How to Get From
Santa Teresa to San Jose

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Overview Compare Minivan Taxi Bus Flight To Stay

San Jose is Costa Rica’s business and cultural capital. Located in the Central Valley, it’s a bustling urban landscape often neglected by travellers. But if you dig deeper, you might find that San Jose’s unique charm may be worth 1 or 2 days of your itinerary.

Check out the colonial buildings turned museums at Barrio Amon, try out the famed restaurants at Barrio Escalante, or party the night away in El Pueblo. You can even venture outside the city limits to visit Poas Volcano or La Paz Waterfall Gardens!

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

How to get from Santa Teresa to San Jose?

The driving distance from Santa Teresa to San Jose is 185km. The best way to get from Santa Teresa to San Jose without a car is by minivan or bus which takes around 6 hours and costs $14-$62.

5 ways to get from Santa Teresa to San Jose

Transport ModeDurationCostsAvailability
Minivan6 hours43,000 CRC ($62)Check Minivan Tickets
Private Transfer4.5 hours180,000 CRC ($261)Book a Private Transfer
Direct Bus6 hours10,000 CRC ($14)Read article for more info
Indirect Bus6 hours10,000 CRC ($14.60)Read article for more info
Flight2 hours 05 minutes113,000 CRC ($163)Check Flights

Note that most land transfers include a ferry crossing from Paquera to Puntarenas. The cost is already included in the bus/minivan/private transfer ticket.

A minivan from Santa Teresa to San Jose is the most convenient option as it is a direct transfer. You can choose from 2 types: one that goes directly overland and one that includes a combined shuttle and ferry/speedboat service. Travel time and costs depend on which option you choose.

Travelling with a group? A private transfer from Santa Teresa to San Jose is not much more expensive than a minivan when you travel with a group. You can get a 4-seater car from 180,000 CRC ($261).

The bus is a cheap way to get from Santa Teresa to San Jose, although not as convenient or reliable as a minivan. There are direct and indirect buses, but note that the direct ones are temporarily unavailable due to the pandemic. With the indirect route, you simply have to make a bus transfer in Cobano. Rates start from 10,000 CRC ($14) for the 6-hour journey.

Travelling this journey by flight will take just a little over 2 hours. It’s definitely the fastest, but it’s also very expensive with rates from 113,000 CRC ($163). Santa Teresa doesn’t have its own airport so you’ll first have to travel by land to Tambor Airport, and then take a flight from there to San Jose.

If you prefer to fly, consider including a carbon compensation fee to reduce your impact on the environment.

Itinerary from Santa Teresa to San Jose

Santa Teresa to San Jose by Minivan

Duration: 6 hours
Cost: 43,000 CRC ($62)
Duration: 6 hours
Cost: 43,000 CRC ($62)

There are 2 types of minivan transfers available from Santa Teresa to San Jose.

Zuma Tours and Montezuma Expeditions offer a combined land and water transfer. Much like the bus, you will take a shuttle from Santa Teresa to Paquera Port. Here, you will transfer to a ferry (Montezuma Expeditions) or a speedboat (Zuma Tours) to cross the strait to Puntarenas. And then, you will go back to your shuttle, which will take you to San Jose.

Interbus, on the other hand, offers a completely overland journey. You are to travel about 175km northeast going to Limonal, transfer to another minivan, and then continue by land southeast for 140km to San Jose.

And then there’s Tropical Tours Shuttle, which you can take if you’re heading to San Jose Airport.

Tickets cost around 43,000 CRC ($62). Since trips are limited, we highly recommend booking your tickets early online for guaranteed seats. We’ve already searched for the best rates on the web. You can find them in the table below.

Minivan schedule from Santa Teresa to San Jose

Minivan OperatorScheduleCosts
Interbus06:45-12:4538,701.50 CRC ($62)
Buy Your Van Tickets
Zuma Tours07:30-11:4566,000 CRC ($96)
Buy Your Van Tickets
Montezuma Expeditions06:30-12:30
14:30-20:30
35,000 CRC ($50)
Buy Your Van Tickets
Tropical Tours Shuttle
(to San Jose Airport)
07:30-12:30
14:45-19:45
28,000 CRC ($40)
Buy Your Van Tickets

Montezuma Expeditions and Tropical Tours Shuttle can only be booked on their own company websites.

As for Interbus and Zuma Tours, we recommend booking them through BookAway. Interbus tickets are cheaper here. Zuma Tours, on the other hand, is cheaper on its own website, but it requires a minimum of 2 passengers to book. With BookAway, you can book solo!

