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How to get to Puerto Viejo from San José, la Fortuna & Manuel Antonio [bus, flight & shuttle]

Are you in Costa Rica and curious about how to reach Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, Cahuita, Limón, and Manzanillo from San José, La Fortuna or Manuel Antonio? Well, you’re in the right place! In this article, I’ll walk you through the step-by-step process of getting from SAN JOSÉ to these incredible destinations, whether you prefer taking a SHUTTLE to PUERTO VIEJO (👉price), to CAHUITA (👉price), to MANZANILLO (👉price) or to LIMÓN (👉price), or you prefer geting there by PLANE, you can also take a 👉FLIGHT to Limón airport. I’ll also provide detailed instructions on traveling by BUS.

If you’re in LA FORTUNA (Arenal), you also have the option of taking a SHUTTLE to PUERTO VIEJO (👉price), CAHUITA (👉price), and MANZANILLO (👉price). And don’t worry if you prefer traveling by BUS—I’ve got all the information you need.

Lastly, let’s not forget about the popular destination of MANUEL ANTONIO. From here, you can easily reach PUERTO VIEJO (👉price) and CAHUITA (👉price) by SHUTTLE (minibus). But if you’d rather travel by BUS, don’t fret! That option is also available.

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Here is what you will find:

How to get to Puerto Viejo, Cahuita, Limón & Manzanillo

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.

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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.

Getting there from SAN JOSÉ

There are three different options for traveling between San José and the Puerto Viejo area: by minibus (transfer), by plane, and by bus. Let me walk you through the details of each transportation method.

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Direct SHUTTLE to Puerto Viejo, Manzanillo, Limón & Cahuita

If you prefer to make the journey from San José to PUERTO VIEJO, to CAHUITA, to MANZANILLO or to LIMÓN more comfortably, you can choose to go by minibus (shuttle).

This type of transportation is better suited to the individual needs of passengers: they come to pick you up at the hotel, or you can request transportation directly from Juan Santamaría airport (in San José) to Puerto Viejo.

Transfers/shuttles make the direct journey (with bathroom stops), carry fewer people, and are air-conditioned.

If you’re staying in Manzanillo, opting for a shuttle is particularly convenient. The buses only go as far as Puerto Viejo, so you’d have to transfer from there to reach your final destination, which can be a bit of a hassle.

How to get to Puerto Viejo, Cahuita, Limón & Manzanillo by PLANE

If you have a little extra budget, consider the option of traveling by plane to save on transportation time. From your hotel in San José, you’ll need to make your way to Juan Santamaría Airport (👉transportation to the airport).

From there, you can catch a FLIGHT (👉price) that will take you directly to Limón Airport. The flight duration is just 40 minutes, covering the distance between the two cities in no time.

Upon arrival at Limón Airport, you’ll have the option to travel to Puerto Viejo (👉transportation to the hotel), Cahuita (👉transportation to the hotel), and Manzanillo, either by shuttle or taxi.

From the moment you leave your hotel in San José until you reach your hotel in Puerto Viejo, the approximate total travel time should be around 3 hours and 30 minutes.

Getting to Puerto Viejo, Cahuita and Manzanillo from San José by BUS

In San José, the buses depart from the MEPE bus terminal, which is located between Avenida 9 and Calle 12. The MEPE stop is centrally located and easy to reach, either by walking or by taking a bus (although I would recommend avoiding the area during the quieter hours as it may not be very safe).

The buses are not brand new, but they are not too shabby either. Although the journey can be a bit long, it is quite pleasant, and the scenery along the way is beautiful. I would suggest arriving 15 to 20 minutes early since buses in Costa Rica are not particularly known for their punctuality.

When it comes to luggage, it is stored underneath the bus and organized by destination (for example, all the luggage for Cahuita is grouped together). You may also notice people carrying 50kg bags of refined sugar. However, there is no need to worry too much about security or having your luggage stolen, as the driver takes care of everything.

llegar a puerto viejo de talamanca desde san jose

The bus makes only one extended stop in Limón, lasting about 15 minutes, before proceeding to its final destination, Puerto Viejo. It’s important to note that this is the same bus you should board if you plan to visit Braulio Carrillo National Park or Cahuita. Just inform the driver where you’ll be getting off to ensure they make the necessary stop.

Once you arrive in Puerto Viejo, the beautiful beach awaits, making the 4-hour and 30-minute journey well worth it. Treat yourself to a delicious coconut and savor it while sitting beside a palm tree, taking in the breathtaking view of the sea. It’s a priceless moment you won’t want to miss.

How to get by BUS to Cocles, Manzanillo & Playa Chiquita

The bus coming from San José makes its final stop in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, and if you want to travel further south, you’ll need to catch another bus.

There’s a specific bus line that runs along the entire stretch of the road from Limón to Manzanillo, with several stops along the way, including Cocles and Playa Chiquita. You can choose to transfer either in Limón or in Puerto Viejo. The ticket price from Limón to Manzanillo is 3310 CRC.

Important tip: Always remember to inform the bus driver in advance when you want to get off, as they are unlikely to make unscheduled stops if you don’t request it.

Bus ticket prices

Now let’s talk about the financial aspect: the bus ticket to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca costs 7345 colones and can be purchased only with cash at the Mepe bus stop.

Keep in mind that if you’re heading to Limón or Cahuita (price to Cahuita: 6315 CRC), you’ll need to take the same bus since the route is exactly the same. If you’re unsure about the location of the bus stop, don’t hesitate to ask the driver for assistance.

