For those arriving into the San Jose International Airport (SJO) or traveling to Playas del Coco from another part of the country (which almost always requires a transfer in San Jose), getting from San Jose to Playas del Coco is very easy. The cheapest option is to take a direct bus but there are also shuttles available.

San Jose is just under 250 kilometers from Playas del Coco so regardless of your transportation choice, it’s a trip that takes at least 4-5 hours.

playas del coco from san jose bus schedule

Traveling to Playas del Coco from San Jose via Bus:

The buses to Playas del Coco from San Jose leave from the Pulmitan de Liberia bus station.

The direct San Jose to Coco bus leaves three times per day, at 8am, 2pm, and 4pm. The ticket costs approximately 5.000 colones and the trip takes anywhere from 4.5 to 6 hours, depending on San Jose traffic. Though it is a direct bus to Coco it does make a few stops on the way. There is one twenty minute bathroom and food break in the middle.

This route can be pretty popular so, if possible, buy tickets a day or two in advance. However, unless it’s a major holiday if you are at the station an hour before the bus, you should be okay.

If you can’t make any of the direct buses to Playas del Coco, you can also take a bus to Liberia and then transfer on another bus to Coco. (See this post on how to get to Playas del Coco from Liberia.) The buses from San Jose to Liberia run every hour from 6am to 6pm and also 8pm. On Sunday there is a bus at 7pm.

However, note that the last bus from Liberia to Coco is at 8pm, so if you take one of the later buses to Liberia you should be prepared with alternative transportation from Liberia to Coco.

The bus from San Jose to Coco does NOT stop at the airport. If you’re flying into SJO, the easiest way to get on the bus to Coco is to take a taxi from the airport to Pulmitan. This should cost around $40 and there are always taxis near the airport exit. Be sure to ask the price (and negotiate if necessary) before getting into the taxi.

Pulmitan buses are typically some of the nicest in Costa Rica, though they still are using some older buses. and not all of them have air conditioning. (Be sure to have a sweater for the ones that do, though!) However, for ~$10 for a 5 hour journey, it’s the best deal out there as far as getting to Playas del Coco from San Jose.

Traveling to Playas del Coco from San Jose via Shuttle:

If you’d like a faster and more direct option but won’t be renting a car, the other option for getting from San Jose to Coco is to take a shuttle. Currently, Interbus runs a shuttle once a day at 730am. They will usually pick you up at your hotel, if you are staying near the airport. Their shuttles are comfortable and air-conditioned and the staff is generally extremely friendly and knowledgeable. See their website for more info.

Caribe Shuttle also offers a daily shuttle from San Jose to Liberia, departing at 5am. See their website for more info.

If neither of those shuttle options work, you can also arrange a private shuttle option for around $200.

Need to overnight in San Jose/Alajuela? We recommend Adventure Inn, who offer free transportation to/from the airport. Breakfast, wifi (that works!), and international calls are included in the price as well. Receive 10% off by booking through this link and another 10% for paying in cash.

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