San Jose to Corcovado

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Overview Bus Minivan Taxi Flight To Stay

How to get from San Jose to Corcovado?

Sitting on the southwest coast of Costa Rica, you’ll find an adventurer’s paradise – the Corcovado National Park. It is said to hold 2.5% of the world’s biodiversity and is home to a wide variety of animal species, many of which are considered rare elsewhere.

Tapirs are a common sight on the Corcovado shores, scarlet macaws brighten its trees, bull sharks inhabit its rivers, and jaguars roam its forests.

Corcovado is the largest of Costa Rica’s national parks and is a traveller’s dream destination. It’s important to know that there are several entrances and each will lead you to different hiking trails.

Another thing you should know is that you can only enter Corcovado through a guided tour. These tours can be booked from any of its basecamps in the Osa Peninsula. The most popular basecamps to visit Corcovado National Park are Puerto Jimenez and Drake Bay.

We also answer the following:

  • What is the best way to enter Corcovado National Park?
  • Is a day trip from San Jose to Corcovado worth it?
  • Which basecamp to chose: Puerto Jimenez or Drake Bay?

3 options to enter Corcovado National Park

The first decision you have to make when visiting Corcovado National Park is where you want to stay the night before.

See here the 3 different ways you can reach Corcovado National Park from San Jose.

  1. Daytirp from San Jose. We don’t recommend this option because it’s overpriced and the journey from San Jose will already take 6 hours
  2. Via Puerto Jimenez. This is the most popular destintion to stay the night before you go to Corcovado.
  3. Via Drake Bay. This is a destination on itself. It’s next to Corcovado National Park and offers many great activities in the area. It’s the place to choose when you have time to spend a few more days in the area.

Option 1: Direct from San Jose to Corcovado

Are you looking for a way to travel straight from San Jose to Corcovado National Park? It’s possible, but only through an organized day trip from San Jose ($324). We don’t recommend this option as we think it’s overpriced and there is a lot more to see in the surroundings!

Instead of spending a whopping 202,490 CRC ($324) per person for a one day tour, we recommend to travel independently to either Puerto Jimenez or Drake Bay and make your trips to Corcovado from there.

Option 2: From San Jose to Corcovado via Puerto Jimenez

Puerto Jimenez is the most common jump-off point to visit Corcovado National Park. The town is located 30km east of Corcovado and from here, you can access Corcovado through 4 (of the 5) different ranger stations. La Leona, Los Patos, Sirena and El Tigre.

However, that doesn’t necessarily mean Puerto Jimenez is the best place to visit Corcovado.

Option 3: From San Jose to Corcovado via Drake Bay

If you have a bit more time, we recommend to spend a couple of days in Drake Bay. What we love about is that Drake Bay is a destination in itself. It is a laidback town that will already allow you to see a lot of nature and wildlife before even entering the park.

Drake Bay is about 15km away from the nearest entrance to Corcovado National Park, which is in San Pedrillo Ranger Station. Alternatively, you can also enter the park Via the Sirena entrance.

Via Drake Bay or Puerto Jimenez?

If you prefer to enter Corcovado National Park via Drake Bay, then you can check out our detailed guide on how to get from San Jose to Drake Bay.

If you don’t have the time to visit Drake Bay and want to enter Corcovado Park via Puerto Jimenez, you are at the right page! In the remaining of this post, we explain you how to get from San Jose to Corcovado via Puerto Jimenez.

From Puerto Jimenez, you can simply book one of the many tours offered to Corcovado National Park. IF your tour doesn’t include transportation, check out our guide on how to get from Puerto Jimenez to Corcovado National Park.

4 ways to get from San Jose to Corcovado National Park via Puerto Jimenez

Transport ModeDurationCostsAvailability
Bus8 -10 hours8,045 CRC ($13)Read article for more info
Minivan7.5 hours55,120 CRC ($89)Check Minivan Tickets
Private transfer6 hours235,350 CRC ($380)Book a Private Transfer
Flight1 hour 40 minutes103,485 CRC ($167)Check Flights

There are 4 ways you can travel the 180km from San Jose to Corcovado (via Puerto Jimenez): you can take an 8-10 hour bus, a 7.5-hour minivan, a 6-hour private transfer, or a 1-hour-40-minute flight (including transfers). Rates range from 8,045 CRC ($13) to 235,350 CRC ($380).

The cheapest option from San Jose to Puerto Jimenez is the bus with fares starting from 8,045 CRC ($13). The bus journey can take between 8 hours 40 minutes and 10 hours. Note that this bus only leaves once a day.

More comfortable than the bus is a minivan shuttle from San Jose to Puerto Jimenez. Travel time is 7.5 hours, but it also comes with a higher price ticket, starting from 55,120 CRC ($89). The advantage is that it’s faster and also a door-to-door transfer. This means you won’t have to worry about the transfers to and from bus terminals.

