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Bus route from Upala to Nicaragua?

Sarasota, Florida
Level Contributor
3 posts
51 reviews
Bus route from Upala to Nicaragua?

Hi all, I'll be taking the bus route from San Jose to Upala to experience the sights around Bijagua. Is there another bus that can take me on to Liberia or even the Nica border? I'd rather not backtrack to San Jose. Thanks for any help you can provide.

12 replies to this topic
Tampa, FL
Level Contributor
2,234 posts
1 review
1. Re: Bus route from Upala to Nicaragua?

You definitely do not have to backtrack to San Jose. If you want to go to Liberia, you can take a bus to Cañas, which is about an hour south of Liberia on the PAH and then catch any northbound bus from there. Or, if all you want to do is head to Nicaragua, there is actually a direct bus from Upala to Peñas Blancas on the border which takes about 3 hours.

Costa Rica
Level Contributor
25,653 posts
25 reviews
2. Re: Bus route from Upala to Nicaragua?

Well -- no. There really is no direct bus from Upala to Penas Blancas. There is a direct bus to Liberia where you can get a bus for Penas Blancas.

The bus from Upala to Liberia arrives in Bijagua between 8 and 8:30 am - but you can verify that at your lodging once you arrive.

Otherwise, you will need to take one of the buses from Upala to Canas and then from Canas to Liberia or Penas Blancas. There are two ways to do this:

1. Stay on the bus until it gets to the bus station in Canas and from there, get the bus to Liberia and another bus for Penas Blancas.

2. Get off the bus when it turns off Rt 1 to go into Canas. (They make a stop just after the turn...) Then walk straight ahead, parallel with the highway (you will pass by the bull ring) until you see a large bus stop and a bunch of taxis. At that place you can get one of the buses going to Penas Blancas. You can time your bus to Canas with the buses from San Jose to Penas Blancas.

Sarasota, Florida
Level Contributor
3 posts
51 reviews
3. Re: Bus route from Upala to Nicaragua?

Thanks so much for your help! Much appreciated.

Tampa, FL
Level Contributor
2,234 posts
1 review
4. Re: Bus route from Upala to Nicaragua?

Well -- no. There really is a direct bus from Upala to Penas Blancas, unless 2 seperate websites are wrong or something has changed dramatically in the last 6 months. According to www.thebusschedule.com, there are 2 departures daily with the one you'd probably be most interested in leaving Upala at 9am and arriving at the border at noon. It originates in Ciudad Quesada, stops in Upala, continues by way of route 4, past Santa Cecilia, joining the PAH near La Cruz (60 kms past Liberia) and terminates in Penas Blancas. According to the Tariff Vigentes published by ARESEP, which also suggests there is a direct route, as of last March, the route was 103.24 kms long and the fare cost 1630 colones.

Costa Rica
Level Contributor
25,653 posts
25 reviews
5. Re: Bus route from Upala to Nicaragua?

Prolijo: The bus that goes from Upala to Santa Cecilia doesn't go through Bijagua. And there really is no "direct" bus to Penas Blancas - it would require a chance in La Cruz.

So ... bus from Bijagua to Upala, change for the bus that goes through Santa Cecilia and in La Cruz, change for the bus to Penas Blancas.

Plus -- the road from Upala to Santa Cecilia is not paved so kind of slow going. But for someone who wants to do the "scenic route" - it would work.

Costa Rica
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25,653 posts
25 reviews
6. Re: Bus route from Upala to Nicaragua?

Prolijo: On second thought -- it might seem like I am "picking on you" - but I really am not. I actually live in Bijagua and have taken the bus to the border quite a few times. And really, the easiest thing to do is get the direct bus from Upala, pick it up in Bijagua and get off in Liberia (it takes about 1.5-2 hours) and then get the bus for Penas Blancas. I'm not trying to be difficult -- this is based on my personal experience and not anything from a list of buses.

Tampa, FL
Level Contributor
2,234 posts
1 review
7. Re: Bus route from Upala to Nicaragua?

Hattie, when I made my original post, the first option that I gave was the one that you expanded on. I included my second option, the "direct bus", to address the question as stated in the title to this thread. I missed the part in the message that said they'd actually be coming from Bijagua, which is nearly halfway along the road between Upala and Cañas. Of course, if they're actually coming from there, it makes a lot more sense to just travel on to Cañas, where they can catch another bus along the much faster and more frequently traveled Pan American Highway.

To clarify the other small point, when I said "direct" I did not necessarily mean 1 bus any more than "express" or non-stop means no stops at all in CR. What I meant was that it was the shortest route from UPALA and also that, unlike the route through Cañas, the bus schedule at least didn't indicate any change of buses, let alone a wait between them. Also IF they were coming from Upala itself rather than Bijagua that 3hr "scenic back roads" drive would still be quicker than going from Upala to Nicaragua by way of Cañas. But, since they're not actually coming from Upala, Cañas is definitely the way to go.

Costa Rica
Level Contributor
25,653 posts
25 reviews
8. Re: Bus route from Upala to Nicaragua?

Or....... the direct bus from Upala to Liberia which avoids the need for going to Canas. It kind of depends on the time of day the OP wants to go - but there are obviously several ways to do it.

As I said, prolijo, I have actually done the bus thing from Bijagua to the border a number of times.

Tampa, FL
Level Contributor
2,234 posts
1 review
9. Re: Bus route from Upala to Nicaragua?

No problem, Hattie, you're still my favorite DE even though we don't always see things eye to eye all the time. And, in this case, I definitely defer to your judgement since you're clearly the expert on Bijagua (and I've never actually been there myself). Pura vida amiga

Edited: 10:48 am, September 02, 2014
Costa Rica
Level Contributor
25,653 posts
25 reviews
10. Re: Bus route from Upala to Nicaragua?

Pura vida, indeed, mi amigo! I do really appreciate all the great store of knowledge that you have and that you share with everyone -- even though it might not seem like it sometimes! Saludos......

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