Santa Teresa to San Jose by Private Transfer

Duration: 4.5 hours
Cost: from 180,000 CRC ($261)
Duration: 4.5 hours
Cost: from 180,000 CRC ($261)

Do you prefer a private ride from Santa Teresa to San Jose? BookAway offers various vehicles depending on the size of your group.

Rates start from 180,000 CRC ($261) for a 4-seater car. If you’re travelling with more people, there’s also a 14-seater minibus that costs 285,000 CRC ($413).

As with the bus option, your private vehicle will drive you up to Paquera Port. You will then take a car ferry bound for Puntarenas. From here, you will continue by land to San Jose.

Travel time with a private transfer is around 4.5 hours.

Book a Private Transfer with BookAway

Santa Teresa to San Jose by Bus + Ferry

Duration: 6 hours
Cost: 10,000 CRC ($14)
Duration: 6 hours
Cost: 10,000 CRC ($14)

When travelling by bus from Santa Teresa to San Jose, it’s best to take a direct one for convenience. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, bus operator Transportes Cobano has temporarily halted its direct trips from Santa Teresa to San Jose.

There’s an alternate option though: an indirect bus trip via Cobano. This is a town located some 15km northeast of Santa Teresa and is the main transport hub in the Nicoya Peninsula.

Whichever option is available on your travel date, you can find a detailed guide below.

PRO-tip: Bigger bags go to the luggage compartment under the bus. Make sure to get your luggage ticket from the driver before hopping in. For the smaller bags with your valuable, we recommend putting them in front of you (between your legs) as much as possible. It might not be safe to put them on the overhead bin.

Option 1: Direct Bus from Santa Teresa to San Jose

Duration: 6 hours
Cost: 10,000 CRC ($14)
Duration: 6 hours
Cost: 10,000 CRC ($14)

Transportes Cobano operates the sole direct bus trip from Santa Teresa to San Jose. This bus departs at 06:00 in the morning. There is no main bus stop in town. You’ll have to hail the bus from the road. Ask your hotel for assistance to make sure you’re on the right side of the street!

The bus will drive you up to Paquera Port, where you are to get on the ferry on foot. The ferry will then cross the bay to Puntarenas Port in around 1.5 hours.

Once back on land, go back to your bus. If you’re heading to San Jose Airport, you will arrive in another 1.5 hours. To San Jose city centre, it’s about 2 hours.

Total travel time is around 6 hours from Santa Teresa to Cobano Bus Stop in Paso de la Vaca, San Jose.

A bus ticket costs 10,000 CRC ($14). This already includes your ferry ticket from Paquera to Puntarenas. You can just pay directly to the driver when you board the bus.

Option 2: Indirect Bus from Santa Teresa to San Jose

Duration: 6 hours
Cost: 10,000 CRC ($14.60)
Duration: 6 hours
Cost: 10,000 CRC ($14.60)

With the indirect bus, you’ll have to take 2 buses: one from Santa Teresa to Cobano and another one from Cobano to San Jose. It’s an easy transfer, but you’ll have to depart really early!

Step 1: Santa Teresa to Cobano by Bus

Duration: 1 hour
Cost: 1,000 CRC ($1.60)
Duration: 1 hour
Cost: 1,000 CRC ($1.60)

There are several daily bus trips available from Santa Teresa to Cobano throughout the day. But if you want to make it to the only connecting bus, you’ll have to get on the very first trip that departs at 05:55 in the morning.

The bus will pass through the main road from Santa Teresa’s far end. You can simply hail it from the street. A ticket costs 1,000 CRC ($1.60) and you can buy one from the driver.

The bus arrives at Cobano Bus Stop in Cobano after about an hour.

Step 2: Cobano to San Jose by Bus

Duration: 5 hours
Cost: 9,000 CRC ($13)
Duration: 5 hours
Cost: 9,000 CRC ($13)

Transportes Cobano operates the bus from Cobano to San Jose. This bus departs at 07:00 from the Cobano Bus Stop. You won’t have much time so just quickly make your transfer.

You can get a ticket for 9,000 CRC ($13). Also here, you can just pay directly to the driver.

As with the direct bus from Santa Teresa to San Jose, this bus will take you by land to Paquera Port, where you can transfer to a ferry bound for Puntarenas. And then, you are to go back to your bus as it travels by land again to San Jose Airport and then San Jose city centre.

Combined travel time is around 5 hours.