If you’re travelling with a group, it can be cheaper to take a private transfer from San Jose to Puerto Jimenez. Rates start from 235,350 CRC ($380) for a car that can accommodate 4 to 5 persons. Bigger vehicles are also available for bigger groups.

The flight is definitely the fastest way from the capital to Puerto Jimenez. Even including transfers, travel time takes only 1 hour 40 minutes. Combined fares start from 103,485 CRC ($167).

We are not big fans of taking short-haul flights like this, but we have to admit that for this route, it does save you a lot of time. If you decide to fly, we would like to suggest to add a carbon compensation fee to reduce its high impact on the environment.

Getting from Puerto Jimenez to Corcovado National Park

We recommend staying a day in Puerto Jimenez before setting off for Corcovado National Park early the next day. That’s so you can get to Corcovado with a fresh burst of energy and be able to make the most of your time there.

There are 5 ways to enter the 4 entrances of Corcovado National Park from Puerto Jimenez:

  • 3-hour-15-minute collectivo (and hike) to La Leona
  • 1-hour taxi to Los Patos
  • 15-minute flight to Sirena
  • 2-hour-20-minute boat to Sirena
  • 40-minute bus to El Tigre

The best trail really depends on how adventurous you are. For more details, check out our guide for Puerto Jimenez to Corcovado National Park.

Itinerary from San Jose to Corcovado via Puerto Jimenez

Bus icon

San Jose to Corcovado by Bus via Puerto Jimenez


Duration: 8-10 hours
Cost: 8,045 CRC ($13)

There is only one daily bus trip from San Jose to Puerto Jimenez. This bus is operated by Grupo Blanco and departs every day at 12:00 noon. Scheduled travel time is 8 hour and 40 minutes, but note that with the usual traffic, the journey might take up to 10 hours long.

You can buy your tickets from the bus station in San Jose for 8,045 CRC ($13). As there is only one bus trip available, we highly recommend that you book your ride online via the Grupo Blanco website.

There is a service charge which makes it $2 more expensive, but you will be guaranteed a seat on your desired travel date.

Bus schedule from San Jose to Puerto Jimenez

Bus OperatorScheduleDurationCosts
Grupo Blanco12:00-20:408-10 hours8,045 CRC ($13)

Grupo Blanco buses depart from Blanco Lobo Bus Terminal in San Jose city centre. They arrive at Puerto Jimenez Bus Station, also in the city centre.

PRO-TIP: Don’t lose sight of your belongings! Petty thefts are common, especially at the bus terminals in San Jose. Put all your valuables in a small bag that you can put in front of you throughout the journey. Your bigger bags will be stored in the luggage compartment, don’t board the bus until you’re sure they have been safely loaded. Also, make sure to get your luggage ticket!

minivan icon

San Jose to Corcovado by Minivan via Puerto Jimenez


Duration: 7.5 hours
Cost: 55,120 CRC ($89)

When travelling by minivan from San Jose to Corcovado, you can only do this directly via Puerto Jimenez. While there is also a way to take a minivan going to Drake Bay, you can only go up to Sierpe, from where you’ll have to transfer to a boat bound for Drake Bay.

Rates for a minivan ride from San Jose to Puerto Jimenez start from 55,120 CRC ($89). That makes it more expensive than a bus trip, but the minivans do offer a few advantages, it’s just up to you whether they’re worth the extra cost.

  1. Minivans shuttles are faster as minivans don’t make as many stops as the bus. You can complete the journey in around 7.5 hours, compared to a bus which can take up to 10 hours.
  2. They include free hotel pick-up and drop-off so you won’t have to worry about finding your way to and from bus stations.
  3. Minivan’s are generally safer, meaning you can be at ease with your belongings throughout the journey.

Super Shuttle and Easy Ride are two of the more trusted minivan operators for this route.

You’ll have to book them online at least a day before through their respective websites.

Minivan schedule from San Jose to Puerto Jimenez

Minivan OperatorScheduleDurationCosts
Super Shuttle04:30-12:00
14:00-21:30
7.5 hours55,120 CRC ($89)
Easy Ride04:00-11:30
14:00-21:30
7.5 hours55,120 CRC ($89)
Taxi

San Jose to Corcovado by Private Transfer via Puerto Jimenez


Duration: 6 hours
Cost: from 235,350 CRC ($380)

Are you travelling with family or friends? It might be better to just get your own private ride from San Jose to Corcovado, also via Puerto Jimenez.

We’ve found three reliable companies offering private transfers for this route: Osa Wild, Easy Ride, and Super Shuttle.

Rates start from 235,350 CRC ($380) for both Easy Ride (up to 4 persons) and Super Shuttle (up to 5 persons). You can book your private transfer through their own company websites.

If you’re with a bigger group, you can also travel with Osa Wild, a popular tour operator for Corcovado National Park. They offer a 10-seater minivan for 364,780 ($589). Osa Wild can be booked through BookAway, which is known for its outstanding customer service.

