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Beware TransNica - their bus didn't stop for us!

Level Contributor
102 posts
4 reviews
Beware TransNica - their bus didn't stop for us!

Be careful with TransNica. We bought four executive bus tickets on TransNica from Puntarenas to Nicaragua, but the bus didn't stop at the restaurant we were told to wait at, Restaurante Caldera.

A women who saw what happened said the same thing had happened to her. We're trying to get refunded, but not hopeful. We ended up taking a taxi ($200 each way) instead of shelling out for a hotel in Puntarenas in hopes the bus would stop the next day, plus losing our prepaid lodging in Nicaragua.

We also weren't sure that on the return trip the bus would stop in Puntarenas - or keep going to San Jose, in which case we'd have to arrange to get back to Puntarenas and probably need to spend more on a hotel.

Stressful and costly experience! On the plus side, God bless Costa Rican taxi drivers! And San Juan del Sur in Nicaragua was great.

Costa Rica
Level Contributor
25,653 posts
25 reviews
1. Re: Beware TransNica - their bus didn't stop for us!

Well, it's too late now for you.... but for anyone else that this happens to:

Just get on the public bus to Liberia and Penas Blancas and grab a taxi to San Juan del Sur. About $160 less than what you paid and gets you there the same day.

Level Contributor
102 posts
4 reviews
2. Re: Beware TransNica - their bus didn't stop for us!

Thanks for the suggestion. It was past 2 pm by the time we were done speaking with transnica's not very helpful rep, so the public bus would have probably have gotten us to the border pretty late because it stops in a lot of places.

We were traveling with two little kids. So that wasn't a very good option for us. Plus, at the Nicaraguan side of the border, taxistas told us it can be hard to find a taxi past 8 pm.

I should also say that a bunch of people, including everyone at the restaurant, told us TransNica never stops there. (The bus normally stops at Cruce de Barranca.) So our taxi driver who had brought us from the ferry called TransNica to verify that we were at the right place, then I spoke to the TransNica person to verify it too.

Then while we were waiting for the bus, a TransNica agent even came to that restaurant to fill out our tickets. So we were definitely at the right place.

We were waiting outside standing by our suitcases with our kids by the highway when the bus drove right by without even slowing down. He did honk though.

TransNica told us it was the last bus of the day when we called them after. They suggested we wait at the same place the next day. Yeah, okay.

San Jose, Costa Rica
Level Contributor
52,442 posts
119 reviews
3. Re: Beware TransNica - their bus didn't stop for us!

Sorry...so sorry---but that is they way they run Trans Nica...ASHAMED!

roadadvisor

Costa Rica
Level Contributor
25,653 posts
25 reviews
4. Re: Beware TransNica - their bus didn't stop for us!

The public bus from Puntarenas leaves at 2:15 pm and arrives at the border at 6 pm.

As I said... no good for you now, but for anyone else with a similar problem.

And this is why we recommend TicaBus, frankly.

Level Contributor
102 posts
4 reviews
5. Re: Beware TransNica - their bus didn't stop for us!

Yes, that does sound like an option to consider in some cases.

In our situation we weren't done on the phone with TransNica in enough time.

Caldera is at least 15 minutes from Cruce de Baranca, where I believe the public bus stops, plus it took a while for us to get a taxi.

We had prepaid $300 to TransNica for the tickets before arriving in Costa Rica so we could show proof of onward travel since we're staying over 90 days.

Forgot to mention - we had asked if we could subsequently change our bus ticket travel dates without an extra fee. TransNica said we could. But when we later decided to do that, they demanded an extra $40. They said they had changed their policy! Nice.

Costa Rica
Level Contributor
25,653 posts
25 reviews
6. Re: Beware TransNica - their bus didn't stop for us!

You can pick the bus up at Barranca, but there is also a public bus for Liberia that leaves from the center of Puntarenas.

Anyway - it doesn't help you any, that's for sure. And you paid $300 to Transnica? Wow. That seems really high.

Have they said anything about refunding your money?

Edited: 2:57 pm, February 19, 2013
Level Contributor
102 posts
4 reviews
7. Re: Beware TransNica - their bus didn't stop for us!

The $300 was for two adult and two kids' tickets. No word on a refund...

Costa Rica
Level Contributor
25,653 posts
25 reviews
8. Re: Beware TransNica - their bus didn't stop for us!

Ugh -- let's hope that refund comes through.

Marietta, GA
Level Contributor
36 posts
24 reviews
9. Re: Beware TransNica - their bus didn't stop for us!

We had a similar experience on January 19, 2014. We were in transit from Granada to Liberia, CR (the Transnica bus's final destination was San Jose, CR). When we arrived at Liberia, the bus continued on for 3-4 miles past Costa Rica, until another passenger went up front and got the bus to stop. The driver stopped and put us off on the Pan American Highway and left us in their dust. We had asked and been asked repeatedly if we were going to Liberia; we said "yes". It was 4:15 pm and the sun was beginning to set. The bus staff said nothing; they just deposited us on the side of the road and left. I am 70 and my wife is 67 but that did not matter! We couldn't believe it.

Fortunately, our fellow traveler and 'bus stopper', was to be met by his wife in Liberia. Eventually, she got to us as the sun was setting and was kind enough to take us to the car rental office. Never again on Transnica.

Atlanta
Level Contributor
6 posts
11 reviews
10. Re: Beware TransNica - their bus didn't stop for us!

This is all a bit disheartening to hear!!! We will be traveling to Nicaragua in 2 weeks and plan to end up in Costa Rica. We are trying to figure out how to get from Rivas, Nicaragua to Liberia, Costa Rica. We thought the bus would be an easy option but perhaps not. How much in General would a cab be from Rivas to the border? And then from the border to Liberia? We wanted this to be an easy inexpensive aspect of the trip but the bus system sounds iffy