How to Get From
San Jose to Manuel Antonio

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Overview Compare Minivan Taxi Bus Flight To Stay

What to expect from Manuel Antonio?

Manuel Antonio is a popular national park and beach town in Costa Rica’s Puntarenas Province. Its diverse rainforest is home to a great variety of flora and fauna, particularly the white-faced capuchin monkeys and three-toed sloth.

But that’s not it. Manuel Antonio’s main draw is actually its beaches – white sand, turquoise waters – the perfect ending after an easy hike through its jungle.

Playa Manuel Antonio is the most beautiful, but can also be the most crowded. The national park is closed on Mondays, so make sure to schedule your visit accordingly!

How to get from San José to Manuel Antonio

The distance from San José to Manuel Antonio is 170km (105 miles). You can travel this distance from San José to Manuel Antonio by a shared minivan (3-4.5 hours), a private transfer (2.5-3 hours), by bus (3hr 45m), and by flight with transfers (1hr 15m). Ticket costs range from ($8) – ($144).

4 ways to get from San Jose to Manuel Antonio (Sorted on popularity)

Transport ModeDurationCostsAvailability
Minivan3-4.5 hours34,000 CRC ($49)Check Minivan Tickets
Private Transfer2.5-3 hours100,000 CRC ($144)Book a Private Transfer
Bus3hr 45m6,000 CRC ($8)No Online Tickets
Flight1hr 15m61,000 CRC ($88.10)Check Flights

The minivan is by far the most comfortable way to travel from San Jose to Manuel Antonio. Expect an air-conditioned ride that picks you up from your hotel in San Jose (or directly at San Jose Airport) and drops you off at your hotel in Manuel Antonio. The journey takes 3-4.5 hours with tickets from 34,000 CRC ($49).

Travelling with a group? Private transfers are also available for groups of 4 to 14 persons. Rates start from 100,000 CRC ($144) for a 4-seater car.

The bus is a popular option with locals as tickets cost only 6,000 CRC ($8). Keep in mind that buses are not always safe as there are some reports of luggage being stolen during the ride. Travel time by bus is around 3 hours 45 minutes or more, depending on traffic.

You can also take a 30-minute flight from San Jose to Quepos. Although this might look quicker than a van at first sight, we don’t think it is. When you include the time to get from/to the airport and account for the check in time, the journey can take around 1.5 hours. Combined costs for this option start from 61,000 CRC ($88.10), which is twice the cost of a shared minivan.

New to Manuel Antonio? Our compact Manuel Antonio guide shows you the best areas to stay, restaurants you don’t want to miss and many more tips for your visit to Manuel Antonio!

Itinerary from San Jose to Manuel Antonio

San Jose to Manuel Antonio by Minivan

Duration: 3-4.5 hours
Cost: 34,000 CRC ($49)
Duration: 3-4.5 hours
Cost: 34,000 CRC ($49)

Several companies used to offer minivan rides from San Jose to Manuel Antonio.

Both EasryRide and Interbus provide a comfy air-conditioned van and include free hotel pick-up and drop-off. With EasyRide, you can also ask to be picked up from San Jose Airport.

Ticket prices from San Jose to Manuel Antonio start from 34,000 CRC ($49). Travel time can take 3-4.5 hours.

Minivan schedule from San Jose to Manuel Antonio

Minivan OperatorScheduleCosts
(free airport pick-up)
34,000 CRC ($49)
Buy Your Van Tickets
Interbus07:00-11:3037,000 CRC ($54)
Buy Your Van Tickets

Minivan tickets sell out fast, so it’s best to book your tickets online beforehand.

San Jose to Manuel Antonio by Private Transfer

Duration: 2.5-3 hours
Cost: from 100,000 CRC ($144)
Duration: 2.5-3 hours
Cost: from 100,000 CRC ($144)

Rates for a private transfer from San Jose to Manuel Antonio depend on how luxurious you want your ride to be. With this option, travel time is shorter, around 2.5-3 hours.

