How to get from Puerto Viejo de Talamanca to La Fortuna?
La Fortuna is a quiet little town in Alajuela Province. Its name translates to “The Fortune” in English, and it’s easy to understand why it was given that name. Its fertile lands and abundant natural wonders will make you feel fortunate for being able to visit this laidback paradise!
La Fortuna is the gateway to Arenal Volcano National Park. The park is home of 2 volcanoes – the still very active Arenal and the inactive dormant Chato – as well as the 70-meter high La Fortuna Waterfalls. These are all tucked in lush jungles that make hiking a bliss!
3 ways to get from Puerto Viejo de Talamanca to La Fortuna
You can choose from 3 options when travelling the 270km distance from Puerto Viejo de Talamanca to La Fortuna: a 6-hour minivan, a 6-hour bus, or an 8.5-hour indirect bus. Rates range from 9,780 CRC ($16) to 206,410 CRC ($333).
The minivan shuttle is the most convenient option for solo travellers and small groups. Shared minivans are door-to-door transfers so you can just wait to be picked up at your hotel and enjoy a hassle free journey. It’s a bit expensive with rates from 37,200 CRC ($60), but well worth the time and hassle you save compared to taking the bus.
If you’re with a group of at least 6 persons, it’s a bit cheaper to take a private transfer from Puerto Viejo de Talamanca to La Fortuna. Rates start from 206,410 CRC ($333) for a 6-seater car. When you split the cost, that’s around $55 per person.
The bus is the cheapest way to get from Puerto Viejo de Talamanca to La Fortuna. Combined rates start from as low as 9,780 CRC ($16). There are no direct buses for this route though so you’ll have to take 3 buses. And while those transfers are quite simple, travel time will take at least 8.5 hours.
Itinerary from Puerto Viejo de Talamanca to La Fortuna
Puerto Viejo de Talamanca to La Fortuna by Minivan
Duration: 6 hours Cost: 37,200 CRC ($60)
The minivan is definitely the most hassle-free option for solo travellers as well as small groups. It’s a shared ride, but you will be picked up from your hotel in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca and brought straight to your accommodation in La Fortuna.
That sounds really appealing, considering the only alternative public transport is an 8.5-hour indirect bus ride.
Interbus and Caribe Shuttle are two of the most trusted minivan operators from Puerto Viejo de Talamanca to La Fortuna. Ticket prices start from 37,200 CRC ($60) and travel time with the minivan is around 6 hours.
Puerto Viejo de Talamanca to La Fortuna by Private Transfer
Duration: 6 hours Cost: from 206,410 CRC ($333)
A private transfer from Puerto Viejo de Talamanca to La Fortuna is a great way to travel when you are already with your own small group. Taking a private ride may actually be a bit cheaper than a shared minivan when you split the cost.
BookAway offers several vehicle choices depending on the size of your group. Rates start from 206,410 CRC ($333) for a minivan that can accommodate 6 persons. Split the cost and that’s about $55 per person.
The bus is the cheapest option from Puerto Viejo de Talamanca to La Fortuna. There are no direct buses though, and you’ll have to go out of the way to San Jose if you want to travel completely by bus.
That means travel time will be longer – around 8.5 hours on the road plus possible waiting time for your connecting buses. With rates from as low as 9,780 CRC ($16), we’ll leave it to you to decide whether the savings is worth this long journey.
Step 1: Puerto Viejo de Talamanca to San Jose by Bus
Duration: 4.5 hours Cost: 6,015 CRC ($10)
First, you’ll have to take a 4.5-hour bus from Puerto Viejo de Talamanca to the capital city of San Jose. That’s roughly a 220km ride northwest.
Autotransportes MEPE offers several daily trips from 04:50 to 16:00. We do highly recommend though that you take one of the earlier buses. It’s really easier and safer to travel on unknown roads during the day. Also, keep in mind that you have to be in San Jose before 17:45 to be able to catch a connecting bus.
Buses depart from MEPE Bus Stop in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca city centre. You can buy your tickets at the terminal for 6,015 CRC ($10).
Buses operating from San Jose to Ciudad Quesada depart from Terminal 7-10. That means that upon arrival at Terminal Atlantico Norte, you’ll have to get out of the bus station and walk around 350m to find your next bus ride.
From San Jose, there are actually buses that go straight to La Fortuna. However, there is only one trip daily and this departs at 08:40 in the morning. The earliest bus from Puerto Viejo de Talamanca arrives at 09:20. So there’s no way you can catch the direct bus.
Instead, you can first take the bus to Ciudad Quesada, a town located about 95km north. Bus trips for this route are more frequent. You can expect a bus departure every 20 to 50 minutes from 05:45 to 17:45. A ticket costs around 1,850 CRC ($3) and you can buy them at the bus station.
Upon arrival at Ciudad Quesada, you can easily find your connecting bus to La Fortuna at the same bus station.
There are two bus routes from Ciudad Quesada to La Fortuna – one is via El Tanque (a little bit faster) and another one via Chachagua (more scenic). If there is no specific route that you prefer, you can simply take the earliest bus available. Buses operate every day from 05:00 to 22:10.
Ticket prices start from 1,915 CRC ($3.10) and you can just buy them from the driver. You will be dropped off at La Fortuna Terminal, located in the town centre.
PRO-TIP: The bus trip can be tiring, but it is very important that you are very careful of your luggage. Bag thieves are plenty, especially in San Jose. When storing you bigger bags at the luggage compartment, make sure they’re in before boarding the bus and don’t forget to get your luggage ticket. Keep all your valuables in a smaller bag that can fit on your lap. It’s best not to put anything on the overhead bin.
This place is just wow! You’ll feel like you’re staying in a luxury resort, without paying those high prices you would normally pay at premium resorts. This eco-friendly hotel offers a number of outdoor pools, hot springs, a spa and a grill restaurant. All surrounded by tropical gardens.
Slip on your robe and enjoy the comfy bed after your spa treatment. The staff here are super friendly and will help you with anything they can. You won’t want to leave your private tropical oasis.
This hotel offers more than just a typical room. You’ll get to stay in fully equipped apartments, for a very reasonable price. Each apartment has its own sitting area, TV and kitchen.
On top of that, you’ll also have access to a really good gym that includes most of the equipment that goes way beyond the typical hotel gym! Then after you’ve worked up a sweat, you can relax on the hotel’s terrace or play a game of snooker.
Hotel Secreto feels like a mini oasis, surrounded by lush plants and views on Arenal Volcano. There are not many places where you can lounge in a swimming pool, or hot tub, and admire views on a 1,600m volcano. Well here you can!
The large glass doors of the rooms mean you’re never shut away from the glorious views and nature. They’re also large, modern and clean. Every morning you can start the day right by enjoying their delicious free breakfast.
Just the view on Arenal Volcano should already be enough to convince you to stay at Arenal Xilopalo. Enjoy the breakfast with a direct view on the volcano while listening to the chirping birds in the surrounding trees.
The rooms match the vibe of La Fortuna, boasting a rustic and natural design. Each room is clean, spacious and also includes extras like a coffee machine and a fridge. The location of the hotel is also perfect.
If you manage to book a mountain view room at Hotel Bijagua, you’ll never want to leave your private balcony. The view is just too good!
The hotel's garden, the public terrace and the swimming pool also provide a peaceful place to relax after a busy day of activities in La Fortuna. There’s also a small kitchen available and free bikes for rent.