We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Getting to Montezuma from SJO

Which Montezuma hotels are on sale?
mm/dd/yyyy mm/dd/yyyy
See hotels
posts: 29
reviews: 2
Getting to Montezuma from SJO

There was an active discussion on this forum a couple months ago about the best way to get to Montezuma from San Jose Airport. My wife and I recently spent 8 days in Montezuma and I thought I’d relate our experiences traveling to and from the village in case it helps others with their travel plans.


Our flight from the US arrived on time in San Jose at 12:35 and then it took us about an hour to get through customs, collect our bags, get money from the bank machine and get out to meet our pre-arranged taxi. Getting out of the airport at 1:40 as we did, we probably could have caught either the 2:00 PM shuttle or the 2:10 flight to Tambor, but we had decided to book a taxi to the ferry so that we would be assured of having transportation if our flight to SJO was delayed or customs/baggage claim took a long time. The taxi worked out great. Our driver, Alex Hernandez, was waiting for us in the departure area with a sign showing my name so that he was easy to find. Alex was a pleasure to drive with and his taxi was very comfortable. When we met up with him, he immediately told us that we had plenty of time to get to the ferry and that he would be happy to make any stops or side trips if we wanted. We decided on the spur of the moment to travel into Sarchi to buy some rocking chairs that we saw on our last trip to CR, and Alex graciously drove us to a furniture store and then the Los Cuyos chair factory where we purchased our chairs and shipped them back to the US. We then continued on to the Puntarenas and arrived in plenty of time to get our ferry tickets at a small store across the street from the ferry landing and get on the 5:00 ferry to Paquera.

The ferry ride took a little over an hour and was very pleasant as we sat on the deck drinking beer (there are food and drinks available on the boat) and watching the sun set over the Nicoya Peninsula. When we got off the boat, we were greeted by numerous taxi drivers offering to take us wherever we wanted, but we rushed past them and got on the public bus to Montezuma. We had to put our luggage in the storage compartment under the bus and managed to get the last couple seats on the bus (which eventually filled up with people standing in the aisle). The bus ride to Montezuma took about 1.5 hours and we finally got there at 8:00 PM – a very long day of travel that included a 3:30 AM drive to the airport, two flights, two hours in a taxi, a ferry ride and a bus. Overall, the trip from SJO to Montezuma cost (in USD) $105 + tip for the taxi. $1.70/person for the ferry and about $4/person for the bus (total = ~$135 for 2 people).

For anyone who can afford it, I would definitely recommend taking a taxi or driver from SJO to the ferry. It provides comfort and privacy and takes away any concerns about making connections, possible theft of luggage, etc. Also, if I were to do this again, we would probably get a taxi from the ferry to Montezuma just to make the last leg of the trip a bit more comfortable.


For the return to SJO, we decided to take a water taxi from Montezuma to Jaco and then a shuttle from Jaco to our hotel on Alajuela. This worked out great! We booked the trip through Zuma Tours at a cost of $80/person. On the morning of our departure, we went to the Zuma Tours office in Montezuma and they walked us down to the beach along with the other passengers to board the boat. They put everyone’s luggage in large green garbage bags and stored them in a storage compartment at the front of the boat to keep everything dry. The seas were fairly calm that day so no one on the boat got wet during the ride (note: you need to walk through shallow water to get on and off the boat, so it’s best to be wearing shorts and sandals for the ride). At Jaco, we were met by a Zuma Tours shuttle that dropped the other passengers off at different locations in Jaco and then drove my wife and I directly to our hotel in Alajuela. The entire trip from Montezuma to Alajuela took 3 hours and we were in our hotel room by 12:30 PM!! It was definitely a great way to travel!

Overall, both of these methods of travel worked out well for us. The next time we go to Montezuma, I think we’ll try getting later flight into SJO, take a taxi/driver from SJO to Jaco , spend the night in Jaco and then take the morning water taxi to Montezuma. The water taxi is fun and adds a bit of excitement to the trip. There’s also the possibility of seeing whales or dolphins on the way over.

Montezuma, Costa...
posts: 79
reviews: 3
1. Re: Getting to Montezuma from SJO

Great, thank you for the input!!

Dearborn, Michigan
posts: 425
reviews: 9
2. Re: Getting to Montezuma from SJO

I just LOVE the ferry ride at sunset :)

When we used to go to Jaco (not much since I found Montezuma), we'd just take a taxi from the airport. I was wondering what that taxi ride would cost from SJO to the airport. That's not too bad of a price knowing you can do it without worrying.

