For the duration of our time in Costa Rica we made extensive use of the bus system. Just about every place you would want to visit is connect by a public bus. They are cheap, regular but can take a long time to get from place to place. Also many bus routes will go to and from San Jose which can be a pain as you can spent a lot of time backtracking.
We travelled from Manuel Antonio on the central west coast to Montezuma which is located at the bottom of the Nicoya Peninsula. Generally getting between the two places can either be quick but expensive via private shuttles or slow and cheap using the local network.
Bus, Bus, Taxi, Ferry, Bus…
As we are time rich we opted to to take the slow road to Montezuma. The journey involved 3 buses, 1 taxi and a ferry with a total trip time of 8 hours. Despite the time and distance involved the total cost was 5040 colonies or about 10USD each – Bargain!
The journey involved taking a local bus from Manuel Antonio to Quepos which was about a 10 minute ride. From Quepos we got on a bus to Puntarenas which was about a 2 and half hour ride. We have been told that this bus can take anywhere up to 4 hours so be prepared. We also made a reservation for this bus so we knew we would get on board. There is generally a bus every two hours between Quepos-Jaco-Puntarenas so it is worth booking during the peak season.
Once in Puntarenas the bus will drop you at the bus terminal which is located to the east end of the town. The ferry to Paquera (Nicoya Peninsula) leaves from the west end of town. The bus terminal and ferry terminal are about 1.5kms apart which can be a bit of a hike in the heat and with your luggage. We were advised that a local bus runs down Central Avenue however we failed to find this a opted for a taxi. The taxi was 1000 colonies and we were advised not to pay any more than that by a local.
The ferry to the Peninsula takes about 70 minutes with tickets available for purchase from a bakery across from the terminal. Each ferry that arrives at Paquera is met with a bus to Montezuma until about 5.30. The bus can get very busy so be sure to be quick of the ferry if you want to get a seat. The bus takes around 2 hours and stops a lot.
After 8 hours we finally arrived in sunny Montezuma with our hostel being a short walk from the bus stop.
- If you can book your bus between Quepos – Puntarenas in advance to get a seat, it can be a long ride.
- If taking a taxi between Puntarenas Bus Terminal and Ferry Terminal ensure that you do not pay more than 1500 colonies but ideally 1000 colonies.
- Ensure that you get off the ferry quickly if you can at Paquera so that you can grab a seat on the bus to Montezuma.
Hopefully you can trip plan better than us and avoid long travel days like this. It was worth it as Montezuma is beautiful.
Want to know more about what to do on the Nicoya Peninsula? Read more about it here!