San Jose to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca

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Overview Compare Bus Minivan Taxi To Stay

Facing the Caribbean Sea, Puerto Viejo de Talamanca is our favourite destination on Costa Rica’s eastern coast. Its laidback vibe enchants surfing and yoga enthusiasts alike. Imagine amazing waves, turquoise waters, fine beaches, palm trees, and reggae music in the background!

But it’s not just the natural gifts that attract us to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca. It’s the people and their beautiful culture. You’ll find a good mix of indigenous people and Afro-Caribbean residents, living in harmony with the many different nationalities that have decided to settle down here.

TIP: Note that there are two places called Puerto Viejo in Costa Rica. These are Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui (north of San Jose) and Puerto Viejo de Talamanca (southeast of San Jose). Make sure you are going to the correct Puerto Viejo when booking and boarding your ride!

How to get from San Jose to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca?

The driving distance from San Jose to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca is 215km. The drive takes between 4 and 5 hours and costs $10-$230. If you don’t drive a car, the bus is the cheapest option to get from San Jose to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca.

Alternatively, you can travel by shared shuttle van or private taxi/car.

3 ways to get from San Jose to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca

Transport ModeDurationCostsAvailability
Bus4.5-5 hours6,015 CRC ($10)Read article for more info
Minivan4-5 hours31,650 CRC ($51)Check Minivan Tickets
Private Transfer4 hours142,735 CRC ($230)Book a Private Transfer

Travelling on a budget? The bus is the cheapest option at 6,015 CRC ($10). They are also quite comfortable, you just have to be really careful of your belongings as petty theft is very common. The bus journey from San Jose to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca takes around 4.5-5 hours.

For a door-to-door yet shared transfer, you can take a minivan for 31,650 CRC ($51). More expensive, but more convenient and without the hassle of finding a taxi from and to the bus terminals.

For group travellers, we recommend taking a private transfer from San Jose to Puerto Viejo, You can choose from different vehicles depending on how big your group is. Fares start from 142,735 CRC ($230) for a car that can fit 4 persons.

New to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca? Check out this compact Puerto Viejo de Talamanca guide to show you the best areas to stay, restaurants you don’t want to miss and many more tips for your visit to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca!

Itinerary from San Jose to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca

Bus icon

San Jose to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca by Bus

Duration: 4.5 5 hours
Cost: 6,015 CRC ($10)

There are 7 daily trips available for the San Jose to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca route. They are all operated by Autotransportes MEPE.

Below are their regular bus schedules, but note that some trips may still not be available due to the recent pandemic.

Bus OperatorScheduleCosts
Autotransportes MEPE06:00-10:30
6,015 CRC ($10)

If you want to confirm their availability beforehand, you can call their San Jose office through this number: +506 2257-8129.

A ticket costs 6,015 CRC ($10) and you can only buy one at their ticket office in Terminal Atlantico Norte, San Jose city centre. They are not available to buy online. There is always a chance of tickets selling out so if you can, drop by the terminal a few days early to purchase your ticket.

Total travel time takes around 4.5-5 hours. The buses make one stop at MEPE Terminal in Limon around 3 hours into the journey for food and a bathroom break. They park at the MEPE Bus Stop in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca city centre.

PRO-Tip: Don’t lose sight of your belongings! Keep them secured even as you buy your bus tickets and until they are safely at the luggage compartment. Get your luggage ticket before boarding the bus. During the journey, put your smaller bags (with valuables) in front of you or between your legs, not on the overhead bin.

minivan icon

San Jose to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca by Minivan

Duration: 4-5 hours
Cost: 31,650 CRC ($51)

A minivan is a perfect option if you prefer a ride including pick you up from your hotel in San Jose and drop you off at your destination in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca. You can get a shared minivan ride for 31,650 CRC ($51).

What we like about this option is that it saves you the hassle of finding your way to and from bus terminals. They’re also relatively safer, particularly from petty thieves. You can just sit back and relax until you reach your destination.

Travel time with a minivan from San Jose to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca takes around 4-5 hours. It’s a bit longer than the bus because of the hotel pick-ups and drop-offs.

You can choose from 4 trusted companies: Interbus, Gray Line, Caribe Shuttle, and Tropical Tours Shuttle.

If you’re coming from San Jose Airport, take Caribe as they offer free pick-up from there as well. You can see their schedules below.

Minivan Schedule from San Jose to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca

Minivan OperatorScheduleCosts
31,650 CRC ($51)
Buy Your Van Tickets
Caribe Shuttle05:30-10:30
34,130 CRC ($55)
Buy Your Van Tickets
Gray Line08:00-13:0034,130 CRC ($55)
Buy Your Van Tickets
Tropical Tours Shuttle07:20-12:20
32,890 CRC ($53)
Buy Your Van Tickets

We recommend booking your tickets on BookAway. This trusted platform offers the cheapest rates for this route, sometimes even cheaper than if you book directly on the minivan’s company website. If you prefer to book with Tropical Tours, you’ll have to book through their own page.


San Jose to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca by Private Transfer

Duration: 4 hours
Cost: from 142,735 CRC ($230)

Are you travelling with a group? If you take a private transfer from San Jose to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, you might even save on costs (as compared to taking a shared minivan).

For example, a 7-seater minivan from BookAway costs 154,530 CRC ($249). If you divide that among 7 passengers, then that’s only 22,075 CRC ($35.50) per person.

Prices vary depending on how big a ride you want or how many you are in the group. Rates start from 142,735 CRC ($230) for a 4-seater car.

Book a Private Transfer with BookAway

If you’re looking for a cheaper private transfer, then you can also try renting a taxi. You should be able to get a 4-seater ride for around 124,120 CRC ($200). We recommend asking your hotel for help in finding a trustworthy driver. And remember to agree on the rate before getting on board!


Our favourite places to stay in Puerto Viejo

Black Bamboo B&B - Treating yourself

If you are looking for a well designed hotel, including a swimming pool, Black Bamboo B&B is the place to book. The whole hotel feels tropical due to its rustic bamboo design. The rooms are tranquil escapes, designed to be bright and comfortable.

The owners welcome you like you are part of their family and help you to organise anything you need during your stay in Puerto Viejo. It’s also situated in a great location, close to the town and Playa Negra.

  • Close to the beach and town
  • Beautifully designed
  • Outdoor swimming pool
  • Shared kitchen

Double rooms start from $80 per night

Read More


Colina Secreta - Mid-Range

Offering both glamping and villas, no matter which option you chose, you’ll be surrounded by comfort and luxury at Colina Secreta. It’s clear that every aspect of the accommodation has been carefully thought about. It’s absolutely stunning and so unique!

The owners are incredibly friendly and will do anything to make your stay even better. They’ve put so much love and care into their hotel, which you will see in the homemade breakfast every morning.

  • Luxury villas and glamping
  • Homemade breakfast included
  • Beautiful design
  • Friendly and helpful hosts

Double rooms between $50-$80 per night

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Kalunai Hostel - Budget Friendly

Whether you’re looking for a dorm bed or a private room, Kalunai is a great choice. All of the rooms are colourful and clean, with some of them having their own kitchen facilities.

This place really has a communal feel due to the number of places to hang out and lots of hammocks. It’s location is great, not far from lots of restaurants, bars and most importantly, the beach

  • Sociable atmosphere
  • Great location
  • Lots of places to relax
  • Bicycles available for rent

Double rooms between $15-$50 per night

Read More


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