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Does shuttle from San Jose to Puerto Viejo have a TRANSFER?

Desert Southwest USA
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Does shuttle from San Jose to Puerto Viejo have a TRANSFER?

OK. I'm getting down to the final details and am finding all sorts of problems. Hotels are booked, etc, etc. So, I want the ride from my hotel in San Jose to whatever I end up being able to find in Puerto Viejo.. well I want it to be as stress free as possible. I was given a link for Interbus, but then I read somewhere that the shuttles have TRANSFERS. I expect to be traveling alone (which is why I don't really want to go on the public bus with my luggage from the first half of my trip...) My traveling companion will be joining me, but will be doing the rafting adventure between SJ and PV, (which leaves me traveling solo for this leg of the trip. Anyway, Is the Interbus like a tourbus sized bus, or a hotel shuttle sized van? and is there a TRANSFER involved? If there is a transfer involved, Is there some other choice besides a private driver, or renting a car? I could really use some input.

The whole hotel thing is driving me nuts, 2 days available at 1 place, 1 day avaiable ,at another, 2 at another... everybody only wants you to do go on THEIR tours instead of finding out what you want to see and do, and then telling you who has THAT particular tour... So just knowing that I will be able to get my BODY there will be a welcome relief. Any guidance would be appreciated. Kindly, K

Winnipeg, Canada
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for Costa Rica
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1. Re: Does shuttle from San Jose to Puerto Viejo have a TRANSFER?

Hi Downtheroadabit,

The Interbus is a hotel shuttle sized van - not a full sized bus.

As for the SJ to PV route - I don't think it has a transfer - but if you want to make sure, you can contact them through their web page. When i wrote them regarding child fares for my niece they replied very promptly.

http://www.interbusonline.com/faq/default.asp

Good luck.

Pura vida

raquel

Tampa, FL
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for San Jose, Costa Rica
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2. Re: Does shuttle from San Jose to Puerto Viejo have a TRANSFER?

Traveling solo on a public bus is not that difficult. In fact it is the only way I've done it since most of my gringo friends are like you and wary of public bus travel in a foreign country like CR. It does make some aspects of carrying luggage more difficult but nothing that can't be overcome.

Specifically, you can't both observe your luggage until the compartment door is securely closed and grab and hold a good seat, but like I said there are ways around that. You could "partner" with any other gringos that you notice waiting with you for your bus and either offer to watch their bags for them while they hold a seat for you or vice versa. My problem with this is that I like to sit with ticos and maybe get a chance to talk with them during the trip, but being able to talk to say an interesting couple from someplace like say Seattle in English can be rewarding too. However, a lot of the time even that is not necessary. Some buses now have assigned seating. Many are not always full and so have plenty of empty seats. You just may not get that cherry one in the front right hand row.

The other thing is that there is usually an attendant observing the loading of the luggage. I like to place my bag in the far corner of the compartment and then wait until one or two other bags have been placed in front of it before I leave the area (ie no need to wait until the absolute last minute when the door is closed and locked). Anyone unloading that many bags to get to mine at the beginning of the trip would stand out like a sore thumb and at the end of the trip it also allows me enough time to get out of the bus and down to observe the goings on before anyone can get to my bag.

Alternatively if there are not a lot of people on the bus and not a lot of luggage very often the driver will allow you or even ask you to place you pack in the very back of the bus behind the last row of seats. You can either sit back there to keep a close eye on it throughout the trip or sit several rows further up and still be able to occasionally glance back and reassure yourself.

I should add that I ALWAYS carry everything of any value on me in my daypack and ONLY pack things like clothes and such in my pack and always LOCK off all compartments in my pack with a secure travel lock. The only way in would either be stealing the whole thing which would be easily observed or trying to cut or break their way in which would take some time and also be easily observed and they'd only make off with some dirty clothes which would be more a pain to me than any benefit to them.

Don't count on being able to fit anything into the tiny overhead shelf above your seat except for a daypack and don't even place that there unless you're prepared to keep a very close eye on it. I always keep my daypack on my lap (usually with my arms resting casually across it) or tucked securely between my feet (never under the seat where it can be accessed from behind). If you have an extra lock you might even want to use it there. All this is probably unneccessary but should eliminate most of the concerns you might still have. Sure, things might still happen (like the bus could veer off the side of the road, careen down a cliff and crash, killing all aboard), but these precautions should greatly reduce most of the risks and if you're going to worry about things like that (which BTW could happen with a shuttle van too) then I can't help you.

