Transportation to Costa Rica’s Caribbean Side

Costa Rica's Caribbean Sea Costa Rica’s Caribbean Sea

Trip Planning


is that depending on how you plan, you may lose a full day in travel on both ends of your trip. There are various Costa Rica transportation options. This page will help you decide how to make the 168 mile (270 km) trip between San Jose and Puerto Viejo on Costa Rica’s Caribbean side. Your choices are public bus, shared shuttle van, raft trip, rental car, private driver or airline. Each option has different departure times. Depending on the arrival time of your flight into San Jose, you may need to stay over night in San Jose to use some of these options. Read on for details to help make YOUR best choice. It may seem like a long way but it is lovely trip and the destination is well worth it.


PUBLIC BUSBus Fare $15.00 Taxi from Airport to Bus station $40.00 6:00 am
8:00 am
10:00 am
12 Noon
2:00 pm
4:00 pm
5 hours Time consuming, can be tedious - easier if you speak SpanishNo, not necessary but best for your flight to arrive at the airport by no later than 2. Last bus leaves at 4:00 p.m.Travel (by taxi or public bus) from the airport to the Caribbean Bus Station. Then get a direct bus to Puerto Viejo. I recommend the public bus. If you are patient and determined this can be a very economical way to go.
SHARED SHUTTLE VAN$54.006 - 7:30 a.m.
2- 2:30 p.m.
5 HoursVery EasyOnly if your flight arrives after 1:00 p.m. Door to Door Service, stress free and enjoyable. I can make your reservation for you.
RENTAL CARvariesflexible3 1/2 - 6 hours
depends on your time and day of departure
Can be difficult in the San Jose area or going over the mountains in the dark. the rest of the trip is a breeze.NoFrequent Deceptive Online Pricing - extra charges, high deposits and insurance rates. I don't recommend a rental car for first time visitors.
PRIVATE DRIVER$260 - 350.00flexible5 HoursEasyNoDoor to Door Service, I can pick you up or refer an excellent driver.
RAFT TRIP$99.005:15 - 6:30 a.m.All Day - includes 2 meals, arrive 5 - 6 p.m.Very EasyYes, unless your flight arrives before 5 a.m.Door to Door Service. I highly recommend the rafting. I have done it 4 times and I love it!
FLYINGPrice varies - less than $100.00
5 - 8 a.m. depending on the Airline you chooseFlight- half hour Drive from Limon Airport to Puerto Viejo - one hourModerateYes, unless your flight arrives before 5 a.m.Fly from San Jose to Limon City. Then take a public bus or shared shuttle to Puerto Viejo

When planning your trip to the Caribbean,

bear in mind that it is a five hour drive from the airport in San Jose to Puerto Viejo and that it gets dark at 6 p.m. Consequently, if your flight arrives after noon, it may work out better to stay over night in the San Jose area and get an early start for the Caribbean the next morning.

For the return flight home, many prefer to leave the day before the flight to be sure to get to the airport in time. Costa Rica is the land of Murphy’s Law (Anything that can go wrong will go wrong). Route 32, the main highway between San Jose and the Caribbean, is a two lane road which can be blocked by traffic backups, accidents, road work and even land slides. The best plans may be subject to delay. But as long as there are no extensive delays if you leave Puerto Viejo in the early morning and your flight leaves mid to late afternoon, you’ll probably make it on time.

Hotel Recommendation: When staying overnight in San Jose Adventure Inn is my favorite!

Adventure Inn is currently #2 on TripAdvisor, out of 78 hotels in the area. They’re located only 10 minutes from the airport and about 15 minutes from downtown San Jose, right in front of the new National Convention Center. Included is a nice breakfast at their lovely restaurant and free airport shuttle service. Adventure Inn is a great way to begin and end your visit to Costa Rica. The decor is tropical with beach and jungle murals painted everywhere. The staff are friendly locals who all speak English. And the service is excellent. For a special discount click here: Adventure Inn Discount or just enter the code HIDDENJUNGLE manually when making a booking.


SHARED SHUTTLE SERVICE – a carefree way from San Jose to Puerto Viejo, air conditioned and comfortable.

RENTAL CAR – for the freedom of driving.

PUBLIC BUS – the most economical way to go.

RAFTING – for the adventurous, you can take a raft trip to get here. It’s great fun!

FLYING – Two small airlines offer flights to an airport just one hour away from Puerto Viejo.


Each form of transportation has its benefits.

I have personally used each one and can help you decide which is best for you.

Interbus, The private shuttle service is a good choice for your first trip to Costa Rica. It’s much easier and relatively stress free compared to taking the public bus. And you don’t have to lug your luggage from plane to bus to taxi to bus to hotel. You’re free to simply look around and enjoy yourself. To make a reservation you can contact Dawin Fuentes at the Puerto Viejo Interbus office: or on WhatsApp (506) 6088-1948.

Driving gives you freedom and independence but for newcomers it is my least recommended way to travel. You’ll have to go through San Jose, which is nerve wracking. It’s easy to get lost. The traffic is terrible and the drivers are crazy. You should plan your trip so that you are not driving in the dark but if there is construction or an accident you can be delayed for hours. Besides, you don’t really need a car in Puerto Viejo. You can go anywhere you want by taxi, bus, bike or on foot. I say: save your car rental expenses and use the cash for fun excursions when you get here.

Taking the bus – besides the obvious economic advantage, it can be fun. You can practice your Spanish with the person sitting next to you. Most people are friendly and congenial. When you get tired of looking out the window at the gigantic tropical greenery or pineapple fields as far as the eye can see, you can people watch and learn about the culture. The bus ride can also be long and tedious on a hot afternoon. That would be a good time to take a nap.

Rafting makes a memorable way to begin your adventure. Or you can take the rafting trip on your way home.

Flying is the fastest way and offers a gorgeous aerial view of the country. I love it!

Whatever way you decide to get here – just get here! I’ll be waiting for you at Hidden Jungle Beach House.

Walking Directions to Hidden Jungle Beach House from the town of Puerto Viejo

Take the main street out of town in the direction of Limon. You’ll go over a little bridge at the edge of town. The beach will be on your right. Make your FIRST LEFT immediately before Kaya’s Place. Walk about 50 meters (half a block). Our’s is the FIRST PLACE ON THE LEFT. Or just take a taxi from town and have the driver call me for directions: 8310-5061.

At the entrance there is a big wooden gate with a small door to walk through. You’ll see our sign. Pull the red ring to sound the bell and we’ll be out to greet you in a few minutes. See you soon!