Book a Private Transfer with BookAway

Flight

San Jose to Corcovado by Flight via Puerto Jimenez


Duration: 1 hour 40 minutes
Cost: 103,485 CRC ($167)

For the flight option from San Jose to Corcovado National Park, you can choose to travel via Puerto Jimenez or Drake Bay.

Via Puerto Jimenez is more expensive, but from here you can be very flexible with how you wish to enter the park.

Step 1: San Jose City Centre to San Jose Airport by Bus

Duration: 40 minutes
Cost: 675 CRC ($1.10)

San Jose Airport is located some 15km northwest of San Jose city centre. To get there, you can take either a 40-minute bus or a 30-minute taxi.

The bus offers good value for money as it costs only 675 CRC ($1.10) per ticket. Buses are available all day from 04:00 to 23:00, with a 10-minute interval. They depart from TUASA Terminal in the city centre.

You won’t have a hard time finding the 2 companies operating on this route: TUASA (coloured red and white) and Station Wagon (coloured orange and yellow).

If your hotel is a bit far from the bus station, you can also go directly to the airport by taxi. You can hail a taxi from the street or thru the ride-hailing app Uber. Rates start from 15,280 CRC ($25).

PRO-TIP: Uber is still not entirely legal in Costa Rica. Many tourists have had great experience using it, but there have also been rare cases of Uber rides being stopped in the middle of the journey. It’s best to confirm with your hotel whether it’s safe to use it before booking a ride.

Step 2: San Jose to Puerto Jimenez by Flight

Duration: 50 minutes
Cost: 99,710 CRC ($161)

Sansa Regional operates daily flights from San Jose to Puerto Jimenez. You can expect at least 2 flights daily if you travel in the off-peak season and up to 5 flights during the high season (December to April).

Rates start from 99,710 CRC ($161) for the 50-minute flight. We highly recommend booking your tickets early as airfares can go well beyond $200 during the tourist season.

Check Flights with Skyscanner

Step 3: Puerto Jimenez Airport to Town Centre

Duration: 10 minutes
Cost: 3,100 CRC ($5)

Flights arrive at Puerto Jimenez Airport, which is located just on the eastern edge of the city centre. If you’re staying on a nearby resort, you can simply walk to your accommodation.

If your hotel is located in the heart of the city, you can take a 5 to 10-minute taxi for around 3,100 CRC ($5).

  Hotel

My favourite places to stay in Drake Bay


Las Caletas Lodge - Treating yourself

If you’re looking for a secluded escape from the world, then Las Caletas Lodge is your place. The only ways to get to this hotel is by boat from Drake Bay, or a walk along the jungle path.

Not to worry, both your breakfast and dinner are included in the price of the room. It’s practically impossible to leave without having released some of your stress as the lodge oozes peacefulness. It’s also just a few steps from the perfectly blue ocean.

  • Secluded location in the jungle
  • Breakfast and dinner included
  • Steps from the sea
  • Helpful and friendly staff

Double rooms start from $80 per night

Read More

 

Hotel Finca Maresia - Treating yourself

Hotel Finca Maresia is set slightly further back from the beach of Drake Bay. It’s surrounded by lush forest and greenery, where all you’ll be able to hear is the thriving wildlife.

There’s also an onsite bar and restaurant, so you won’t have to venture far for some delicious food or a refreshing drink. The cabin-style rooms with balconies, offer the perfect place to relax and admire the magnificent view.

  • Onsite restaurant and bar
  • Situated within the jungle
  • Breakfast included
  • Balconies with hammocks

Double rooms start from $80 per night

Read More

 

Hotel Jacamar - Mid-Range

Visiting Drake Bay and Corcovado is all about surrounding yourself in Costa Rica’s nature. Hotel Jacamar, boasts the perfect balance between nature and luxury. Their flourishing gardens make you feel like you’re in the jungle, but their large and clean rooms create a space of comfort.

The staff are extremely hospitable, helping to organise your trip to Drake Bay. It’s location also makes it great for exploring the town.

  • Large and luxurious rooms
  • Beautiful gardens
  • Great location
  • Beach pick-up from arrival by boat available

Double rooms between $50-$80 per night

Read More

 

Casita Happy Feet and Tours - Budget Friendly

Entering Casita Happy Feet, you’ll feel as if you’re being welcomed into Javier and his wife’s home. Javier has been a guide in Corcovado National Park for over 25 years now. Having him as your guide, with his enthusiasm, knowledge and experience, you’re guaranteed an incredible visit!

Every morning, even the early ones, you’ll awake to a delicious and freshly cooked breakfast, perfect for your day of adventures. The rooms are clean, authentic and homely.

  • The best guide for Corcovado National Park
  • Delicious breakfast included
  • Great location
  • Beach pick-up from arrival by boat available

Double rooms between $15-$50 per night

Read More

 

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