Was it the directo bus you got on? (It's a little more comfy and has A/C)

Did they make you switch busses in Cobano?


posts: 29
reviews: 2
3. Re: Getting to Montezuma from SJO

Gary: I'm not sure what bus we got on after the ferry. It was a larger bus.... more like a greyhound than the the school bus style I was expecting based on pictures I'd seen. It didn't have AC and made several stops along the way to let passengers off. Before our trip, we were told that we might have to transfer in Cobano, but this bus continued on to Montezuma without the need to switch buses.

The bus ride was interesting... we were in the very back seat between two brothers..... a ~12 year old at one of the windows playing music fairly loudly from a ghetto blaster and a younger ~10 year old singing along with the music as he leaned out the other window. It was the kind of situation that would drive a lot of tourists around the bend, but we enjoyed the experience in an odd kind of way. The kid was also a really good singer so it was fun listening to him (another passenger gave him 1M colones when he got off the bus).

BTW, I read a lot of your posts while planning our trip. I now see why you like to travel there so often!!!

posts: 19
reviews: 2
4. Re: Getting to Montezuma from SJO

We did the shuttle with water taxi through Zuma as well and I cant say enough good things about them. They were fabulous! Of course I can't say enough good things about my whole Montezuma experience. I will be back for sure!

The bus ride sounds like it was a lot of fun and an adventure as well. I will have to look into that on the next visit.

Montezuma, Costa...
posts: 79
reviews: 3
5. Re: Getting to Montezuma from SJO

Great, thank you very much for you output!!! We are glad you enjoy your experiences in Montezuma. In, during and out of Montezuma!!

Chicago, Illinois
posts: 634
reviews: 138
6. Re: Getting to Montezuma from SJO

There is no reason to take a taxi from San Jose to Puntarenas, why cant you take the direct bus from San Jose to Montezuma? There are also shuttles, like Interbus, or bus to Jaco, then water taxi in morning to Montezuma...

The bus schedule.


Dearborn, Michigan
posts: 425
reviews: 9
7. Re: Getting to Montezuma from SJO

In the story (and original post) they gave there was concern if security would be slow and if there were delays there was concern they could get to the bus station in SJ by 2pm (it's 20-30min away, right?).

So, in a perfect scenario, there is no reason. But after lots of discussion a few months ago they choose taxi.

It seems VERY relaxing for them and they had time for lots of other errands and they enjoyed it :)


8. Re: Getting to Montezuma from SJO

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This post has been removed at the author's request. The author may repost if desired.

Posts on the TripAdvisor forums may be edited for a short period of time. Once the edit period has expired, authors may update their posts by removing and reposting them.

To read more about editing your posts, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/help/how_to_edit_your_posts

Removed on: 8:44 pm, January 13, 2013
Gran Canaria, Spain
posts: 1
reviews: 3
9. Re: Getting to Montezuma from SJO


Looking for a bit of advice for when we arrive and leave for our first time in CR.

We arrive into SJO at 16.35.

What are the buses/ferries/taxis/shuttles/car rental servcies at that time.

We are staying in Cabuya.

Either the first night or last day/evening, we would love to stay in Arenal.

We leave on a red eye flight at 02.00 from San Jose a week later.

Is it recommendable to get a car to be able to travel freely about -i´d like to visit montezuma and tortuga island. We would be very happy either exploring or chilling or both and we love boats so the taxi ride from Jaco also sounds appealing.

Any suggestions? We are willing to drive, although I´ve seen many posts saying to avoid that during the evening, and by the time we leave the ariport i think it will be nearly sunset. Are there plenty of car rentals available in the Montezuma area if we wanted a rental mid week instead of from the airport?We speak Spanish.

Costa Rica
posts: 17,757
reviews: 24
10. Re: Getting to Montezuma from SJO

To get to Cabuya your first night, you would need to arrange private transportation. If you spend the night somewhere near the airport, you can take a shared van shuttle the next morning or use the public bus or rent a car. You could arrange to have your rental car delivered to your hotel the next morning. The private driver would be the most expensive but very convenient. Note that the airport is in Alajuela, not San Jose, and there is lodging of all sorts and prices 20 minutes or less from the airport.

Take a look here for some transportation options: www.anywherecostarica.com click on Transportation

For public bus: www.thebusschedule.com/cr/ Look for buses from San Jose to Cabuya or Montezuma. They will stop in Alajuela about 1/2 an hour later to pick up more passengers.

For more information about getting to that area www.nicoyapeninsula.com