We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Public Transport or Private Van from San Jose to Tortuguero

San Diego...
Level Contributor
122 posts
1 review
Public Transport or Private Van from San Jose to Tortuguero

Hi,

We are a family of 3 traveling from San Jose to Tortuguero. Is it better for us to take public transport or is it better to take a private shuttle. We don't want to rent a car.

1. We will have 1-2 suitcases. I am wondering if there is space on the bus to store these.

2. Is it safe to take the public transport.

3. The bus from San Jose to Cariari leaves at 9am. What time will we need to arrive at the bus station to not miss the bus.

Thanks.

Brighton, United...
Level Contributor
315 posts
28 reviews
1. Re: Public Transport or Private Van from San Jose to Tortuguero

I'm a girlie who travelled alone on buses, they are fine! Also, MUCH cheaper. The biggest trouble I had (in a 5 week period) was a 9 year old CR girl who wanted to tell me everything about her life and help eat my cookies! Was good for my Spanish practice and she was lovely though, just very excitable!

I was worried about making the bus too, so last summer I got to the bus station so early that they told me to catch the first bus instead, only had to wait a few minutes :-) Also, first bus out had hardly any people on, was nice and quiet. The bus station is quite a nice one, there's plenty of seating/ cafes for waiting. Also there is an internet place, if you're there early it's really not a problem. The queues for tickets looked long, but they move quickly and the one at the bottom (by snack places, not at top by toilets) was less busy each time I went.

Cariari was hot, there was a fried chicken place opposite (almost) the bus station on the main street with air conditioning and toilets. I only bought a coke and stayed for ages, the best few colones I spent! As for the bus to La Pavona, it left a few minutes early and was rammed. Nice ride, beautiful scenery, but if you want a seat, be there at least 30/ 40 minutes early! Other people will have had different experiences but those are mine :-)

As for suitcases, I can't help, I only had a little backpack because my main rucksack was at my host family's house. Have fun!

Edited: 23 March 2013, 04:54
Costa Rica
Level Contributor
25,653 posts
25 reviews
2. Re: Public Transport or Private Van from San Jose to Tortuguero

Great advice from Catfee!

For luggage -- the bus has a storage compartment underneath that you can use. You might bring a small bicycle lock to snap your bags together to prevent any "grab and run" theft. It is not common - but can happen. Inside the bus, don't put anything in the overhead bin. Keep your valuables with you in a day pack.

If the bus from Cariari to Pavona doesn't have the storage compartment underneath, you can just bring your luggage on board with you. You can either buy an extra ticket to have a seat for the luggage or arrange it somewhere on the bus. Although if the bus is full and people are standing and your luggage is on a seat, you might get a "hairy eyeball." Sometimes you will find a space somewhere to stash it - but lots of people just put their bags in the aisle. Of course, if this is the case, it's more polite if you sit in the very back.

San Diego...
Level Contributor
122 posts
1 review
3. Re: Public Transport or Private Van from San Jose to Tortuguero

Thanks for the advice.

We are not spanish speaking. Will that be a problem.

Also, the bus from San Jose arrives Cariari at 11:00am. And the next bus to Pavona leaves at 11:30. Is that enough time to buy tickets and catch the bus to Pavona ? What is a good spot to catch the bus to Pavona - does it require walking 0.5 km to the old bus station.

Thanks for the advice about bike locks. Will there be something that I can attach the suitcases to in the luggage compartment.

Thanks.

Costa Rica
Level Contributor
25,653 posts
25 reviews
4. Re: Public Transport or Private Van from San Jose to Tortuguero

1. There won't be a problem with your not speaking Spanish. You can just use your destination as a question. In general, it's helpful if you learn 50 words or so of Spanish and a few phrases. Also, you could bring a small phrase book with you that would fit in a pocket. I use the Berlitz Latin American phrase book and it works really well. If you can't pronounce something, you can just point to it in the book.

2. Half an hour will be plenty of time. Many times in municipal bus stations where several companies use the same station, you don't buy tickets but just pay the driver. You can look around for a ticket office but also just offer money to the driver. If he accepts it, fine. If you need a ticket, he will point the way.

3. Use the bicycle lock to lock two bags together. If you have only one bag, there may be something in the compartment to lock it to. I have often seen a wooden pallet in bus compartments. Sometimes the bus company will give you a ticket for your bag. If you don't have a ticket and can't find anything to lock your bag to, it's not a big deal. You could sit on the side of the bus opposite the driver and watch when the compartment is opened at a bus stop.

Edited: 23 March 2013, 11:26
San Diego...
Level Contributor
122 posts
1 review
5. Re: Public Transport or Private Van from San Jose to Tortuguero

Thanks for the advice.

Final 2 questions:

1. Is it advisable to stay close to the Caribeneos terminal. Any recommendations for a place.

2. What time should we aim to reach the terminal to catch the 9am bus.

Thanks.

Costa Rica
Level Contributor
25,653 posts
25 reviews
6. Re: Public Transport or Private Van from San Jose to Tortuguero

Not too close, but I have stayed at Dunn Inn and liked it. If you are looking for a hostel - Tranquilo Backpackers. Either of these are a short taxi ride away from the bus station.

I would get to the bus station at least 1/2 hour before it is scheduled to leave. An hour would be better.

You can also look here: tortuguerovillage.com/publictransportation.h… for more information.

7. Re: Public Transport or Private Van from San Jose to Tortuguero

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 25 March 2014, 00:17