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Travel to Montezuma from San Jose

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Travel to Montezuma from San Jose

I arrive in San Jose at 3 pm but if I take the bus to Puntarenas I will miss the 5 pm ferry and the 6:30 pm connecting bus. What is my best option? I would like to get to Montezuma around 8 pm or so if possible. I also don't want to pay more than $50. The shuttle option leaves at 2 pm which is not possible either. Any suggestions?

Costa Rica
Level Contributor
25,656 posts
26 reviews
1. Re: Travel to Montezuma from San Jose

It isn't possible to do what you want to do within your parameters. Your best bet is to stay at an inexpensive hostel near the airport - which is in Alajuela - and pick up the bus to Puntarenas the next morning.

It may take you an hour or so to get out of the airport and then 10 minutes or so to the nearest bus station for the bus to Puntarenas. It's two hours 20 minutes to Puntarenas which would put you there way past the last ferry.

Your only choice would be a domestic flight to Tambor, but I don't know if there is any such flight that time of day. Plus it is way more than the $50 you want to pay.

Dearborn, Michigan
Level Contributor
591 posts
10 reviews
2. Re: Travel to Montezuma from San Jose


There are a lot of conversations on here about this about people arriving earlier and no solutions were ever given to would accommodate anything as late as 3 (and who knows how long luggage/customs might take). I'm always personally paying attention since I'm often in that predicament.

My recommendation (is what I usually do) is book a shuttle pack with Montezuma Expeditions (I'm sure some other companies do this too). That includes cab from the airport to an inexpensive hotel in Alajuela and a shuttle will pick you up early (6 or 7 usually) in the morning and take you to your hotel in Montezuma (noon or 1). It's around $80 but that's cab, shuttle, ferry and usually breakfast (if your shuttle is before breakfast, talk to them, they'll open a few minutes early or make you a something to go, sometimes small, sometimes awesome). FYI, the shuttle does not usually board the ferry so you carry your luggage on the ferry and catch another shuttle on the other side.

I always ask for Casa Tago on the shuttle pack, they stuck me there once when the other places were full, and I pay extra if it's not on their list of options and pay extra bucks for A/C (so about $90 total with my extras). Yes, it's more than $50 but it's also a night of hotel...

You could pay for a hotel (?$), cab it to San Jose ($25) to catch the 6am directo bus for $14 (which has a locked, ticketed luggage carrier and A/C). But you're probably higher than the shuttle pack fee at this point (and your traveled 25 minutes east and now you have to travel it back to go west). The big bonus of this is the luggage stays locked under the bus.

I've never taken the regular public bus (the NON-directo) to Puntarenas, I've always been confused if it takes you to the end of town (end of peninsula) where the ferry is or if you have to take a cab (I think this is the case). And people always say to worry about your luggage.


Costa Rica
Level Contributor
25,656 posts
26 reviews
3. Re: Travel to Montezuma from San Jose

1. The bus ride and ferry will cost less than $20.

2. The bus to Puntarenas and then to Montezuma is safe - IF - you are not stupid.

3. You can stay at a hostel in Alajuela and catch the bus to Puntarenas at a bus station in Alajuela known as "La Radial." Buses don't originate here but buses originating in San Jose and going north stop here to pick up more passengers. You will pay the driver in colones.

When you ride one of the "cross country" buses in Costa Rica, (such as from San Jose to Puntarenas) these have a storage compartment underneath the bus for luggage. Most bus companies will give you a ticket for your luggage. If there are two (or more) of you, bring a small bicycle lock and lock your bags together. This will prevent the "snatch and run" theft at a bus stop. It's doesn't happen often, but it could. Otherwise, you can sit on the side opposite the driver where you can see if the compartment is opened during a stop.

Use a money belt for your cards, cash and passport, keeping enough cash out for your trip.

Put all your valuables in a day pack and keep this with you. Don't leave it and don't put it in the overhead bin. If you go to sleep, turn the zippers on your pack towards you.

You will need to take a taxi from the bus stop in Puntarenas to the ferry - but it's a short distance.

If you are on a budget, using the public bus system is safe and inexpensive.

4. Re: Travel to Montezuma from San Jose

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