Below, you’ll find a map to help you locate the Mepe bus stop in San José.

How to get there from LA FORTUNA (Arenal)

There are two ways to get from La Fortuna to Limón, Puerto Viejo, Cahuita, and Manzanillo: by minibus or by bus. Let me provide you with a detailed description of both options:

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How to reach Puerto Viejo, Cahuita and Manzanillo by SHUTTLE

If you happen to be visiting La Fortuna, you also have the option of taking a convenient minibus transfer to reach PUERTO VIEJO (👉price), CAHUITA (👉price), and even MANZANILLO (👉price).

The shuttle will pick you up directly from your hotel in La Fortuna and transport you seamlessly to your chosen accommodation in Cahuita, Manzanillo, or Puerto Viejo.

Shuttles offer the advantage of being faster and more comfortable compared to regular buses. They carry fewer passengers and are equipped with air conditioning.

Opting for a shuttle is particularly preferable if you’re staying in Manzanillo since the buses only go as far as Puerto Viejo. From there, you would have to transfer to your final destination, which can be a bit inconvenient.

Getting to Puerto Viejo, Cahuita, Limón and Manzanillo by BUS

To get to the Puerto Viejo area from La Fortuna, your first step is to reach San José. You have two options that will take you to Terminal 7-10 in San José, which is right next to the Puerto Viejo bus terminal:

  1. Take the direct bus from La Fortuna to San José. This bus journey takes around 4 hours and costs 3,000 CRC. The only drawback is that there is only one direct bus available, departing at 2:45 PM. This means you would have to spend the night in San José to reach the Puerto Viejo area the following day.
  2. Take a bus to Quesada and then transfer to San José. This option allows you to complete the entire journey in approximately 5 hours, with a cost of 4,000 CRC. While it may be less convenient, it offers the advantage of having more available departure times. Buses operate from morning until evening, allowing you to make the trip to the Puerto Viejo area in a single day.

In the following link, you can find instructions on how to travel by bus from San José to Puerto Viejo, Manzanillo, Limón, and Cocles.

How to get to Puerto viejo manzanillo limón y cahuita from la fortuna by bus

Getting there from MANUEL ANTONIO

You have two options to get from Manuel Antonio National Park to Limón, Puerto Viejo, Cahuita, and Manzanillo: by minibus or by bus. Let me provide you with a detailed description of both options:

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How to reach Puerto Viejo and Cahuita by SHUTTLE

If you’re visiting Manuel Antonio National Park, you also have the option of taking a minibus transfer to PUERTO VIEJO and CAHUITA.

The shuttle will come directly to your hotel in Manuel Antonio to pick you up and take you seamlessly to your reserved accommodation in Cahuita or Puerto Viejo.

Shuttles offer the advantage of being faster and more comfortable than regular buses. They have fewer passengers and are equipped with air conditioning, ensuring a pleasant travel experience for you.

How to reach Puerto Viejo, Limón, Manzanillo and Cahuita by BUS

The first step is to reach the city of San José. There are buses available from the Manuel Antonio bus terminal that will take you directly to the capital. The journey takes approximately 4 hours and costs ₡6,085.00.

Keep in mind that the company operating this route is called TRACOPA, and their terminal in San José is a bit distant from the bus departure point to Puerto Viejo. I suggest asking the driver if there is a stop closer to your destination, and if not, consider taking a taxi for the bus transfer.

In the following link, you can find instructions on how to travel by bus from San José to Puerto Viejo, Manzanillo, Limón, and Cocles.

How to go to Puerto viejo manzanillo limón y cahuita from la manuel antonio by bus

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 and activities in Costa rica

Costa Rica is a very beautiful country and is an ideal place to enjoy nature. You can make excursions to volcanoes, waterfalls, go rafting through its rivers or spend the day relaxing on the beach.

Here you’ll find a list with activities and tours so you can get to know Costa Rica better during your trip.

What to see in Puerto Viejo

Puerto Viejo is a hippie paradise. Not only for its palm trees and beaches, but also for the atmosphere that is breathed.

I tell you some of the places that are worth visiting during your visit. One is in the very center and the others a few kilometers away.

Playa Negra

Playa Negra is located in the very center of Puerto Viejo. It differs from the other beaches in the area due to the dark color of its sand.

It is a very long beach where you can go for a run, drink a coconut or even snorkel. Since on its shore lies a half-sunken ship, which over time becomes a reef.

If you like water sports, note that (next to the boat) there are groups learning to surf, since its moderate waves are perfect for beginners. Taking a class can be a great opportunity to learn a new activity and meet new people.

Manzanillo national park

Manzanillo National Park offers much more than it may seem at first sight. The first thing you will see when you arrive there will be the wild beaches and their small coves with palm trees.

But it is also home to the best preserved coral reef in the Atlantic. And, for this reason, this visit is a good opportunity to practice snorkeling and diving.

Crocodiles, turtles and dolphins also live in the park in the wild. If you feel like seeing these beautiful animals, tours are organized where you can learn more about them.

Punta Mona

This is one of the areas of the Manzanillo National Park, which is characterized by receiving far fewer visitors and being a perfect place to unwind.

In Punta Mona there is only one small hotel on the beach itself, and it is surrounded by grass and hammocks where you can read or lie down to watch the sunset.

Towards both sides it has a beach for endless walks, and it can be reached only by hiking or by boat from the main beach of Manzanillo.

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.

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.

I hope the information in this article has been helpful to you and that you enjoy Puerto Viejo to the fullest!

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