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How to travel from La Fortuna Arenal to San Jose, Costa Rica

Costa Rica’s Central Valley is home to San Jose, a bustling urban landscape. Check out our guide for the best options to travel from La Fortuna Arenal to San Jose, Costa Rica.

Since it is the capital of Costa Rica, it may not be as pretty as its beaches or jungle destinations. Even so, if you’re going to stop by, you should spend a day or a few hours exploring before moving on.

There are plenty of activities to do when in the city, including exploring the colonial buildings turned museums on Barrio Amon, sampling the renowned restaurants on Barrio Escalante, and having a blast on El Pueblo. 

You should also visit the Poas Volcano and the La Paz Waterfall Gardens if you want to venture outside the city.

Ready for it?

Check our guide for the best options to travel from La Fortuna Arenal to San Jose, Costa Rica.

Read also:

How far is San Jose from La Fortuna Arenal?

The distance from La Fortuna Arenal to San Jose is 98.3 miles or 158.2 kilometers. 

Depending on your choice of transportation, it will take you anywhere from 3 to 8 hours to get there. 

I recommend the following websites to plan & book your trip to Costa Rica

  • Check & book all available transportation options on GuateGo

The main transportation options to get from La Fortuna Arenal to San Jose are:

  • Shuttle
  • Shared Shuttle + Activity
  • Private Transfer
  • Public Bus
  • Rental Car
  • Taxi

GuateGo

On GuateGo you can check all available transportation options from La Fortuna Arenal to San Jose. It is a reliable and easy-to-use platform where you can compare prices & schedules and make a booking online.

From La Fortuna To San Jose

Getting to La Fortuna Arenal from San Jose

1. Bus from La Fortuna Arenal to San Jose

Journey Duration: 4 hours

At $5, the bus is the cheapest option. Although they aren’t quite as comfortable as the minivan or private transfer, the cost is hard to beat. Minivans are 10x more expensive than the cheapest ones!

The only direct bus operating from La Fortuna to San Jose leaves at 14:45. The indirect bus via Ciudad Quesada is an option if it doesn’t fit your schedule. 

Additionally, combined rates cost around $5. If you travel by bus (direct or indirect), you can expect to travel for between four and six hours depending on traffic.

2. Shared Van Shuttle

Journey Duration: 4 hours

Interbus offers daily shared shuttles from La Fortuna to San José at 12:15 PM. A one-way ticket costs USD 65 per person.

We recommend purchasing your ticket online in advance to make sure that there is availability on your preferred travel date.

3. Private Transfer from La Fortuna Arenal to San Jose

Journey Duration: Custom time

San Jose can be reached in the most comfortable manner with a private transfer. Your driver can even make stops en route if you’d like. Therefore, you’ll not need to worry about bus or shuttle schedules.

We recommend this option, especially for groups and families. Depending on how many people will join the trip, the price per person may not be much higher than for a shared shuttle.

Prices for a private transfer to San Jose:

  • 1 to 13 passengers: USD 208 

Book your private transfer online for a stress-free journey from La Fortuna Arenal to San Jose.

GuateGo

On GuateGo you can check all available transportation options from La Fortuna Arenal to San Jose. It is a reliable and easy-to-use platform where you can compare prices & schedules and make a booking online.

Going To San Jose?

4. Desafio Shuttle + Activity from La Fortuna to San Jose

Journey Duration: 6-8 hours

Another option is to combine your shared shuttle to San Jose with an activity, like Rafting or Canyoning. 

Desafio offers daily shared shuttles starting at USD 101. 

La Fortuna Arenal to San Jose Shuttle + Activity Schedule

  • 07:00 AM to 01:00 PM: Shared shuttle to San José, including Ziplining and lunch on the road. Total price: USD 101 
  • 08:30 AM to 04:30 PM: Shared shuttle + lunch, Safari boat at Sarapiquí River and tour guide. Total price: USD 114
  • 9:30 AM to 4:30PM: Shared shuttle + lunch and snacks, Rafting in Balsa river (2-3) and tour guide. Total price: USD 115
  • 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM: Shared shuttle +  lunch and snacks, Rafting in Balsa river (2-3) and tour guide. Total price: USD 124
  • 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM: Shared shuttle + lunch and snack, Rafting in Sarapiqui River ans a tour guide. Total price: USD 127
  • 7:30 AM to 1:30 PM: Shared shuttle, Canyoning / Rappel at Lost Canyon and Lunch included. Total price: USD 166

Taking a shuttle and having an activity included is one of the most fun things you could do, so book a shuttle online and have the greatest ride of your life!

5. Driving with Rental Car

Journey Duration: 2 hours 57 minutes

As the distance from La Fortuna to San Jose is only 98.3 miles or 158.2 kilometers, traveling there by rental car is also a great option.

Taking a rental car has the advantage of allowing you to visit places along the way, stop for lunch, and not have to worry about luggage limitations (as long as it fits in your vehicle).

6. Uber or Taxi

Journey Duration: 2 hours 57 minutes

Taxis are also available to take you to San Jose. Make sure to agree on a fixed price before you take the ride!

How To Travel From La Fortuna Arenal To San Jose, Costa Rica
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Frequently Asked Questions

How many airports are in San Jose, Costa Rica?

Costa Rica’s capital, San Jose, has two airports. The Juan Santamaría International Airport, which is the main airport of Costa Rica, and the Tobías Bolaños International Airport in the Pavas district.

How far is the airport from San Jose Costa Rica?

The Juan Santamaria International Airport is located 12 miles or 20 kilometers from San José.

What is San Jose known for?

There is a large Central Valley in Costa Rica, home to the nation’s capital, San José. The city is home to world-class museums, parks, hotels, theaters, and historic buildings. 
Throughout the country, an extensive plain is guarded by majestic volcanoes and lush green hills, showcasing the natural beauty that abounds.