Finally I don't know how much luggage you have. I'm always able to travel even for a couple of weeks with one moderately sized pack. But if you have more and don't want to have to bother with it all on the public bus, maybe you could have your partner carry some of it on the tour shuttle so that you at least have fewer bags to concern yourself with..

Desert Southwest USA
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3. Re: Does shuttle from San Jose to Puerto Viejo have a TRANSFER?

Well, you both have offered some GREAT help to me! I think if I just had my rolling backpack and a daypack to carry on with my "critical keep safe stuff", I'd be fine with going alone on the public bus, especially under NORMAL circumstances. Rather than bore with with a million details, I'll just tell you that it's the STRESS (of all forms) that I'm trying to avoid. I just want the trip from SJ to PV to NOT be part of my ADVENTURE. (though of course terrible things can happen to a van too). In regards to the public bus though..... I will have already been on a tourbus for 10 days by that time, so I will be sort of "bussed-out" by then. Is the public bus like a School bus? A USA type "public" city bus? I was told that the seat were so uncomfortable that the 4 hours would be terrible, ESPECIALLY after 10 long days on a tour bus. And I just love being able to come here and get this GREAT info before getting there!

Tampa, FL
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for San Jose, Costa Rica
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4. Re: Does shuttle from San Jose to Puerto Viejo have a TRANSFER?

They do use school type buses (bluebird) on SOME local routes but this is not like Guatemala and other countries with their notorious "Chicken-buses". Most of the buses are like passenger buses in the US, if perhaps a bit more rundown. Personally, I find them quite comfortable. At least as comfortable if not more so than many of the tourist shuttles I've also been on which are often heavily packed with passengers. The iffier thing than the comfort of the seats is the suspension of the bus as it travels over a bumpy road. Again most buses are not that bad in that area either. Where you sometimes can get a rougher ride is if you take a seat in the back of the bus which tend to be bouncier. I also try to get a seat near the front for the possibility of getting a better view out the front window and not the least being able to get off the bus quicker to be able to retrieve my luggage. Of course, everyone's mileage may vary and the things I've said may seem to suggest that traveling by public bus is fraught with danger given all the necessary precautions, but I personally haven't found it to be that way. MY precautions have really become second nature when I travel -something I do without giving it much thought. If I find anything "stressful" at all it is not my luggage issues so much as when and where does my bus leave and will I make my connections and even that is not really that big a deal. More notable than the stress is the times I've been able to practice my spanish a little with a local or even found one that spoke enough english that we could really converse and get to know a little about each other.

Desert Southwest USA
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5. Re: Does shuttle from San Jose to Puerto Viejo have a TRANSFER?

Well there you have it prolijo. That is really my BIGGEST stress!!! It is will I get my sorry butt and my luggage from my hotel to the public station, then on the bus, the RIGHT bus, then be pointed in the right direction, make any possible transfer, WITH my luggage and then eventually arrive at a bus-stop near or maybe not so near a hotel that may or may not have held a room that I reserved. After 10 days on the tour bus, I want to start my 6 day "free time" with the least amount of complications as possible. Since I will be the "keeper of the gear" while my son is enjoying his carefree rafting adventure; I don't want to be having a high-stress time while he is partying. When he arrives exhausted after his 12 hour day, I want to be having my own grand time, rather than nuring a migraine from the stress of 5+ hours of white knuckled coping with silly little this-and-that. If he decides against the rafting, then we will Definitely go the public bus and call it anothe little "team challenge." Which is why I asked the original question of if the shuttle had a transfer. Someone said they do, and though they saay they pick you up at your hotel and drop you at you r hotel, if they have a transfer, I might want to see if there is a choice of companies or something. I just love the input. This is such a big help for me. I'm also finding alittle hard to get anyone to give me an update on the Dec fire up north. I'm not going to go into detail, but I'd like someone to tell me if that has anything to do with why I'm having trouble finding vacancies. or is it just bad luck.

Tampa, FL
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for San Jose, Costa Rica
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6. Re: Does shuttle from San Jose to Puerto Viejo have a TRANSFER?