You can already hire your private 4-person taxi for 100,000 CRC ($144). Thus, if you are travelling with 3 other people, a private transfer can already be cheaper than a shared minivan.

Travelling with a larger group? Private minivans that can accommodate 6, 10, and 14 people are also available. Rates start at 123,000 CRC ($178).

The private transfer will pick you up from your hotel in San Jose and drop you off at your hotel in Manuel Antonio. There are also minivans that depart from San Jose Airport.

Book a Private Minivan/Taxi with BookAway

San Jose to Manuel Antonio by Bus

Duration: 3hr 45m
Cost: 5,285 CRC ($7.50)
Duration: 3hr 45m
Cost: 5,285 CRC ($7.50)

An option that is popular with locals is to take the bus from Tracopa Bus Terminal in San Jose.

Before, buses were available only up to Quepos, the town next to Manuel Antonio. Now though, you can take a direct bus to Manuel Antonio, so you would not need any additional ride.

Tracopa is the only bus plying the San Jose to Manuel Antonio route, and they have a bus trip almost every hour from 06:00 to 19:30.

Tickets start from 5,285 CRC ($7.50). Travel time takes around 3 hours 45 minutes.

PRO-TIP: Do be careful with your luggage! If you’re going to put them in the luggage compartment, make sure they’re already inside before you board the bus. And don’t forget to get your luggage ticket from the driver! As for smaller bags with your valuables, it’s safer to put them in front of you (between your legs) instead of the overhead bin.

Bus schedule from San Jose to Manuel Antonio

Bus OperatorScheduleDurationCosts
Tracopa9x depatures a day from
06:00 to 19:30
3 hours 45 minutes6,000 CRC ($8)

You can check the full schedule on the Tracopa website. However, note that there is no online booking available and tickets are available only at the bus terminal. We recommend arriving at the bus station around 30 minutes before your preferred bus departure.

Alternative: San Jose to Quepos by Bus

If you choose to stay in Quepos rather than in Manuel Antonio or somehow miss the direct buses, you can also take a bus bound for Quepos.

For this route, you can choose between a regular or a direct bus. The regular bus makes several stops along the way and takes different routes, making the travel time around 5.5 hours. On the other hand, a direct bus takes only Route 27 and is faster at 3.5 hours.

The bus ride costs around 4,080 CRC ($5.50).

Bus OperatorScheduleDurationCosts
6x departures a day from
05:30 to 17:00
5.5 hours6,000 CRC ($8)
8x departures a day from
06:00 to 19:30
3.5 hours6,000 CRC ($8)

Buses will drop you off at Quepos Bus Terminal, around 4km north of Manuel Antonio city centre. From the bus terminal, you can take either a 25-minute bus for 1,000 CRC ($1) or a 15-minute taxi with rates from 4,000 CRC ($6).

San Jose to Manuel Antonio by Flight

Duration: 1hr 15m
Cost: 61,000 CRC ($88.10)
Duration: 1hr 15m
Cost: 61,000 CRC ($88.10)

There are no direct flights from San Jose to Manuel Antonio. If you want to travel by plane, you’ll have to take a flight to Quepos and take another ride to Manuel Antonio.

The flight from San Jose to Quepos takes only 30 minutes. However, including the journey from/to the airport, it will take close 1.5 hours, excluding the waiting time at the airport.

All together, we think it’s a lot easier to book a direct van that transfers you door to door and is much cheaper than taking a flight.

In case you don’t mind the extra transfers to/from the airport, here is how to travel by plane from San Jose to Manuel Antonio:

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

Duration: 30-40 minutes
Cost: 1,000 CRC ($1.10)
Duration: 30-40 minutes
Cost: 1,000 CRC ($1.10)

From San Jose city centre, you can get to San Jose Airport via a 40-minute bus or a 30-minute taxi.

Taxis are available with rates from 17,000 CRC ($25). You can hail them from the street or via the ride-hailing app Uber.

