Getting Around in San José

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San José serves as Costa Rica’s main transportation hub, which makes it one of the best places for tourists of the country to use as a starting point for their exploration. This province – and country capital – is centrally located so it is easy for travelers to get into and out of. Even better, San Jose is in the Central Valley – a lush and beautiful region with landscape that is truly spectacular and weather that stays great through the year.

Getting around this region is fairly easy, since it is very developed. This is a high traffic tourist area, so there are plenty of options for public transportation and paid transportation, and because there are plenty of places that you can get to using your own two feet.

Walk, Walk and more Walking

Walking is going to be your best option if you are staying in the downtown San José area. This bustling area is small enough to navigate on foot, and walking will save you from having to deal with the traffic, which can get extremely chaotic. Another reason walking is a great option is because then you won’t have to worry about finding parking – another task that can be daunting to foreigners in the chaotic area.

If you’re feet are too tired from a long day of traveling or hiking, or if you are wearing shoes that aren’t good for walking around, there are some other options. Public buses are available, and can be seen frequently, running along their routes during the daytime and in the evening. The fares are fairly cheap, so buses are definitely an option for anyone, including those on a budget. One thing to be aware of is that the bus drivers don’t often speak English; if you don’t know Spanish, find another way to double check and confirm the bus destination before you get on and start your ride.

Red Taxis

Another mode of transportation that is abundantly available - and cheap – is taxi cabs. Though taxis are a super effective way to get around, you should watch for spikes in fares at night. Using a cab in San Jose during the day is a great idea; the cab drivers know the area and the city well enough that they actually make wonderful tour guides. Using a taxi in San José at night can be time efficient – and better than walking – but again, the fares will be more expensive in those peak hours.

Your Own Schedule

If you just must be on your own schedule and completely in control, there are options for renting cars to use to explore San José. Just keep in mind that with this mode of transportation, you’re also going to have to learn how to deal with the traffic and congestion that you’ll hit. If you’re in San José but getting ready to head out, then renting a car is a great idea. There are over 50 car rental agencies all over the town, so you’re sure to find a convenient location no matter where you’re staying in the city.

Also helpful to those heading out of San José is that there are two airports that offer flights: Juan Santamaria International Airport, and Tobias Bolaños Airport in Pavas, which caters to many of the chartered domestic flights only.

Bus Terminals

Whether you are planning to fly or not, you can still get around the country with ease. If you don’t want to fly, one of the best things about deciding to stay in San José during your Costa Rica trip is that you’ll never be more than three hours away from either coast. The Coca Cola Bus Terminal in San José City is the main bus stop in the province. Located in downtown San José, this terminal not only serves domestic buses to all parts of the country, but a number of international buses as well from places like Panamá, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras and San Salvador. Northeast of the Coca Cola terminal sits the Atlantico Norte Terminal which serves the northern regions of the country, while on the southern end of town, you will find the Terminal Musoc that caters to San Isidro and beyond. The Gran Terminal del Caribe on Avenue 13 serves the province of Limón.
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South Puntarenas Region (South Costa Rica)Cartago Region (Central Valley)Limón Region (Caribbean Coast)San José RegionNorth Puntarenas Region (Central Pacific Coast)Heredia Region Alajuela Region (Arenal Volcano)Guanacaste Region (North Pacific Coast)