San Jose to Montezuma

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How to get from San Jose to Montezuma?

Montezuma is a picturesque beach town on the southeast coast of the Nicoya Peninsula. Although the roads leading to it have improved big time in the past decade, some rough roads remain. Thanks to these, Montezuma is able to retain its laidback and bohemian feel.

It has plenty to offer for backpackers and outdoor enthusiasts – beaches for both swimming (Playa Montezuma) and surfing (Playa Grande), waterfalls (3 of them!), a wide range of cafes with international cuisine, yoga classes, among many others. If you’re looking for a serious hike, then you can also visit the nearby Cabo Blanco Natural Reserve.

4 ways to get from San Jose to Montezuma

Transport ModeDurationCostsAvailability
Bus5.5 hours$16.50 (11000 CRC)Read article for more info
Minivan5 hours$40 (28000 CRC)Check Minivan Tickets
Private Transfer4.5 hours$276 (190000 CRC)Book a Private Transfer
Flight2 hours$154 (106000 CRC)Check Flights

You have 4 options when travelling the 170km distance from San Jose to Montezuma: a 5.5-hour bus, a 5-hour shared minivan, a 4.5-hour private transfer, or a 2-hour flight (including transfers). Rates range between $16.50 (11000 CRC) and $276 (190000 CRC).

Note that all land transfers mentioned in this post include a ferry ride from Puntarenas Port to Paquera Port. This transfer is normally taken care of by your bus/minivan/private transfer.

The bus is a nice way to travel like a local from San Jose to Montezuma. It’s the cheapest option with fares from $16.50 (11000 CRC) and still comfortable enough for the 5.5-hour journey. The only tiny disadvantage of the bus is that it makes more stops compared to the other options.

Minivans are not as spacious as the bus, but are also very comfortable. They come with the advantage that they already include free hotel pick-up and drop-off. So you won’t have to worry about finding your way to and from bus terminals.

For private transfers, you can find several vehicle options on BookAway depending on how big your group is. Rates start from $276 (190000 CRC) for a 4-seater car. You can get from San Jose to Montezuma in 4.5 hours.

There is no direct flight from San Jose to Montezuma. But you can fly to Tambor, which is 35 minutes away from Montezuma by taxi. Total travel time is around 2 hours and combined fares start from $154 (106000 CRC).

When you decide to fly, consider including a carbon compensation fee to help reduce your impact on the environment. Especially short-haul flights have a relatively high negative effect on the environment compared to land transfers.

Itinerary from San Jose to Montezuma

San Jose to Montezuma by Bus + Ferry

Duration: 5.5 hours
Cost: $13 (9000 CRC)
Duration: 5.5 hours
Cost: $13 (9000 CRC)

Transportes Cobano offers one daily bus trip from San Jose to Montezuma. Their bus is quite comfortable and spacious, so we prefer this over the minivan for this long ride.

Expect to pay around $13 (9000 CRC), which already includes the tickets for both the bus and the ferry crossing to the Nicoya Peninsula. That’s if you buy your ticket at the bus terminal.

If you want to purchase them online beforehand, which we recommend when travelling on a weekend or during the busy season (December to April), then you can do so through La Terminal. Just note that they charge a $3 booking fee.

The bus departs from the Cobano Bus Stop in Paso de la Vaca at 06:00 in the morning. About 20 minutes into the journey, it makes a short stop at San Jose Airport to pick up passengers. And then, it will travel some 100km west (1.5 hours) to Puntarenas Ferry Port.

Here, you are to board a ferry bound for Paquera. You’ll have to get off the bus for this. Take your valuables with you, but you can leave your luggage on the bus. The ferry docks in Paquera after about 1.5 hours.

Go back to your bus. It should be another hour bus ride to Montezuma Beach.

Total travel time is around 5.5 hours.

PRO-tip: Be mindful of your luggage! Bigger ones will be stored on the compartment below. Make sure they’re inside before boarding the bus and don’t forget to get your luggage ticket from the driver. As for smaller bags, put them where you can see them as much as possible.

San Jose to Montezuma by Minivan + Ferry

Duration: 5 hours
Cost: $40 (28000 CRC)
Duration: 5 hours
Cost: $40 (28000 CRC)

The minivan is a good alternative if you’d rather be picked up and dropped off at your hotels. You can take a shared minivan from $40 (28000 CRC). That rate also already includes the ferry ride from Puntarenas to Paquera.