Santa Teresa to San Jose by Flight

Duration: 2hrs 05m
Cost: 113,000 CRC ($163)
Duration: 2hrs 05m
Cost: 113,000 CRC ($163)

There is no airport in Santa Teresa. If you want to take a flight from Santa Teresa to San Jose, you’ll have to go to the nearest airport in Tambor.

Step 1: Santa Teresa to Tambor Airport by Taxi

Duration: 45 minutes
Cost: 41,000 CRC ($60)
Duration: 45 minutes
Cost: 41,000 CRC ($60)

The taxi is the most convenient way to travel the 25km from Santa Teresa to Tambor Airport. It’s the only direct option and you can leave anytime you want. The only downside is that it’s very expensive. With rates from 41,000 CRC ($60), it’s already the same price as a minivan ride from Santa Teresa to San Jose.

Alternatively, you can take 2 buses: one from Santa Teresa to Cobano and another one from Cobano to Tambor Airport. Combined rates shouldn’t be more than 3,000 CRC ($5), but note that buses only have several departures throughout the day. You’ll have to time them right to make sure you arrive at the airport in time for your flight!

Step 2: Tambor to San Jose by Flight

Duration: 30 minutes
Cost: 70,000 CRC ($102)
Duration: 30 minutes
Cost: 70,000 CRC ($102)

Sansa Regional offers 4 daily flights from Tambor to San Jose. These depart at 07:30, 11:20, 16:35 and 16:40.

Airfares start from 70,000 CRC ($102). The flight arrives at San Jose Airport after around 30 minutes.

Check Flights with Skyscanner

Step 3: San Jose Airport to San Jose City Centre by Bus

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

From San Jose Airport, you’ll then have to travel 17km southeast to reach the city centre. You have 2 ways to do that: a 40-minute bus that costs 1,000 CRC ($1.10) or a 30-minute taxi with rates from 17,000 CRC ($25).

To take the bus, you’ll have to hail them from the main road. They’re available every 10 minutes from 04:00 to 23:00. TUASA (coloured red and white) and Station Wagon (coloured orange and yellow) are the 2 bus companies you can choose from. They both arrive at TUASA Terminal in San Jose city centre.

You can also take a taxi for around 17,000 CRC ($25). We recommend hailing one from the main road (just a short walk from the airport arrivals hall) as there is an additional fee for airport taxis. Or you can also try getting a ride via Uber for around the same price.

PRO-Tip: Although widely used, Uber is still not 100% “legal” in Costa Rica. There have been rare accounts of tourists being stopped in the middle of the journey and asked to transfer to a taxi. If you’re not willing to take that risk, might as well take a regular taxi.

  Hotel

Our favourite places to stay in San Jose


Barceló San José - Treating yourself

Barceló hotel blows most other city hotels out of the water. It has amenities usually only found in resorts and for extortionate prices. Here you’ll find an outdoor pool, spa, gym, 3 squash courts and 2 tennis courts. Plus they offer a free airport shuttle.

If you don’t fancy venturing out of the hotel to get some food, no worries! There’s 3 restaurants and a bar on site offering a variety of different cuisines. The rooms are spacious and clean, offering comfortable beds for a good night's sleep.

  • Outdoor swimming pool and spa
  • Tennis courts
  • Free airport shuttle
  • 3 onsite restaurants and a bar

Double rooms start from $80 per night

Read More

 

Isla Verde Hotel - Mid-Range

Isla Verde Hotel is a real gem within the urban jungle that is San Jose. They have so many extras that you wouldn’t expect for the price - a gym, free shuttle to the airport and a great breakfast every morning.

The hotel is ultra-modern, boasting some beautifully designed rooms and seating areas. All of which are very clean and comfortable. If you don’t feel like venturing too far for food, their onsite restaurant selling Cantonese food is highly reviewed!

  • Free airport shuttle
  • Breakfast included
  • Onsite gym
  • Modern and clean rooms

Double rooms between $50-$80 per night

Read More

 

Eco Stay Hostel - Budget Friendly

Eco Stay Hostel can start to feel like home after a while as it has a shared living room, communal kitchen, a lovely garden area, and even barbeque facilities. You can also spend your evenings having a friendly competition of snooker or darts.

The friendly hosts also make you feel at home. Making sure that your room is clean and comfortable, whilst offering their help in any way that they can. The rooms are basic, but nicely decorated and have everything you could need whilst in San Jose.

  • Shared living room
  • Communal kitchen
  • Good location
  • Friendly hosts

Double rooms between $15-$50 per night

Read More

 

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