How to get to san josé from Juan Santamaría airport by bus and shuttle

Are you planning to travel to Costa Rica and want to know how to get from Juan Santamaría airport to the center of San José (or vice versa) by bus or shuttle?

👉 I tell you how to get to San Jose/airportby bus and transfer, which is the route that the bus follows through the city center and I give you some advice on transportation

Airport <> san José bus/SHuttle

  1. Transfer between Juan Santamaría airport and San José
  2. How to get to Juan Santamaría airport by bus
  3. How to get to the center of San José by bus
  4. Tips on the bus
  5. Tours and activities in Costa Rica
  6. What to do and see in San Jose
  7. What places to visit in Costa Rica

San JOsé (Costa RIca)

If you are planning a trip to Costa Rica (👉COSTA RICA GUIDE), you should know that it is a country characterized by the beauty of its beaches, mountains, volcanoes and the diversity of its wildlife.

If you’re not a costa rican citizen, in this link you can check the ✅ SANITARY REQUIREMENTS and get a VISA. Also, to help you travel without spending too much, here you’ll find a 💥20% DISCOUNT on your TRAVEL INSURANCE and 🏠10€/10$ DISCOUNT on ACCOMODATION

airport <> San José shuttle

The most comfortable, quick and easy way to get to and from the airport is by using a transfer service. They will pick you up at the hotel or the airport and take you to Juan Santamaría or San José, depending on your needs.

Although, if your main concern is the economic issue, it is better to use the bus that follows the Alajuela <> San José route. Below I will tell you all the details and give you some very useful tips.

👉 Check the Juan Santamaría airport <> San Jose shuttle prices

How to get to Juan Santamaría airport by bus

Getting to the airport from downtown San José is very simple. You simply have to go to Avenida 3, near Paseo de Colón (the main street of San José), and wait at the stop for the bus that goes to Alajuela.

Going by bus is the cheapest option to get to the airport, since the price of the ticket costs only 560 colones.

The following image shows the itinerary followed by the bus. Note that the stops appear on the map and that there are two routes marked.

Important: the green line corresponds to the direction Alajuela > San José, and the red line to the direction San José > Alajuela (towards the airport).

como llegar al aeropuerto juan santamaria desde San jose centro

How to get to San José center by bus

To go from the Juan Santamaría airport to the center of San José (Costa Rica), the cheapest option is to use the bus that stops right next to the airport.

When you leave you will find many taxi drivers trying to attract your attention to take you to the hotel, but if you prefer public transport, just keep walking to reach the stop and follow the instructions below.

Recommendation: if you have another scheduled flight and you only need to stay one night in San José, I recommend that, instead of staying in the capital, you book a hotel in the city of Alajuela. It will be much more practical and pleasant for you since Alajuela is only 2km from the Juan Santamaría airport, while San José is located 17km away.

Below are the directions, the map, a couple of tips and the link to the bus routes in Costa Rica.

Instructions to find the bus stop

  1. To get to the stop, you just have to cross the street that you will find when you leave the airport
  2. terminal and follow the C-shaped sidewalk (you will see it on the map below).
  3. Soon you will find more taxis and a few meters later the stop.
  4. If you can’t find it, you just have to ask, they will tell you for sure.
bus san jose aeropuerto alajuela

The ticket is bought on the bus itself and costs about 560 colones (it does not reach the euro). There is an exchange office in front of the baggage claim place, in case you need to change to the country’s currency.

The trip takes about 30-40 minutes from the airport to the center of San José and passes through Paseo Colón, which is a very well located area with many hotels. To see the exact route, look at the image above.

tips on the bus

1 – Super important: the bus is like a coach, each seat has lights on the roof and a button to ask for a stop, so don’t be confused and find it like me.

2 – These buses are very new and comfortable and there is enough space in the seats to put the cabin suitcase, but with one of the big ones you will have more problems.

3 – If you’re a bit lost and don’t know where to get off, you can always ask someone; people are usually very friendly and will even tell you about the city.

4 – You enter and exit through the same door: the front.

5-And the most important thing: before getting on, ask the driver if he is going to San José, because there are times when, even if it is written, he is not going to the capital but goes to Alajuela. Always ask!

Then I leave you the map of the Juan Santamaría airport with the bus stop marked, so you can’t miss it.

TOURS & activities iN COSTA RICA

If you go to San José, surely you will have thought of visiting other places in Costa Rica. Otherwise it would be a shame! Since it is a country with a great wealth of fauna and natural landscapes.

There are different tours and activities that you can do during your trip, and that will help you to access places and learn things that would cost you more on your own. Here are some for you to make the most of your stay:

What to do & see in San José

San José is not usually the main destination for travelers, but rather a point of entry to Costa Rica from where to start visiting the country.

But this city also has beautiful corners to visit. I will comment and describe some of them:

National theater

You can visit the San José National Theater itself or coincide your visit with one of the performances on offer (ballet, concerts, opera,…). It has the advantage of being very well located in the city center and easy to get to.

Although it is a building built in Costa Rica, the authors are foreigners and the style is totally European. In the paintings that adorn the ceilings, you can see daily scenes of Costa Rican life, such as day to day life on a coffee plantation.

Central Market

In the same area as the National Theater, the Central Market of San José is located. I recommend that you take the opportunity to visit both places on the same day.

In this market you can find everything. Apart from fruit, vegetables and meat, there are also places to eat for a cheap price, spice shops, herbalists, bags,… a lot of things.

It is a pleasant place to go for a walk and see a little more closely the life of the city, try some dish of Costa Rican cuisine, or buy lake that you need or need for the trip.

Places to visit in Costa Rica

Although Costa Rica is a small country, it has many beautiful places to discover. I recommend some that you will surely like:

Puerto Viejo

Puerto Viejo is a town on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica that is characterized by its hippie and relaxed atmosphere, and its virgin beaches. In addition, on two of its beaches there is a sunken ship and it is curious and beautiful to see.

It is a multifaceted place where you can enjoy different activities, such as kayaking in Punta Uva and surfing in Cocles, snorkeling and diving, excursions to the beaches or visiting its national parks (Manzanillo and Cahuita).


Tortuguero’s style is more adventurous. Here you can take boat trips on the river in search of alligators, and walk through the jungle where jaguars live in the wild.

The town of Tortuguero is smaller than most places, so it is very quiet and ideal to spend a couple of days learning about the fauna of Costa Rica.

Puerto Jiménez

Puerto Jiménez is a less popular destination, but one that I think is well worth a visit. It is located in a gulf on the Pacific coast almost touching Panama and, due to its geographical location, its waters are very calm.

Although it is next to the sea, it is a very complete place in terms of activities. In Puerto Jimenez you can…

  • do a kayak excursion to see the crocodiles in the lagoon and then take the opportunity to spot dolphins at the mouth of the river
  • go snorkeling at Playa Sándalo and Playa Blanca to see turtles and rays
  • bathe in the waters of its waterfalls
  • visit the different beaches in the area and take a dip
  • go to the park and sit on a bench while watching the crocodiles of Puerto Jiménez


Uvita is known for hosting the Marino Ballena National Park, with two beaches (Uvita beach and Hermosa beach) that, when joined, form an image similar to a whale’s tail.

In this town you can also visit the Uvita waterfall (perfect to cool off and have a picnic) and visit other of its beaches, such as Arco beach (this place is really incredible, there is a small waterfall on the beach where you can soak).

I hope this information has been useful to you and that you fall in love with Costa Rica like I did!