact page for Empresarious Unidos http://www.eupsacr.com/contactenos.php and this is for Transportes Cobano https://www.facebook.com/TransCobano/

  12. John

    I’ve taken the bus from Villa Bonita a few times now and it has always been safe and convenient. However, once the driver forgot to let me off at Los Delfines so I would suggest you try to sit near the front to watch for your stop if you need to get off at a special location. But otherwise, it’s a great option.

  13. Erin

    Hello! Is the Villa Bonita Station stop the same as La Radial? We’re going to try and get to Montezuma from the SJ airport and I’ve heard both names as places the Direct bus should stop.

    • centrocoasting

      Hi Erin! La Radial and Villa Bonita are different. To get to Montezuma you need Villa Bonita. The direct bus from San Jose that goes all the way to Montezuma will pass by here. You can book you ticket online to make sure that the bus stops for you. https://www.laterminalcostarica.com/. Have a great trip!!

  14. Dj

    Thank you for the info and pictures!
    I’ve know this for years but hesitant to wait at a bridge. Great to know it actually looks like a bus stop. Thank you.

    • centrocoasting

      Cool, DJ! I agree it’s a bit of a mysterious option until you get a chance to do it. Thanks for the nice comment and happy travels!

  15. Raquel

    I had heard that the buses from San Jose to Monteverde no longer stopped in Alajuela. So I called them and was informed that they do pick up passengers at Puente Villa Bonita.

    • centrocoasting

      Thanks, Raquel! I appreciate you confirming that the Monteverde bus will stop here. And thanks for sending along the link to the Reinadelcampo schedules as well

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