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.

San Jose to Dominical travel tips

Fairfield County, CT
Level Contributor
17 posts
64 reviews
Save Topic
San Jose to Dominical travel tips

I am arriving in San Jose on Monday the 8th of Feb at around noon. I need to get to Dominical.

Is there a water taxi to Dominical from San Jose and what would the price be?

Is there a public bus option? How much in dollars? and where would the pick up spot be in San Jose?

I feel that a taxi would be super expensive am I wrong...?

also

I am spending the last two days of my trip in San Jose and by then I will probably be quite broke...do you have any ideas on fun, free or cheap things to do.

Thanks in advance for taking the time to even read this, I appreciate it so much.

Best,

M

Mentioned in this post
San Jose
San Jose
San Jose Metro, Costa Rica
Dominical
Dominical
Province of Puntarenas, Costa Rica
Dominical, Costa...
Level Contributor
508 posts
8 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: San Jose to Dominical travel tips

Driving time to Dominical from SJO is 3.5 via the coastal route or 4.5 via the inland route. There is not a water route, so no water taxi. If you are on a budget and need bus or shuttle info, I suggest looking at Easy Ride for info.

http://www.easyridecr.com/

They run shuttles to the area and also have a program where they will purchase bus tickets for you. You might have some trouble using public or shared transport to get as far as Dominical on your arrival day.

Mentioned in this post
Dominical
Dominical
Province of Puntarenas, Costa Rica
Juan Santamaria Intl Airport
Juan Santamaria Intl...
San Jose, Costa Rica
Tampa, FL
Level Contributor
2,234 posts
1 review
Save Reply
2. Re: San Jose to Dominical travel tips

As surfer said, there is no water taxi or water route from SJ to Dominical or anywhere else in CR for that matter. SJ is in the "Central Valley" of CR (up in the mountains at ~3000ft).

A private taxi or driver would definitely be very expensive, not sure exactly how much but EASILY well over $100 (per carload).

The shared transport/shuttle option would cost you $40/pp each way (plus $5/ea for any surfboards). And Easyride would be the one to use since I don't believe the other 2 major shuttle companies, Interbus and Grayline, go there). They also have an afternoon (3:30PM) departure so you actually could get to Dominical on the same day you arrive in CR if you use them, albeit well into the evening (at least 8-9PM?), I'm not sure about their pickup policy, but if they're anything like the other 2 carriers there may be some issues about being picked up at the airport, so you'll need to contact them for details. With the other carriers, people usually take a cheap cab to someplace near the airport (like the Hampton Inn) and get picked up by their shuttle there (I don't recommend trying to walk anywhere outside the immediate airport area due to the many highspeed roads in the vicinity).

BTW, the travel times given by surfer IMHO are probably on the optimistic side and are DEFINITELY only the times if going by PRIVATE vehicle (with a driver with a lead foot). If you're driving through the mountains to get there in the afternoon, foggy conditions (and slow moving trucks) can add greatly to your time on the "inland route", regardless of whether you're in a bus, shuttle or private car. If you go by shared shuttle transport, you need to factor in the time it takes to pick up and drop off the other passengers at their various hotels. And if you go by bus on the coastal route, the scheduled time on the mostly unpaved road between Quepos and Dominical is scheduled to take 2 hours just by itself, so that at least 5-6 hours would be a much better estimate for that route by bus.

Which brings me to the public bus portion of your question. Clearly, this would be the least expensive option. The direct bus currently costs 3470 colones (~$6.50/pp). If you travel through Quepos on the coastal route or change buses in San Isidro on the inland route, it will cost you a little more but still under $10/pp.

The problem with the buses for you is really in the timing and then mostly just on the way to Dominical due to the time you get in (unless you don't mind spending your first night in SJ). Whether you go by the mountains or the coast, you first need to get to SJ where most buses start and end (you can get there either by cab for ~$20/cabload or bus for ~80 cents). Either way, getting into SJO at noon you wouldn't be able to get to the bus station in SJ until after 1PM at the earliest. Going by the coast, you might be able to make the 2PM regular bus to Quepos (arriving ~6PM) or the 2:30PM "directo" (arriving at 5:50PM). Either way, the last bus from Quepos to Dominical leaves at 7PM and doesn't arrive there until 9:40. That sounds pretty brutal, doesn't it. If you go the inland route AND you get very lucky with your connections, you MIGHT be able to make the 1PM Tracopa bus to San Isidro where you change buses for Dominical arriving there at 5:30PM. Sounds much better, doesn't it? But if you don't get into SJO until noon, I doubt you'd be able to make and then would be forced to choose between going via Quepos and getting REALLY late or staying over in SJ and catching an early bus. Tracopa has a 6AM bus and Musoc has buses at 8:30 and 10:30AM, all of which change in San Isidro and are suppose to take 4.5hours. Of course, you could also go via Quepos the next morning but that would wind up taking you actually longer than the inland route because of the slow local bus between Quepos and Dominical.

