Want to know how to get from Monteverde to San Jose? In this post, we’ll share a summary of the three ways to get there and compare each option on duration, costs and level of comfort. For each option, we go into more detail to help you decide which transport provider to book with and where to buy your tickets.
What to expect when visiting San Jose
San Jose is a bustling urban landscape in the Central Valley of Costa Rica. Being the capital city, it may not be as pretty as the beach and jungle destinations that the country is known for. But if you are stopping by anyway, might as well explore for a few hours or a day before moving on to your next stop.
You will find plenty of things to do in San Jose. Within the city, you can check out the colonial buildings turned museums at Barrio Amon, try out the famed restaurants at Barrio Escalante, or party the night away in El Pueblo. If you want to venture outside the city limits, the Poas Volcano and La Paz Waterfall Gardens are highly recommended!
3 ways to get from Monteverde to San Jose
There are three ways to travel the distance of 135 km (84 miles) from Monteverde to San Jose: by bus (5h30m), minivan (3.5 hours) and private transfer (2.5 hours). The journey takes between 2h30m - 5h30m and the quickest way is by private transfer. The lowest priced tickets start from $5.50 (3,000 CRC) for the bus.
The bus is the cheapest option to get from Monteverde to San José, but not exactly the most reliable. While a ticket costs only $5.50 (3,000 CRC), buses make a lot of stops to pick up and drop off passengers so travel time can take up to 5.5 hours, 2 hours longer than the minivan. Buses in Costa Rica are also prone to petty thieves!
Transmonteverde operates one daily trip from Monteverde to San José. This departs at 05:30 every morning and travel time is around 5.5 hours.
Bus tickets are around $1 cheaper when you buy them at the bus terminal. But since there is only one daily trip, it’s safer to book them online beforehand for $5.50 (3,000 CRC). Tickets are available on the Transmonteverde website.
You can also buy tickets through the popular booking platform Guatego, but they’re $10 more expensive there.
PRO TIP: Do be mindful of your luggage if you travel by bus! Bigger ones will be stored in the compartment below. Make sure they’re inside before boarding the bus and don’t forget to get your luggage ticket. As for smaller bags with your valuables, they’re safer in front of you (between your legs) than on the overhead bin.
Monteverde to San Jose by Minivan
Duration: 3.5 hours
Starts from: $44 (23,000 CRC)
Duration: 3.5 hours
Cost: $44 (23,000 CRC)
The minivan is a very convenient way to get from Monteverde to San Jose with rates from $44 (23,000 CRC). Shared minivans offer free hotel pickup and dropoff. Apart from one bathroom break along the way, there are no other stops between the 2 cities so the journey can be completed in around 3.5 hours.
We recommend taking a minivan for solo travellers or couples who rather not spend more than 5 hours on the bus.
You can choose from 3 minivan operators to San José city centre: RideCR, Interbus and Gray Line. For easy and advanced booking, you can buy your ticket online on BookAway.
Want to travel from Monteverde to San Jose Airport? Then you can take Tropical Tours Shuttle. Reservation can be done via their own website.
Booking online will save you the hassle of visiting the minivan offices prior to your trip!
Monteverde to San Jose by Private Transfer
Duration: 2.5 hours
Starts from: $195 (101,000 CRC)
Duration: 2.5 hours
Cost: $195 (101,000 CRC)
We recommend a private transfer for group travellers. It’s the fastest option at only around 2.5 hours to get to San José from Monteverde. If you travel with a group, the costs can be even cheaper than the shared minivan. Rates start from $195 (101,000 CRC) for a vehicle that can fit 7 people.
If you’re heading to San Jose Airport and hoping to catch a flight, a private transfer is your best choice.
Taking a private transfer may look expensive, but not when you’re travelling in a group. Depending on the number of people you travel with, sharing a 7-seater private transfer can be as cheap as $27.50 (14,000 CRC) per person. Even if you are with just 4 people, it will already be the same price as a shared mini-van.
For larger groups, there’s also an 18-seater bus from Monteverde to San Jose for $345 (180,000 CRC).
Also for the private transfer, we like booking our ride through BookAway. They offer spacious cars with good drivers. And in case you have any complaints, their 24-hour customer service is always ready to assist!
Barceló Hotel blows most other city hotels out of the water. It has amenities usually only found in resorts, and for extortionate prices. Here you’ll find an outdoor pool, spa, gym, three squash courts and two tennis courts. Plus they offer a free airport shuttle.
If you don’t fancy venturing out of the hotel to get some food, no worries! There are three restaurants and a bar on site offering a variety of different cuisines. The rooms are spacious and clean, providing comfortable beds for a good night’s sleep.
Isla Verde Hotel is a real gem within the urban jungle that is San Jose. They have so many extras that you wouldn’t expect for the price – a gym, free shuttle to the airport and a great breakfast every morning.
The hotel is ultra-modern, boasting some beautifully designed rooms and seating areas. All of which are very clean and comfortable. If you don’t feel like venturing too far for food, their onsite restaurant serving Cantonese food is highly reviewed!
Eco Stay Hostel starts to feel like home after a while, as it has a shared living room, communal kitchen, a lovely garden area, and even barbeque facilities. You can even spend your evenings at the hotel having a friendly competition of snooker or darts.
The friendly hosts add to the welcoming atmosphere. Making sure that your room is clean and comfortable, whilst offering their help in any way that they can. The rooms are basic, but nicely decorated and have everything you could need whilst in San Jose.
Frequently Asked Questions about Monteverde to San Jose
What is the distance from Monteverde to San Jose?
The distance from Monteverde to San Jose is 135 km (84 miles).
What is the fastest way to get from Monteverde to San Jose?
The fastest way to get from Monteverde to San Jose is by private transfer and takes 2.5 hours.
What is the cheapest way to get from Monteverde to San Jose?
The cheapest way to get from Monteverde to San Jose is by bus with ticket costs starting from $5.50 (3,000 CRC).
Rounding it up
We hope this guide was helpful in planning how to get from Monteverde to San Jose. If there's anything else you're wondering about, drop us a comment and we'll do our best to answer you within a few days.
PS: If you've recently travelled this route, share your experience with fellow travellers and help us improve this post. Thanks for helping out our travel community!
Ela is a storyteller, content producer, solo traveller and a mermaid-in-training. When she’s not in front of her laptop, you will find her barefoot and living her best tan on some island in the Philippines… Or exploring the depths of its seas as a budding freediver. An island girl at heart, she’ll be happy anywhere there is sea, sand, sun and coffee.
Based in Bali, Maarten’s passion for travel is undeniable. In 2016, he decided to quit his job as a stock analyst and started doing what he always dreamed of: travelling through South East Asia and helping other people plan their trips. When he is not working on Gecko Routes, you’ll find him surfing in the ocean or exploring the best gems of Indonesia.