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How to travel from Manuel Antonio to San Jose, Costa Rica

If you’re looking for the quintessential Costa Rica experience, you’ll find it in San Jose. In this city, you will find some of the country’s best restaurants and vibrant culture. Check out our guide for the best options to travel from Manuel Antonio to San Jose.

There’s so much to see and do in San José it can be hard to know where to spend your time. If you spend a bit of time exploring this bustling Central Valley city, you might just find yourself falling under its spell.

Politics, business, and culture are centered in the city of Costa Rica. With a soul that runs deep through its streets, buildings, and neighborhoods, it is both structured and chaotic in its composition.

Located in San Jose are congress buildings, museums, banks, restaurants, and even a notable natural history museum. This capital boasts breathtaking views from atop volcanoes that alone make it worth visiting.

It’s loud, chaotic, and has a beating heart of its own.

Want to know how to spend the best time while in San Jose? Get some amazing recommendations while getting a private tour of the city by a local, and find out all about its hidden gems!

So pack your suitcase and get ready!

Check our guide for the best options to travel from Manuel Antonio to San Jose.

Read also:

How far is San Jose from Manuel Antonio?

The distance from Manuel Antonio to San Jose is 167 kilometers or 103.8 miles.

The journey is likely to take anywhere between 3 to 6 hours, depending on your transportation choice and the route you take.

Universal Traveller recommends 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 Manuel Antonio to San Jose are:

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

GuateGo

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

From Manuel Antonio To San Jose

Getting to San Jose from Manuel Antonio

1. Bus from Manuel Antonio to San Jose

Journey Duration: 4 hours

In terms of cost, the bus is the least expensive option at USD 9. It may not be the most comfortable, but nothing else can beat the price if your priority is to travel cheap.

There are frequent busses to San Jose, starting from 04:05 AM till 05:00 PM.

Travel with the Tracopa bus service from Manuel Antonio station. The journey will take about 3 to 4 hours, depending on traffic.

2. Coach Bus from Manuel Antonio to San Jose

Journey Duration: 4:30-6:30 hours

You can also choose to travel by coach bus!

Want a bit more comfort than that of a shared shuttle? Check out this option!

The journey does take a little longer, but it does include two stops along the way, so you can take your time and relax!

Hotel pick-up is included in both options so you don’t have to carry your luggage.

Zuma Tours Coach Bus from Manuel Antonio to San Jose

  • 01:00 PM to 07:30 PM: Coach bus to San Jose, Pick up from hotel.
  • Total price: USD 376

Caribe Coach Bus from Manuel Antonio to San Jose

  • 09:00 AM to 01:30 PM: Coach bus to San Jose, Pick up from hotel.
  • Total price: USD 400

We recommend purchasing your bus ticket online in advance to make sure there is availability at your preferred travel date!

3. Shared Shuttle Bus

Journey Duration: 3:30-4:30 hours

If you want to travel economically, a shared shuttle bus is always a good option.

And luckily, there are also several services to choose from, which all provide direct transportation from and to your hotel!

Caribe Shared Shuttle from Manuel Antonio to San Jose

  • 09:00 AM to 01:30 PM: Shared shuttle to San Jose, Pick up and Drop off at hotel.
    • Total price: USD 61

Interbus Shared Shuttle from Manuel Antonio to San Jose

  • 08:00 AM to 12:30 PM: Shared shuttle to San Jose, Pick up and Drop off at hotel.
    • Total price: USD 65
  • 12:30 PM to 05:00 PM: Shared shuttle to San Jose, Pick up and Drop off at hotel.
    • Total price: USD 65

Desafio Shared Shuttle from Manuel Antonio to San Jose

  • 08:00 AM to 11:30 PM: Shared shuttle to San Jose, Pick up and Drop off at hotel.
    • Total price: USD 71
  • 12:30 PM to 04:00 PM: Shared shuttle to San Jose, Pick up and Drop off at hotel.
    • Total price: USD 71
  • 12:00 PM to 03:30 PM: Shared shuttle to San Jose, Pick up and Drop off at hotel.
    • Total price: USD 71

4. Desafio Shuttle + Activity from Manuel Antonio to San Jose

Journey Duration: 6 hours

Another option is to combine your shared shuttle to San Jose with activity, and Desafio Shuttles offers an amazing trip through the Tarcoles River.

Enjoy your journey and choose this option for more exciting explorations!

Manuel Antonio to San Jose Shuttle + Activity Schedule 07:00 AM to 01:00 PM: Shared shuttle to San Jose, with a Crocodile boat tour at Tarcoles River and lunch included.

Total price: USD 203

5. Private Transfer from Manuel Antonio to San Jose

Journey Duration: Custom time

With a private transfer, you can reach San Jose in the fastest and comfortable way.

You can even request that your driver make stops as you travel. So you don’t have to worry about bus and shuttle schedules and have a carefree trip.

Our recommendation is for groups and families to go with this option. As long as the number of people who will join the trip is sufficient, the price per person will be comparable with a shared shuttle.

Prices for a private transfer to San Jose:

  • 1 to 13 passengers: USD 208

GuateGo

On GuateGo you can check all available transportation options from Manuel Antonio 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?

6. Driving with Rental Car

Journey Duration:

In Manuel Antonio, there are also car rental companies that offer affordable rentals you can use for an enjoyable trip to San Jose.

Consider stopping along the way and arranging your own time and schedule when choosing this mode of transportation. 

For explorers who are looking for a bit more freedom, renting a vehicle is the best choice. 

7. Uber or Taxi

Journey Duration: 3 hours

Taxis and Ubers are the fastest ways to reach San Jose from Manuel Antonio. The cost of this option will range from USD 110 to USD 140, and the time frame will be 2 hours 42 minutes.

Before you take the ride though, make sure to negotiate a fixed price!

How To Travel From Manuel Antonio To San Jose, Costa Rica
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Frequently Asked Questions

What is there to do between Manuel Antonio and San Jose?

The best places to stop on the drive from Manuel Antonio to San Jose are:
Aguas Bravas Rafting.
Dave & Dave’s Costa Rica Nature Park. 
Frogs Heaven.
Proyecto Asis.
Rainforest Adventures Braulio Carrillo.
Monteverde Butterfly Gardens.
The Bat Jungle.
Curi- Court Reserve.

Do you need a car in Manuel Antonio?

Unless you just like to go on the road and explore the area, you don’t need a car to enjoy Manuel Antonio. Taking a bus or a cab can take you to the beach, a park, a restaurant, a hotel, a bar, etc. You will usually be picked up and dropped off at your hotel if you are doing zip-lining, mangrove water safaris, and other activities during your stay there.

What airport do you fly into for Manuel Antonio?

The nearest airport to Manuel Antonio is Quepos (XQP) Airport, which is 4.2 kilometers away. Additionally, there are airports in San Jose (66.7 km), Tambor (103.7 km), Puerto Jimenez (130.8 km), and Golfito (134.6 km).