If you absolutely have to get to Dominical your first day, then Easyride is probably your best (or only real) option. OTOH, if you want to save a little money and don't mind spending an extra night in SJ and arriving in Dominical late morning the next day, you could go by bus. Coming back, IMHO, the public bus is definitely the best option (cheap w/o any significant sacrifice in comfort or convenience). If you return by bus to SJ (rather than SJO), I'd go the "inland route" via San Isidro, unless you wanted to do an extra stopover in Quepos (Manuel Antonio) or Jaco.

I have to go now (I'm actually going to meet some friends from CR who are here in Tampa) but I'll post a little later regarding inexpensive but fun things to do your last 2 days in SJ (or your 1st afternoon if you decide to take the next morning bus to Dominical),

Mentioned in this post
Dominical
Dominical
Province of Puntarenas, Costa Rica
Interbus
Interbus
409 Reviews
San Jose, Costa Rica
Quepos
Quepos
Province of Puntarenas, Costa Rica
Juan Santamaria Intl Airport
Juan Santamaria Intl...
San Jose, Costa Rica
Manuel Antonio
Manuel Antonio
Province of Puntarenas, Costa Rica
Jaco
Jaco
Jaco District, Costa Rica
Tampa
Tampa
Florida
Winnipeg, Canada
Destination Expert
for Costa Rica
Level Contributor
7,775 posts
35 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: San Jose to Dominical travel tips

According to the bus schedule issued by ICT (the Costa Rican Tourist Board) it shows Transportes Morales has a bus to Uvita and Dominical leaving the Coca Cola Bus station at 3.00PM

visitcostarica.com/ict/paginas/LEYES/pdf/Iti…

I realize that everything is subject to change (or error) but it may be worth verifying that this does exist since a 3 PM departure would fit into your schedule and save some f the hassles depicted above.

I know the other bus schedule often cited here

www.thebusschedule.com is very comprehesive and great for finding connections. it also has the more obsure buses. But I have actually found that sometimes they actually create conplicated routings and connections when there is actually a direct option.

The other one is more high level - point to point only. However I often use both of them - sort of comparing and depending what I want to lookup.

raquel

Mentioned in this post
Uvita
Uvita
Province of Puntarenas, Costa Rica
Dominical
Dominical
Province of Puntarenas, Costa Rica
A nice place
Level Contributor
935 posts
10 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: San Jose to Dominical travel tips

Great information Prolijo!

Isn't there a direct bus from San Jose to Dominical without having to change the bus in San Isidro. Do you now when it leaves and from where?

Mentioned in this post
San Jose
San Jose
San Jose Metro, Costa Rica
Dominical
Dominical
Province of Puntarenas, Costa Rica
Winnipeg, Canada
Destination Expert
for Costa Rica
Level Contributor
7,775 posts
35 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: San Jose to Dominical travel tips

markonone,

I think you and I were posting at about the same time. It seems to me there is one - from Coca Cola run by Transportes Morales - the same company that do the buses to Quepos/Ma. But even then it is about a 7 hour trip.

raquel

Mentioned in this post
Quepos
Quepos
Province of Puntarenas, Costa Rica
A nice place
Level Contributor
935 posts
10 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: San Jose to Dominical travel tips

www.thebusschedule.com gives wrong information! When you search for that connection it spits out Tracopa, but Tracopa drives to the north and not to the south of Costa Rica.

You are right raquel_z, the company is called Transportes Delio Morales.

Mentioned in this post
Costa Rica
Costa Rica
Central America
Tampa, FL
Level Contributor
2,234 posts
1 review
Save Reply
7. Re: San Jose to Dominical travel tips

None of these various websites with bus schedules seem to give completely correct information or, at least, some of the information on them contradicts information on the others. IMHE, the busschedule website not only provides the most complete information but also the most accurate though even it is not completely flawless. OTOH, Raquel IS correct that it SOMETIMES creates complicated routings and connections when there is a direct option. For example, try entering Juan Santamaria (airport) as the origin and Dominical or even just San Jose as the destination and it "forces" you to go to the bus terminal in Alajuela to change buses. I know for a fact that is not necessary because I've taken the bus myself from the airport DIRECTLY into San Jose MANY times. However, in the case of travel between SJ and Dominical, the supposedly "direct" option (which takes SEVEN hours) is probably NOT the best option.

The term "directo" as applied to buses in CR is VERY loose. It certainly doesn't mean non-stop, fewer stops maybe but not non-stop. In the case of the Transportes Morales "Directo" bus to Uvita and Dominical (route 613), I don't think it even necessarily means one bus, one ticket perhaps but not one bus. I think this because I've actually taken that route myself on the way back from Dominical to SJ and, as I recall, we were reloaded on to a different Quepos>San Jose bus once we got to Quepos. The one good news was that there was little if any delay in Quepos as the departure of the SJ bound bus was scheduled to coincide with the arrival of the bus from Dominical and I'd imagine it works the same way going in the other direction.

