Public transport in Costa Rica

Bus, train, taxi or shuttle, air travel and cruises

There are many options to get around in Costa Rica. The public transportation network is well-developed and will help you to discover the uniqueness of Costa Rica.

Public transport in Costa Rica

Buses in Costa Rica

Buses are the most common form of transport in Costa Rica. There are bus services from and to neighbouring countries (Panama, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico and Guatemala). Besides this there is a well-developed bus network within the country, which is a cheap and quite reliable way to get around Costa Rica. Almost all buses start and end in the capital, San José.

Schedules are available online . Keep in mind that it is not possible to make seat reservations, you will have to go to the bus station early enough to buy a ticket and get a seat in the bus.

There are also urban and suburban buses that pick up passengers on the street, these are often crowded.

Watch out for your luggage and your valuables on the bus, and and at bus stations. Those are common places for robberies.

Train

The whole Costa Rican train network was damaged during an earthquake in 1991. Since then the operator Incofer (Instituto Costarricense de Ferrocarriles) has been working on building it up again. The entire network has been shut down for many years, but now there are some routes back in service.

The urban train in San José is quite new, and an efficient way to move around the city. The main routes, which exist at the moment, are:

  • Heredia - San Pedro
  • San Pedro - Pavas
  • San José - Belen de Heredia

Schedules can be found here .

Taxi or shuttle bus

Taxis are another way to discover Costa Rica. They are usually very clean and comfortable and available in all large cities. Make sure you take a licensed taxi. They are red with a yellow triangle on the side.

Since prices are quite low, it is no problem to hire a taxi for the whole day as well. It might be quicker than a bus depending on your destination.

Some companies offer scheduled shuttle services from popular tourist destinations or airports with fixed prices.

Air travel and cruises

The four main international airports of Costa Rica are:

  • Juan Santamaría Airport (SJO) close to Alajuela, Heredia and San José.
  • Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport (LIR) near Liberia.
  • Tobías Bolaños International Airport (SYP) in San José.
  • Limón International Airport (LIO) in Limón, re-opened in 2006 after being closed for about 20 years.

The two national airlines Nature Air  and Sansa  operate in Costa Rica.

Small cruise ships connect Costa Rica with neighbouring countries. Larger ones come from the U.S. or the Caribbean. The busiest passenger ports are Puntarenas, Golfito and Limón.

Buses in Costa Rica

Buses are the most common form of transport in Costa Rica. There are bus services from and to neighbouring countries (Panama, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico and Guatemala). Besides this there is a well-developed bus network within the country, which is a cheap and quite reliable way to get around Costa Rica. Almost all buses start and end in the capital, San José.

Schedules are available online . Keep in mind that it is not possible to make seat reservations, you will have to go to the bus station early enough to buy a ticket and get a seat in the bus.

There are also urban and suburban buses that pick up passengers on the street, these are often crowded.

Watch out for your luggage and your valuables on the bus, and and at bus stations. Those are common places for robberies.

Train

The whole Costa Rican train network was damaged during an earthquake in 1991. Since then the operator Incofer (Instituto Costarricense de Ferrocarriles) has been working on building it up again. The entire network has been shut down for many years, but now there are some routes back in service.

The urban train in San José is quite new, and an efficient way to move around the city. The main routes, which exist at the moment, are:

  • Heredia - San Pedro
  • San Pedro - Pavas
  • San José - Belen de Heredia

Schedules can be found here .

Taxi or shuttle bus

Taxis are another way to discover Costa Rica. They are usually very clean and comfortable and available in all large cities. Make sure you take a licensed taxi. They are red with a yellow triangle on the side.

Since prices are quite low, it is no problem to hire a taxi for the whole day as well. It might be quicker than a bus depending on your destination.

Some companies offer scheduled shuttle services from popular tourist destinations or airports with fixed prices.

Air travel and cruises

The four main international airports of Costa Rica are:

  • Juan Santamaría Airport (SJO) close to Alajuela, Heredia and San José.
  • Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport (LIR) near Liberia.
  • Tobías Bolaños International Airport (SYP) in San José.
  • Limón International Airport (LIO) in Limón, re-opened in 2006 after being closed for about 20 years.

The two national airlines Nature Air  and Sansa  operate in Costa Rica.

Small cruise ships connect Costa Rica with neighbouring countries. Larger ones come from the U.S. or the Caribbean. The busiest passenger ports are Puntarenas, Golfito and Limón.

Further reading

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