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5 Best Ways to Get from San Jose to Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

You can get from San Jose to Puerto Viejo by bus, shared shuttle, private transfer, flight, or rental car.

The cheapest option to travel from San Jose to Puerto Viejo is by public bus, which costs USD 10. The journey takes about 4.5 hours.

The most popular option is the shared shuttle, offering convenience at a very affordable price.

The fastest way to travel to Puerto Viejo from San Jose is by flight via Limon Airport, which takes about 1.5 hours.

Having explored Costa Rica from end to end, I’ve picked up a wealth of knowledge about its transportation. Let me guide you through the most practical and enjoyable ways to travel from San Jose to Puerto Viejo and get around this vibrant country with ease!

Here you can find more information about Costa Rica transportation, and don’t forget to check out our detailed Costa Rica travel guide.

Transportation Options from San Jose to Puerto Viejo

The following table outlines all transportation options from San Jose to Puerto Viejo:

Public Bus from San Jose to Puerto Viejo4.5 hrs$10
Shuttle from San Jose to Puerto Viejo5 hrs$63 to 65
San Jose to Puerto Viejo Private Transfer~4 hrs$285 to 435
Flight from San Jose to Puerto Viejo~1.5 hrs+$112
Rental Car~4 hrs

How far is Puerto Viejo from San Jose?

The road distance from San Jose to Puerto Viejo is about 217 kilometers or 135 miles.

The flight distance from San Jose to the nearest airport in Limon is 115 kilometers (71 miles).

How to get from San Jose, Costa Rica to Puerto Viejo

1. Public Bus from San Jose to Puerto Viejo

Journey Duration: 4 hours 30 minutes

The public bus is the cheapest option to travel to Puerto Viejo. Bus transportation in Costa Rica is excellent, and around seven daily express buses leave San Jose to Puerto Viejo daily.

The direct buses to Puerto Viejo leave from the Terminal de Autobus Atlantico Norte which is located on Calle 12 between Avenidas 7 and 9 in Barrio Mexico in San Jose.

Make sure to board the bus to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca or also known as Puerto Viejo de Limon as there are is a second town called Puerto Viejo in Costa Rica.

The trip takes around 4.5 hours and includes a 15 minutes stop at the bus terminal in Limon. The price is about 10 USD, and the bus leaves at 06:00 AM, 08:00 AM, 10:00 AM, 12:00 PM, 02:00 PM, 04:00 PM, and 06:00 PM.

Alternatively, you can take a bus to Limon, which takes around three hours, and transfer to another bus for Puerto Viejo.

The second bus ride will take another 1.5 hours. I guess that’s only interesting if the direct bus is either fully booked or you don’t like the schedule.

Puerto Viejo, Manzanillo And Cocles Beach

2. Shared Van Shuttle from San Jose to Puerto Viejo

Journey Duration: 4-5 hours

A shared shuttle is one of the most popular ways to travel from San Jose to Puerto Viejo. This mode of transportation strikes an ideal balance between cost-effectiveness, convenience, and comfort, making it a top choice for both tourists and locals alike.

The shuttle is typically a modern, air-conditioned vehicle with comfortable seating and ample luggage space. It’s the perfect alternative if you want to avoid public transportation and opt for a more comfortable alternative instead.

Most shuttles accommodate 10-15 passengers, allowing for a communal yet cozy traveling experience. The journey from San Jose to Puerto Viejo takes about 5 hours, depending on traffic and road conditions.

One of the most significant benefits of a shared van shuttle is the door-to-door service. The van will drop you off at your accommodation in Puerto Viejo, saving you the stress of navigating local transportation upon arrival. 

There are multiple daily departures, some in the morning and some in the afternoon, ensuring you have options to fit your travel schedule.

However, remember that the shuttle services can get booked up, particularly during peak travel seasons. 

So, we recommend making your reservation in advance to secure your seat! 

San Jose to Puerto Viejo Shared Van Shuttle Schedule:

The table below displays the shared shuttle timetable for trips from San Jose to Puerto Viejo, detailing departure times, journey lengths, and fares.

05:30am10:30am5h$63Book Now 3 E1661788865313
02:00pm07:00pm5h$63Book Now 3 E1661788865313
07:00am12:00pm5h$65Book Now 3 E1661788865313

Reserve your shared van shuttle seats in advance on GuateGo!

Do you need help arranging your transportation?

