Traveling by bus is one of the best ways to get around Costa Rica as the transport network here is quite strong. Both cheap and extremely comprehensive, you can get to almost anywhere by bus, with the exception of the Northern Caribbean Coast of Costa Rica, which is a vast swampy region. Though there is no national network or central bus terminal, Downtown San Jose is the transportation hub of the country, with buses leaving from here on a regularly scheduled basis to almost anywhere in Costa Rica.
Today there are dozens of public bus companies that offer both fast (directo) and slower (normal) bus services. Most of the trips cost less than $10 and offer a comfortable ride. Though the standard of buses varies from company to company, most of the buses on major routes are modern and roomy. Buses to rural or more remote areas are more often than not old US school buses.
If you happen to be using a public bus company it is very important that you buy your ticket in advance and not wait till the last minute. Also be prepared for crowded traveling conditions, especially on weekends or during festivals or holiday season. Additionally beware of pickpockets and luggage theft. When using a public bus to tour, make sure you travel light since space is nearly always an issue, and also because it will be much easier for you to keep track of your baggage.
If you like, you can also use tourist buses specifically meant for tourists. Mini-buses that strap your luggage to the top, these buses are more expensive than regular public transport ranging from $15 to $25 each way per person. The cost of your trip can vary with different tour companies as well as on the length of your trip. Since most of the people on board these buses are tourists, one really good advantage of using them is that you donít need to worry about looking after your stuff. Perfect for the non-adventurous traveler, these buses are more comfortable and safe.
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Click to enlarge map - Costa Rica Road Map