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How to get to San José (city center) from Juan Santamaría airport SJO by bus and shuttle/transfer

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

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

Best Travel insurance for Costa Rica

Here is what you will find:

Airport (SJO) from & to San José by bus and shuttle

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 foreigner planning a trip, in this link you can check the ✅ SANITARY REQUIREMENTS and get a VISA. Also, to help you travel without spending too much, in this link you’ll find ✈️ CHEAP FLIGHTS and a 💥10% DISCOUNT on your TRAVEL INSURANCE.

When browsing the internet during your trip, it is essential to use a 👉 QUALITY VPN to ensure your privacy and security. Additionally, bringing a ⭐ TRAVEL DEBIT CARD will help you avoid issues with carrying cash and reduce the risk of theft.

Airport SJO <> San José city center by shuttle

The most comfortable, quick and easy way to get from the airport to San Jose city center is by hiring a TRANSFER (👉PRICE). They will pick you up at the airport and take you to your hotel in San José city.

If you are already in San José city, you can also use this service to get to Juan Santamaría airport (SJO). Here you will find the 👉TRANSFER PRICES to the AIRPORT

How to get to Juan Santamaría airport (SJO) 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).

How to get to San José (city center) from Juan Santamaría airport SJO by bus and shuttle/transfer

How to get to San José city center from the airport SJO 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 (airport SJO)

  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.
How to get to San José (city center) from Juan Santamaría airport SJO by bus and shuttle/transfer

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 (Airport SJO)

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.

Useful stuff for your trip to Costa Rica

Below, you will find some products that will be very useful during your trip to Costa Rica.

In addition, the options that I recommend are committed to the environment/social causes and are vegan.

Waterproof windbreaker

vegan+ environment commitment

Carrying a waterproof windbreaker in your suitcase is essential in case temperatures drop, it rains unexpectedly, or to go hiking.

When traveling, it’s important to choose a jacket that is lightweight, takes up little space and that you can use in different situations; that is to say, that transpires, is waterproof and has a hood to protect you properly from bad weather.

👉 Price windbreaker for MAN and windbreaker for WOMAN

Gopro 11 Black

The GOPRO 11 (👉 PRICE) is a great choice if you are visiting natural areas, practicing adventure sports or want to make videos underwater, e.g. while scuba diving or snorkeling.

In addition, with its stabilization and Horizon Lock function, it will allow you to make incredibly stable videos even in adverse situations (such as walking, running or riding a motorcycle). In addition, it comes with an amazing 5.3k image quality.

👉 GOPRO 11 PRICE + specs

3-in-1 hiking shoes

vegan + environment commitment

These La Sportiva shoes are designed to run in the mountains, thanks to this you can use them for hiking, go out to run and do tourism ; saving space in your suitcase.

They are made with goretex, which means they protect you from the inclement weather weather (such as rain, ice or cold) and are adherent to the ground. This makes them ideal for traveling due to their versatility.

👉 Price shoes for MAN and for shoes for WOMAN

Tours in Costa Rica

Costa Rica is a country with a wide variety of fauna and nature. You can visit volcanoes, national parks, towering waterfalls, sunbathe at the beach, go kayaking,…

There are different TOURS and ACTIVITIES that you can do during your trip, so you can make the most of your stay:

Is Costa Rica SAFE to Travel? 

Costa Rica is a moderately dangerous country, where nothing should happen to you if you go carefully and take precautions. Remember to follow these recommendations:

  • In case of robbery, do not resist physically.
  • Do not show a high purchasing power, that is, do not go with jewels, bags, etc … that are expensive.
  • Be careful if you go out at night, and stay in crowded places where you are surrounded by other people.
  • Thefts are usual, so don’t go with the camera or mobile in your hand or hang out of your neck.
  • Try to avoid carrying the backpack on the back. Put it in front of you, or use a belt pouch or a cross bag.

Personally, I spent 3 months traveling alone in Costa Rica (I visited San José, Puerto Viejo, Tortuguero, Dominical, Uvita, Bay Drake and Puerto Jiménez) and I did not find myself in any really serious situation.

Going down the street with the camera, several Costa Rican people approached and warned me that they were carefully with robberies, since they told me that they are very frequent.

In my case, during the trip they tried to steal 2 times and, luckily, I realized on time and I could avoid it. In any case, it is always a good idea to have travel insurance (👉5% discount) that can compensate you financially and help you if a medical emergency occurs.

If you are interested in traveling alone, I recommend this article about the reasons and benefits of traveling alone and this other article with tips for traveling alone being a woman. I encourage you to try it since it is a great and very profitable experience for oneself.

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!

Eating VEGAN in Costa Rica

Costa Rica is not a country faced with vegan food. Anyway, they have some traditional dishes that are vegan or that you can ask without egg or sauces such as the pico of rooster (rice with beans for breakfast), black bean soup or rice with vegetables.

You should always ask if the purés or soups are made with some type of dairy product or meat broth, since at first glance they might seem vegan dishes but not be.

In San José you can find some vegan restaurants, but when you leave the capital the offer is very limited or non -existent. Next, I make three recommendations and in this link you can read tips to travel vegan.

  1. Try to stay in hotels that are characterized by cooking vegan and vegetarian dishes. This is the best option and the most practical for not having to be looking for places where to eat comfortable without always repeating the same dishes.
  2. Before going on a tour that includes a meal, always mention that you are vegan or vegetarian, so that they can adapt the food.
  3. Costa Rica is a country where you can find a variety of fresh products (fruits and vegetables) to prepare salads and breakfast with fruits. In any city or town, you will easily find some supermarket or stalls on the street where you can buy groceries.
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