You can choose from three minivan operators: Tropical Tours Shuttle, Montezuma Expeditions and Zuma Tours.

Minivan Schedule

Minivan OperatorScheduleCosts
Tropical Tours Shuttle
(from San Jose city centre)
06:45-11:45
14:30-19:30
$40 (28000 CRC)
Buy Your Van Tickets
Zuma Tours
(from San Jose city centre)
07:00-10:15$79 (54000 CRC)
Buy Your Van Tickets
Montezuma Expeditions
(from San Jose Airport)
06:00-10:30$50 (34000 CRC)
Buy Your Van Tickets
Tropical Tours Shuttle
(from San Jose Airport)
07:30-11:45
15:15-19:30
$40 (28000 CRC)
Buy Your Van Tickets

If you would notice, Zuma Tours can complete the journey faster. That’s because they offer a combined shuttle and speedboat ride, as opposed to the minivan and ferry by Montezuma Expeditions and Tropical Tours.

For guaranteed seats, we highly recommend booking online at least a few days prior to your trip. Rates are the same whether you book them onsite, via the Tropical Tours website or online via BookAway.

San Jose to Montezuma by Private Transfer

Duration: 4.5 hours
Cost: from $276 (190000 CRC)
Duration: 4.5 hours
Cost: from $276 (190000 CRC)

When taking a private transfer from San Jose to Montezuma, you’ll still have to take the ferry. But at least you’ll enjoy the luxury and comfort of a private ride when travelling by land.

Combined private transfer and ferry rates start from $276 (190000 CRC). This is good for up to 4 persons. If you’re travelling with a bigger group, you can get a 7-seater minivan for $357 (246000 CRC).

Book a Private Transfer with BookAway

San Jose to Montezuma by Flight

Duration: 2 hours
Cost: $154 (106000 CRC)
Duration: 2 hours
Cost: $154 (106000 CRC)

To travel by flight from San Jose to Montezuma, you’ll have to fly to Tambor. This is a town located 15km north of Montezuma.

See below for a step-by-step guide.

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

Duration: 40 minutes
Cost: $1.10 (1000 CRC)
Duration: 40 minutes
Cost: $1.10 (1000 CRC)

First, you’ll have to get to San Jose Airport, which you can find 17km northwest of the city centre. That’s a 40-minute ride by bus or a 30-minute journey by taxi.

There are 2 bus companies you can choose from: the red and white TUASA and the yellow and orange Station Wagon. They depart from TUASA Terminal every 10 minutes from 04:00 to 23:00. A ticket costs around $1.10 (1000 CRC).

Taxis, on the other hand, can be hailed on any main road. Or you can get one through Uber. Rates start from $25 (17000 CRC) either way.

PRO-Tip: Uber is still not 100% welcome in Costa Rica. If you’re planning to use it, we recommend asking advice from your hotel on whether it’s safe to do so. You don’t want to risk getting stopped in the middle of the journey when you’re in a hurry to get to the airport!

Step 2: San Jose to Tambor by Flight

Duration: 30 minutes
Cost: $103 (71000 CRC)
Duration: 30 minutes
Cost: $103 (71000 CRC)

A flight from San Jose to Tambor takes only 30 minutes. Sansa Regional offers 3 daily flights. These depart at 06:50, 10:40, and 15:55.

Airfares start from $103 (71000 CRC).

Check Flights with Skyscanner

Step 3: Tambor to Montezuma

Duration: 35 minutes
Cost: $50 (34000 CRC)
Duration: 35 minutes
Cost: $50 (34000 CRC)

From Tambor Airport, it’s a 35-minute taxi ride to Montezuma. That costs around $50 (34000 CRC). You shouldn’t have a hard time finding a taxi at the airport, but you can also ask your hotel beforehand if they can already find a one for you.

There’s also an option to take the bus, but there is no bus that operates directly from Tambor to Montezuma. All buses make a short stop at Cobano – just to drop off and pick up passengers – but’s it’s out of the way. So travel time by bus can take at least 1 hour.

Buses are available only every 2 hours or so. There’s really no specific schedule. They start their journey from Paquera and you can hail them on the main road outside the airport. A ticket costs around $2.50 (2000 CRC).

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