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What To Do In Puerto Viejo Costa Rica

3. Private Transfer from San Jose to Puerto Viejo

Journey Duration: ~4 hours

A private transfer is another viable option for traveling from San Jose to Puerto Viejo. This service offers an unmatched level of convenience and flexibility, making it a favorite for travelers seeking a more personalized experience.

Booking a private transfer is an easy task. Several companies offer this service online. Simply select your desired pickup location, time, and destination, and the company will handle the res!

The private transfer is typically conducted in a well-maintained, comfortable, and air-conditioned vehicle.

Depending on your group size and the amount of luggage, this might range from a luxury sedan to a larger van or SUV. 

One of the primary advantages of a private transfer is the ability to set your own schedule. You’re not tied to the set times of a shared shuttle, allowing for a more relaxed, stress-free journey.

The journey to Puerto Viejo is similar to that of a shared shuttle, traversing through scenic landscapes and lasting approximately 4-5 hours. The difference, however, lies in the additional comfort and convenience of a private transfer. 

Once you reach Puerto Viejo, your driver will drop you off at the exact location of your choice. 

Although private transfers are typically more expensive than shared shuttles, they offer greater flexibility, comfort, and privacy.

It’s an especially attractive option for families with young children, groups with a lot of luggage, or anyone looking for a more tailored travel experience.

Like shared shuttles, booking your private transfer in advance is advisable, especially during peak travel seasons.

This will ensure your transportation is secure and ready to whisk you away to the beautiful beaches of Puerto Viejo when you are!

Prices for a private transfer from San Jose to Puerto Viejo:

  • 1-4 passengers: USD 285
  • 1-13 passengers: USD 380
  • 5-12 passengers: USD 435
Snorkeling In Puerto Viejo De Talamanca 1
©Simon Dannhauer via

4. Flight from San Jose to Puerto Viejo

Journey Duration: ~1 hour 30 minutes

Unfortunately, there is no airport directly in Puerto Viejo.

However, flying from San Jose to Limon airport is possible, around 60 kilometers (37 miles) from Puerto Viejo.

A flight takes only about 40 minutes; however, you should consider the extra time it takes to get from the airport to Puerto Viejo, which should add about one more hour.

Prices for flight tickets from San Jose to Limon start at USD 112, and you can book yours here!

10 Best Things To Do In Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

5. Driving with Rental Car

Journey Duration: ~4 hours

By getting a rental car, taking the wheel yourself opens up a realm of freedom and flexibility to explore Costa Rica at your own pace.

This method of travel can add a sense of adventure and personalization to your journey. Depending on your intended travel itinerary and potential excursions off the beaten path, a 4×4 is often recommended.

This vehicle type is better suited for navigating the varying terrain and unexpected road conditions Costa Rica can sometimes present.

However, a standard vehicle should suffice if your route is planned primarily between San Jose and Puerto Viejo.

The roads on this stretch are well-maintained and drivable, even for those unfamiliar with Costa Rica’s roadways.

As always, it’s important to ensure you’re comfortable with the vehicle and the driving conditions for a safe and enjoyable road trip.

Browsing through your options and securing a rental in advance is also recommended!

Best day tours in Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

Get Your Guide helps you find the best tours wherever you are heading to. It’s usually the first website I check when I plan a trip to a new place.

Here you can find some of the best tours in Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you fly from Puerto Viejo de Talamanca to San José?

Puerto Viejo de Talamanca doesn’t have an airport. The closest airport is in Limon. You must drive for about an hour to get to the airport in Limon and take a flight to San José.

What is the cheapest way to get from San José to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca?

The cheapest way for this trip is to go by public bus. It will cost 7-12 USD and takes 5 hours and 30 minutes to arrive.

Is it safe to travel from San Jose to Puerto Viejo?

Yes, it is generally safe to travel between these two cities. However, like any travel situation, it’s important to stay alert, keep an eye on your belongings, and use reputable transportation providers.

Can I drive from San Jose to Puerto Viejo myself?

Yes, you can rent a car and drive yourself. However, be aware that Costa Rican roads can be challenging to navigate, especially in rainy conditions. Make sure you’re comfortable with the driving conditions before choosing this option.

Can the shuttle or private transfer pick me up from the San Jose airport?

Yes, most providers offer pick-up service from the San Jose airport as well as various other locations in the city.

Are there direct flights from San Jose to Puerto Viejo?

No, there are no direct flights from San Jose to Puerto Viejo. The most common ways to travel between these two cities are by road. If you still want to take a flight, you can only fly to Limon, and then travel to Puerto Viejo on land from there.

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