San Juan del Sur to Monteverde

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.


We have two traveller experiences to share for you on this trip:

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)

2000 colones


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!)

1200 colones


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!

9 travel tips for San Juan del Sur to Monteverde - share your tips below!

  1. Loui

    Did this today. The Buses to La Virgin and Peñas Blancas where 20 C$ each.

    At the Border the wanted to have Proof of onward-travel out of the country and actually made an american family pay for an Tica-Bus out of CR. I showed them a fake flightticket i made with and that was totally fine and easy.

    Took a 10am bus to Liberia (1655 Colones) from where i got the Bus to Puntarenas (1950 Colones) which dropped me at La Irma, where i had to wait for like 20min to get the bus to Monteverde (1100 Colones).

    Thanks everybody who contributed! IT was really easy that way. And i also met a group of travellers that payed 30$ for a shuttle “to” Monteverde that dropped them off at La Irma at 11am so they Had to wait for 4 hours. Definitely not worth spending that money.

    • centrocoasting

      Sweet, thanks for the additional info!

  2. Melanie

    We did the trip following the advice mentioned under number 1 and it went perfect! As a matter of fact, we did the exact same route, with the exact same timing – with only two differences: we crossed the borders (out nicaragua, in Costa Rica) within 10min and the last bus (from La Irma to Santa Elena) cost us a bit less than what was described above: 1150 colones. The whole trip actually felt quite relaxt as we knew that at the border we had to wait for the 11.15 bus (we didn’t search for an earlier one as we had to wait at la Irma for the 3pm bus anyway), and we had a nice lunch at la Irma so we only had to really ‘wait’ for half an hour. There was another bus coming at that stop which we originally wanted to enter, but a nice local told us that was not the correct one – it only went to Juntas, so tell the bus driver where you are going so you know you are on the right one! Our correct bus came quite on time (3.05pm). I truly recommend this route for other travellers, it saves so much money and you arrive quite relaxed at your destination, even though it was a long day!

    • centrocoasting

      Thanks so much, Melanie!

    • centrocoasting

      Thanks, I have linked you above!

  3. Ellen

    The bus from the border to liberia was today 1665 colones.

    • centrocoasting


  4. Maverick

    Haha, shouldn’t you be charging for that kind of kneldewgo?!

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