I was speaking more in terms that apply to my way of thinking than to yours and I always criticise other people when they do that (shame on me). In YOUR particular case where you want to be completely free of stress I can easily understand why you'd just as soon skip any public bus challenge. It will cost a bit more (~$30 vs only ~$3) and added comfort won't really be one of the advantages, but you won't have to worry about getting to the station or getting from the station at your destination to your hotel and you won't have to worry at all about your bags.

I'm pretty sure you won't even have to worry about any transfers. After checking it out, where I think you might be getting that is that on the Interbus website for SJ to PV it lists as the "1701 Rio Segundo-Manzanillo #1" route. What that refers to is the actual starting and end points of that van route. It starts at Rio Segundo NEAR the SJO airport then hits downtown SJ where it will pick you up at your hotel before heading on to Puerto Viejo where it will drop you off at your hotel and finally, for any passengers that are going that way, it continues on to Manzanillo near the Panamanian border. If you were doing the full route from the airport to Manzanillo, then that would be a real pain since you'd have to stop at all the other passengers hotels both in and around SJ as well as in PV (not to mention you'd need to make a seperate short transfer to get from SJO to Rio Segundo) You'll probably still need to wait while picking up and dropping off a few passengers at their various hotels, but that will probably be a small trade-off to you for getting door to door service as well.

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7. Re: Does shuttle from San Jose to Puerto Viejo have a TRANSFER?

I think that the less stress would be to take the intourst bus they will pick you up at your hotel in San Jose and drop you off at your hotel in PV. My wife and I are doing it that way on the way back to San Jose, my daughter and I are doing the white water rafting then on to San Jose while my wife will catch the later bus and get dropped off at our hotel in San Jose.

Desert Southwest USA
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8. Re: Does shuttle from San Jose to Puerto Viejo have a TRANSFER?

Hmmm... That VERY Good info.

Did I READ that right? Are you going rafting on the way BACK to San Jose? When I was checking it out for my son, the rafting place said they only did it going from San Jose to Puerto Viejo. It was MY idea (since I figured one of us would NEED to be taking custody of the bags and camera gear).. yet we both would actually like to do the rafting trip.. I thought my son should raft with me guarding the stuff and getting to the coast to check-in , then I would go rafting on the way back to San Jose ,leaving my Son to take the bags in a shuttle back to our final Hotel of the trip. But then when I ran that plan past the rafting place, they said they only did it in the direction from San Jose TO PV. Is there some Rafting outfit that does it both ways????????????????

I'm actually making headway now that I have starting asking for help on this site. THANKS FOR ALL THE GREAT HELP!!!!!

OK, so Ihad checked into interBus (which is what the Azania had told me to check out.) and this one is costaricashuttle. The first one didn't have a picture, and the second one has a pretty professional looking website. By looks alone, I would think the second one is nicer. The first one lists what hotels they will go to. Anyone use either of them before? Are they the same with 2 different sites?

Again, thanks for all the help!!!!

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9. Re: Does shuttle from San Jose to Puerto Viejo have a TRANSFER?

I did the rafting last year with a friend, we did it as a spur of the moment type of deal we booked the trip in PV and were offered the option of coming back to PV or continuing on to SJ. The outfit we went with was Exploradores Outdoors (www.exploradoresoutdoors.com). they also offered a secure place for your bags while you are rafting, This is the same outfit I'll be using this year. The only place that you might have to make a transfer is at the rafting place, if you are just going from PV to SJ you shouldn't have to.

Puerto Viejo, Costa...
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10. Re: Does shuttle from San Jose to Puerto Viejo have a TRANSFER?

Exploradores is the company we use all the time. All your luggage and belongings are totally secure. They have a great reputation and we have had nothing but good reports.

As far as tourist buses are concerned, we always use Interbus. But, people are crazy to use it as there are 5 direct buses a day from San Jose to Puerto Viejo. They run on time and are reasonbly comfortable. They only have one stop which is at Limon for something to eat (15 minutes) and then off again.

Trip is approx. 4.5 hours and is only $8 (versus $29 tourist shuttle)

We live in Puerto Viejo and we would never think of using tourist shuttle if we were taking bus. It just seems to be a waste of money when you could spend the difference on tours or nice restaurant.

Public bus also gives you an idea of how Costa Ricans live. When I travel, I like to expose myself to the culture, not shield myself.