Getting from San Juan del Sur to the border is super easy. You have two choices. 1) You can grab the bus from San Juan del Sur to Rivas in the morning and go all the way to Rivas. From there look for the bus heading to Peñas Blancas or the Frontera and get on. Alternately, you can just take that bus from San Juan del Sur to the highway junction near La Virgin (see photos here) and get off there. That same bus from Rivas to the border will pass on the highway and you can flag it down to be picked up. The only downside to waiting on the highway is that you never know how full the bus will be and you may have to stand. This really isn’t a big deal since the trip to the border is only about 25 minutes! However, there is also a small chance the bus wont stop to pick you up.
Travel advice #1 (Feb 2018)
The latest blogger to do this route is Vanessa from Modern Mix Travel. Read about her route and experience here: How to bus from San Juan del Sur to Monteverde in 5 easy steps
Travel advice #2
A cool travel couple from Charlie Travels have written a great blog post on how to get from the Nicaragua border to Monteverde. Click the link below to have a read:
Travel advice #3 (August 2017)
This one comes from Travel Blogger Sara at fromheretoeverywhere. She kindly wrote out the who trip step-by-step for you below! What a great gal.
8.00 – 8.40 ~40mins
San Juan Del Sur – La Virgen (take the bus for Rivas, ask to be let off at La Virgen junction)
Should cost 10 cordobas but the guy charged us 30 cordobas and wouldn’t give us change!
8.40 – 9.05 ~25mins
La Virgen – Peñas Blancas (bus arrived 2 mins after we got off the Rivas bus, I think they run every 20mins)
20 cordobas but again think we were overcharged, locals looked like they were paying 10 cordobas
35mins border crossing
40min wait for bus
10.20 – 12.10 ~1hr 50mins
Peñas Blancas – Liberia (there is a ticket office at the border but when closed you can just pay the bus driver before boarding)
$3.50 / 1665 colones
13.00 – 14.40 ~1hr 40mins
Liberia – Irma (take the 1pm bus for Puntarenas, ask to be let off at Irma junction and then walk across the road to the Monteverde stop)
15.00 – 17.00 ~2hrs
Irma – Monteverde / Santa Elena (Sign on the bus stop reads “10am y 3pm” – there is no bus later than 3pm so you need to make sure you arrive early!)
Total time = 9 hours (departing San Juan del Sur at 8am, arriving Santa Elena at 5pm)
Total cost approx. $12 (vs. $65 shuttle booked with private company!)
Don’t forget to read the extra traveller tips in the comments below!