In the schedule, I put together I mentioned the 2PM regular and 2:30PM "directo" buses to Quepos because those was the first one you could reasonably expect to make if you were arriving at SJO at noon. Of course, you could take a 3PM "directo" bus to Dominical which goes by way of Quepos. But I also said the last (and only) bus you'd be able to take from Quepos to Dominical leaves Quepos at 7PM (and guess when the 3PM bus from SJ arrives in Quepos). And, probably because that bus travels that dirt road at night, it is actually scheduled to take 2:40 hours instead of the usual 2 so that the whole trip that leaves SJ at 3PM actually takes 7:40 hours not even "just" the usual 7.

So the upshot is yes the only "direct" bus to Dominical is the Morales bus that goes by way of Quepos, but that bus is not really what you might think of as "direct" and, while the connections may be less complicated than the way busschedule.com suggests you go and is probably the only way you'd at all be able to make it to Dominical by public bus the same day you arrive in CR, involves a longer total transit time than going the "non-direct" route and a very late in the evening arrival in Dominical. Its also important to note that the information I provided on that route was pretty much in accordance with the information Raquel got off the ICT site only with much greater detail.

In regards to where Tracopa travels, I'm not sure where markonone1 is getting that they only travel north. In fact, from what I've read on both the busschedule AND ICT websites (as well the official ARESEP website), Tracopa does not travel north AT ALL, but ONLY travels south (via San Isidro) to points even FURTHER south on the PAH (including Buenos Aires, Palmar Norte, Golfito, Ciudad Neily and Paso Canoas on the Panamanian border). OTOH, Musoc travels ONLY as far as San Isidro.

What the busschedule.com website does not factor into its calculations is that there are actually at least THREE seperate bus terminals in the relatively small town of San Isidro (2 private ones and 1 public one servicing several smaller bus companies, all of which I've actually been to so I know of what I speak). Musoc's is located first along the PAH about 3 blocks north of the Central Park. Tracopa's is further down just off the PAH about 1.5-2 blocks east of the Central Park. And the main municipal bus terminal is located near the Central Market about 2 blocks south of the Central Park. This is where the Blanco company buses leave for Dominical and Uvita (among other places). So once you arrive in San Isidro from SJ on the Musoc or Tracopa bus (or from Dominical on the Blanco bus), you have to find you're way over to a whole other terminal for your onward bus. You'll probably want to use a cab to go the 5-6 blocks, both because of your luggage as well as to simplify navigation, but even with that it seems unlikely you'd be able to make the instantaneous connections that the busschedule.com came up with, so the total transit time going that way will probably be closer to 5 hours rather than the 4 that site suggests, but that would still be faster than the 7-8 hours involved with the supposedly "direct" route and thus probably worth the added complexity.

Mentioned in this post
Dominical
Dominical
Province of Puntarenas, Costa Rica
San Jose
San Jose
San Jose Metro, Costa Rica
Alajuela
Alajuela
Province of Alajuela, Costa Rica
Uvita
Uvita
Province of Puntarenas, Costa Rica
Quepos
Quepos
Province of Puntarenas, Costa Rica
Juan Santamaria Intl Airport
Juan Santamaria Intl...
San Jose, Costa Rica
Pensacola, Florida
Level Contributor
12,945 posts
54 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: San Jose to Dominical travel tips

www.thebusschedule.com bus schedule with routes

you can also take www.interbusonline.com to

www.manuelantoniopark.com and shuttle tax or bus

the 20 miles down the coast to Dominical from there

what I usually do.

Mentioned in this post
Dominical
Dominical
Province of Puntarenas, Costa Rica
Dominical, Costa...
Level Contributor
508 posts
8 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: San Jose to Dominical travel tips

Prolijo has referenced the "bad" road between Domincial and Quepos in two of his otherwise thoroughly information message to you. I want to point out that the old washboard road has now been replaced with a new, paved highway. There is just one little 2km piece that remains unpaved, but even that is well graded. The entire Costanera Sur project should be complete by May 2010. Since this road was promised for many, many year, I guess you have to see it to believe it, but it is indeed done. Driving time from Quepos-Dominical is now 25 minutes. Bus time will be longer to accommodate stops, but it is a now a very pleasant ride.

Mentioned in this post
Quepos
Quepos
Province of Puntarenas, Costa Rica
Dominical
Dominical
Province of Puntarenas, Costa Rica
Boston...
Level Contributor
904 posts
8 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: San Jose to Dominical travel tips

Just for reference, I drove a rental car from Dominical to SJO last week in 3 hours and 15 minutes using the coastal route (34) and the new toll road (27). No lead foot.

Mentioned in this post
Dominical
Dominical
Province of Puntarenas, Costa Rica
Juan Santamaria Intl Airport
Juan Santamaria Intl...
San Jose, Costa Rica