How to Get From
San Jose to Manuel Antonio

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What to expect when visiting 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 170 km (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 $9.50 (5,785 CRC)$125 (76,000 CRC).

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

Transport ModeDurationCostsAvailability
Minivan3-4.5 hours$40 (24,000 CRC)Check Minivan Tickets
Private Transfer2.5-3 hours$125 (76,000 CRC)Check Private Transfers
Bus3hr 45m$9.50 (5,785 CRC)Read article for more info
Flight1hr 15m$96.10 (58,000 CRC)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 $40 (24,000 CRC).

Travelling in a group? Private transfers are also available for groups of 4 to 14 people. Rates start from $125 (76,000 CRC) for a minivan.

The bus is a popular option with locals as tickets cost only $9.50 (5,785 CRC). 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 and 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 $96.10 (58,000 CRC), which is twice the cost of a shared minivan.

TIP: If you decide to travel by plane, please consider including a carbon compensation fee to help reduce your impact on the environment.

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!

Where to stay in Manuel Antonio?

Still looking for accommodation? Don’t forget to check out our favourite places to stay in Manuel Antonio at the bottom of this page.

Itinerary from San Jose to Manuel Antonio

San Jose to Manuel Antonio by Minivan

Duration: 3-4.5 hours
Cost: $40 (24,000 CRC)
Duration: 3-4.5 hours
Cost: $40 (24,000 CRC)

There are several minivans and shuttle buses on the San Jose to Manual route, including Paradise Shuttle, RideCR, EasyRide, and Interbus. This option is a door-to-door transfer, so you won’t need any additional rides at all.

Prices start from $40 (24,000 CRC). Travel time can take 3-4.5 hours.

Departure and arrival station

You will be picked up from your hotel in San Jose. Paradise Shuttle also offers airport pick-up if you’re coming from San Jose Airport.

The minivan will drop you off at your hotel in Manuel Antonio.

Minivan schedules from San Jose to Manuel Antonio

Minivan OperatorScheduleCosts
Paradise Shuttle08:00-11:45
14:30-18:15
$40 (24,000 CRC)
Check Minivan Tickets
Paradise Shuttle
(from airport)
08:45-11:45
15:15-18:15
$40 (24,000 CRC)
Check Minivan Tickets
RideCR08:30-13:00
14:30-19:00
$40 (24,000 CRC)
Check Minivan Tickets
EasyRide04:00-07:00
09:00-12:00
14:00-17:00
$50 (30,000 CRC)
Check Minivan Tickets
Interbus07:00-11:30$60 (36,000 CRC)
Check Minivan 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: $125 (76,000 CRC)
Duration: 2.5-3 hours
Cost: $125 (76,000 CRC)

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 minivan for $125 (76,000 CRC), which can seat up to 10 passengers. That’s about $12.5 (8,000 CRC) per person, which is much cheaper than a shared minivan.

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

Check Private Transfers with BookAway

San Jose to Manuel Antonio by Bus

Duration: 3hr 45m
Cost: $9.50 (5,785 CRC)
Duration: 3hr 45m
Cost: $9.50 (5,785 CRC)

Taking the bus is an option that is popular with locals.

Buses used to be only up to Quepos, the town next to Manuel Antonio. Starting 2022, though, you can now conveniently take a direct bus to Manuel Antonio.

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 $8.50 (5,285 CRC). Travel time takes almost 4 hours.

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. Don’t forget to also 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.

Departure and arrival station

The bus departs from Tracopa Bus Terminal in San Jose city centre. This bus station is just a few minutes walk from Plaza Gonzalez Viquez train station.

The last stop is Tracopa Bus Stop in Manual Antonio, located near the beach.

Bus schedule from San Jose to Manuel Antonio

Bus OperatorScheduleDurationCosts
Tracopa9x departures a day from
06:00 to 19:30
3 hours 45 minutes$9.50 (5,785 CRC)

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. Buses are also available at the bus terminal in San Jose.

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 $7 (4,465 CRC).

Bus OperatorScheduleDurationCosts
Tracopa
(Regular)
6x departures a day from
07:00 to 17:00
5.5 hours$7 (4,465 CRC)
Tracopa
(Direct)
8x departures a day from
06:00 to 19:30
3.5 hours$7 (4,465 CRC)

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

San Jose to Manuel Antonio by Flight

Duration: 1hr 15m
Cost: $96.10 (58,000 CRC)
Duration: 1hr 15m
Cost: $96.10 (58,000 CRC)

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 and to the airport, it will take close to 1.5 hours plus the waiting and check-in time at the airport.

Altogether, we think it’s a lot easier to book a direct van that transfers you door to door for a lower price than the flight.

In case you don’t mind the extra transfers to and 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: $1.10 (1,000 CRC)
Duration: 30-40 minutes
Cost: $1.10 (1,000 CRC)

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 $25 (15,000 CRC). You can hail them from the street or book 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 cheap, costing only $1.10 (1,000 CRC) per ticket.

There are two 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: $85 (51,000 CRC)
Duration: 30 minutes
Cost: $85 (51,000 CRC)

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

You can choose between Sansa Regional and Costa Rica Green Airways, which both offer multiple flights daily.

Sansa Regional offers cheaper flights for $85 (51,000 CRC), while Green Airways are more expensive at $125 (76,000 CRC).

Check Flights with Skyscanner

Step 3: Quepos to Manuel Antonio

Duration: 15 minutes
Cost: $10 (6,000 CRC)
Duration: 15 minutes
Cost: $10 (6,000 CRC)

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

Taking a taxi is the most convenient option. The taxi ride will take 15 minutes and cost around $10 (6,000 CRC).

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 $3 (2,000 CRC), 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

Read More

 

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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