PRO-Tip: Uber is still not 100% accepted in Costa Rica. Many tourists have had great experience using it, but there have been a few cases of Uber rides being stopped in the middle of the journey. We recommend asking advice from your hotel on whether it’s safe to use it before booking a ride.

As an alternative, taking the bus is very cheap, costing only 1,000 CRC ($1.10) per ticket.

There are 2 bus operators available at TUASA Terminal. TUASA (coloured red and white) and Station Wagon (coloured orange and yellow) buses depart every 10 minutes from 04:00 to 23:00.

Step 2: San Jose to Quepos by Flight

Duration: 30 minutes
Cost: 53,000 CRC ($77)
Duration: 30 minutes
Cost: 53,000 CRC ($77)

Flights from San Jose Airport to Quepos Airport take only 30 minutes.

There are 4 Sansa Regional flights daily that depart at 07:50, 09:10, 12:00 and 15:10. Flight fares start from 53,000 CRC ($77).

Green Airways also offers some flights, but they are more expensive at 86,000 CRC ($124).

Check Flights with Skyscanner

Step 3: Quepos to Manuel Antonio

Duration: 15 minutes
Cost: 7,000 CRC ($10)
Duration: 15 minutes
Cost: 7,000 CRC ($10)

From Quepos Airport, you’ll then have to travel around 10km south to Manuel Antonio.

Taking a taxi is the most convenient option. The taxi ride will take 15 minutes and cost around 7,000 CRC ($10).

Buses are also available from Quepos to Manuel Antonio, but they depart from the town centre. If you’re taking this option, you’ll have to take a bus from the airport to Quepos town and another bus to Manuel Antonio.

Although the combined bus rate costs only around 2,000 CRC ($3), travel time may take more than an hour.


Our favourite places to stay in Manuel Antonio

Millenium Manuel Antonio - Treating yourself

You can’t really ask for a better location in Manuel Antonio than this one. Millennium Hotel is only 100 metres from the national park! That also means that you’re super close to the beach too.

The hotel has its own outdoor swimming pool, perfect for a refreshing swim after walking around the national park. The rooms are spacious and offer everything you could need during your stay. Breakfast is also offered for free in a nearby restaurant.

  • The best location
  • Outdoor swimming pool
  • Breakfast included
  • Friendly and helpful staff

Double rooms start from $80 per night

Read More


Tico Tico Villas - Treating yourself

Tico Tico Villas tick all of the boxes. Swimming pool, modern and beautifully designed rooms and a cosy terrace area surrounded by nature. All your needs will be fulfilled here.

Especially thanks to the friendly and helpful staff who will make your stay perfect. You can even enjoy a BBQ as there are facilities available in the hotel./p>

  • Outdoor swimming pool
  • BBQ facilities
  • Amazing staff
  • Close to Manuel Antonio National Park

Double rooms start from $80 per night

Read More


Peace of Paradise - Mid-Range

Peace of Paradise feels exactly that. All you have to do to see wildlife from here is sit on your balcony and wait. Before long, you may be able to see monkeys, toucans, birds and maybe a sloth passing by.

The rooms are large and spacious, offering their own kitchen facilities. You can simply make yourself a coffee or cook a full-blown meal. The hotel has a great location in Manuel Antonio though. Not far from bars and restaurants which may be more tempting than cooking your own meals.

  • Abundant wildlife around the hotel
  • Great location
  • Private balconies
  • Private kitchen facilities

Double rooms between $50-$80 per night

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Hostel Plinio - Budget Friendly

Whether you’re travelling solo, as a couple or in a group, Hostel Plinio will suit your needs. There are both dorms and private rooms available, depending on what you’re looking for.

With the outdoor swimming pool and onsite Mexican restaurant, the place feels more like a mini-resort than a hostel. The breakfast in the morning will set you up perfectly for the day ahead, especially the delicious gallo pinto. And don’t forget to try out their Taco’s!

  • Onsite Mexican restaurant
  • Outdoor swimming pool
  • Shared kitchen
  • Breakfast included

Double rooms between $15-$50 per night

Read More


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