I'm practically positive it always makes a stop at the airport. If so the stop is no more than 50 yards from the terminal entrance (you'll know when to get out shortly after it makes a U-turn near the airport).
Just make sure to tell the driver you want to get off at the airport. Many of the buses do not automatically make a stop there, but will do so on request.
Thanks so much! We need to get to the airport by 12:30 pm. Is the 6:30 bus reliable about getting there by then?
The bus is scheduled to to take 5 hours to get to SJ. You can knock off about a half hour from that if you're getting off at the airport. That puts the travel time at around 4.5 hours or an airport ETA of 11AM. That leaves you with an 1.5 hour buffer. That is reasonably safe. NOTHING is absolutely guaranteed, but I think it would take a major accident blocking the PAH or perhaps a rock or mudslide on the road down from Monteverde to delay it THAT long and such things while not an everyday occurance are certainly not completely unheard of. Shorter delays are somewhat more common.
BTW, Raquel, excellent point about asking the bus driver to stop there. Why aren't you a Local Expert around here yet? You should be. I can't believe I didn't think of that myself. It partly because when I've taken the bus I've always been heading all the way into SJ for my last night and have never needed to stop at the airport, but there must have always been someone else on the bus who has. Still, asking the driver to stop there just to make sure is certainly the safer way to go.
Another BTW for all the people wondering about whether they can catch buses at the airport on their way OUT of SJ to places like Monteverde, Fortuna, Jaco, Quepos, etc. They may sometimes stop at the airport on the way out because of passenger requests, but if you're at the airport busstop just hoping to catch the bus, you're not yet a passenger so can't ask the driver the normal way and the normal route doesn't divert to the airport access road so you can't just flag them down either (unless you go out on the highway and then good luck picking out your bus from all the traffic whizzing by at that point - not recommended). And you probably can't count on one of the other passengers already on board asking for them to stop there either because how many people are going to take one of the long distance buses just to take the 30 minute drive to the airport when there are all the semi-local buses that go there expressly every 5 minutes. Like I've always said before getting OFF midroute is always simpler than getting ON partway along.
WHAT YOU MIGHT DO IF YOU WANT TO CATCH A BUS OUT AT THE AIRPORT is call the bus company ahead of time using one of the phone numbers provided on the list and ask. I'm not sure if they'd bother taking a chance that you'd be there if they've got a full load but I suppose it doesn't hurt to hear what they'd say. On some routes for some companies they might even regularly make a swing by the airport as a matter of course (being a passenger from SJ, I wouldn't have known if the occasional outbound stops at the airport was due to another passenger request or a bus driver attempt for one or two extra passengers). Spanish skills are probably very helpful since they're probably not as used to dealing with foreign visitor requests as the shuttle companies. Again I've never had to try this either, since I normally get into CR too late to catch the buses to whereever I'm planning to go the next day anyway, but the question has come up here a few times by others.
Thanks, Projilo and Raquel, for the prompt and thorough feedback. I have one last question. Do I need to make reservations for the public bus from MV to SJ? If so, how should I do it? Thanks again.
I doubt it, but as long as you're probably going to be in the MV area for a couple of days before you leave anyway, you might want to ask about it beforehand at Monteverde.info (located at theTreehouse Hotel) once you get into town. As far as I know the bus company doesn't have a formal office in town (and certainly not anything as formal as a terminal). The buses stop directly across from Monteverde.info near the town church.
Thanks again, Projilo. I thought that was the last question, but some of your earlier comments brought up another one.
When we first arrive in Costa Rica, we want to take the public bus from SJ to Sarapiqui. It sounds like it will be difficult to catch one from the airport to go there directly. Is it easy to get a bus from the airport to the terminal from where the bus to Sarapiqui leaves (Av 13 Calle Central Terminal del Caribe?), or should we just get a taxi to take us to the bus terminal?
Thanks in advance.
That's about 8 blocks east and another 8 blocks north (give or take). You COULD walk it. Believe it or not, I've walked further with a backpack downtown, but that was on a sunday morning when the streets were fairly empty and I had some extra time to kill before catching my bus. Normally, if you're packing (as I'm sure you will be), I'd recommend just "splurging" for a cab for the lousy buck it will cost you. After all, whats the big deal?
Duh, I left out the answer to the first part of your question. It is easy to catch a bus from the airport into town but it will NOT take you direct to the Caribe Terminal. Where it lets out is near the Coca Cola Terminal or Ave. 2 and Calle 12 (just north of the Merced Church). If there is another bus that will take you from there to Caribe, I don't know about it but an easy-to-catch cab will only cost you a buck.
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