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Difference between Coca Cola and Atlantico Norte terminals

Winnipeg, Canada
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Difference between Coca Cola and Atlantico Norte terminals

We're looking to take a bus from San Jose to La Fortuna and have seen two different bus terminals mentioned. One going from Coca Cola terminal and one going from Atlantico Norte. Does anyone know the difference between these two routes? We're having a hard time figuring it out.

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San Jose
San Jose
San Jose Metro, Costa Rica
Tampa, FL
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1. Re: Difference between Coca Cola and Atlantico Norte terminals

Coca Cola is not really a terminal per se but an area where the Coca Cola bottling plant USED to be located and where now a bunch of different terminals and bus stops are generally clustered. The bus for Fortuna actually takes off from the Atlantico Norte Terminal which is on Calle 12 between Avenida 7 and 9 and which is about 3-4 blocks north of what is commonly thought of as the heart of "Coca Cola". I hope that helps.

Winnipeg, Canada
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2. Re: Difference between Coca Cola and Atlantico Norte terminals

That helps a ton! Thanks for the info!

north of lake erie
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3. Re: Difference between Coca Cola and Atlantico Norte terminals

Greetings: Here is some info about down town San Jose (The Coca Cola area). Such identifying names are used since San Jose has no street signs or house numbers, Directions are always "200m north, 700m wes, 30m south of the Church of our Lady of Perpetual tears, or from where the big guanacaste tree used to be, or where the Coca Cola plant used to be before it burned down in 1886 lol. This entire area is not "Portage and Main" but a run down, decrepid, dirty, etc etc area. All the theives, pick-pockets, and scoundrels roam this area. Calcutta has nothing on San Jose. I do not know where you will be staying in San Jose, but take a taxi directly to the Atlantico Norte Terminal (which could be just a collection of crumbling buildings). Ask around if the La Fortuna bus actually leaves from this area the week you are there. (The buses seem to be changing their departure locations ("terminals") monthly. "TAXIS" ...there are many pirate taxis in San Jose. The official taxis is maroony-red in color, and has SJO as part of their licence plate number and also a yellow triangle (not hand painted) on the door. The drivers rarley speak english. (Very few locals speak english). I could go on and on but..........if you need any other info, maybe I could help.....mfcmfcmfc@yahoo.com

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San Jose
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4. Re: Difference between Coca Cola and Atlantico Norte terminals

Have you really been to Calcutta? I somehow don't think so. If you had I think you'd find that statement to be a ridiculous exaggeration.

This part of downtown SJ certainly won't win any awards on the scenic register but nor would the parts of town that most city bus terminals are located in the US. I've been to the downtown Greyhound station in my own hometown after dark and that is not an area I would want to hang out in either.

It is certainly very dangerous to walk around the Coca Cola area after dark, but then most buses don't leave after dark and if you''re arriving from somewhere else after dark and you have bags, you're probably going to want to take one of the many cabs that are always waiting for arriving buses at those hours anyway. During the day, robberies are not really the problem, but pickpocketing type thefts might be. I always keep my stuff secure (zippered pockets, money belts etc.) when in any even semi-dodgey area and keep my distance as much as possible to avoid being "bumped". Still, depending on where one is coming from, with a bunch of heavy bags they'd probably be taking a cab to the bus stop anyway.

VERY IMPORTANT. I'd also advise folks to watch out for their stuff INSIDE the terminals. Gringos are obvious targets and it is easy to put down a bag while you're waiting and then not pay enough attention to it. Again, I'd give this advice for US bus terminals too, but in CR as relatively wealthy gringos we are especially attractive targets.

Scurry didn't indicate HERE where he was coming from or what time of day they were traveling. It turns out, from reading his other posts (and PM's), that they're arriving at SJO in the morning and will be taking the bus into town. I wouldn't try to roll an American Tourister along the sidewalks in that area (all the cracks and holes would probably destroy the wheels on the bag anyway) or try to carry heavy hand luggage from where the airport bus lets out to the Atlantico Terminal. But, at that time of day, a couple of backpackers should be able to manage those 4-5 blocks reasonably safely if they didn't want to spring the buck for a cab.

BTW, the Atlantico Norte Terminal IS an actual terminal, albeit a small one. As far as I know, the Fortuna buses have been coming and going from there for years. I'd be surprised if that has changed but if it has the new bus stop is probably in the same immediate area. There is also an ACTUAL Coca Cola "Terminal", or at least a place for buses with an enclosed yard, ticket window, waiting room etc. that is located just to the north across Avenida 2 from the Merced Church, but it is hardly used and most of the buses that take off from that area leave from simple bus stops (or crumbling buildings") in the streets nearby.

When I first started using buses in CR that is where the bus from the airport used to let off. Now they have moved across the street to the southern side of Merced Park. But I think that has more to do with their changing the routes. The buses used to come in along Paseo Colon, which was great since the ride was nearly as quick as the airport taxis that take the same route. Now, I'm guessing to relieve traffic congestion, they've redirected buses several blocks further south along an avenida with special bus lanes in it (which do nothing to speed up the buses) and that has probably added a good 5-10 extra minutes to the ride.

Anyway, I don't want to make it sound like undertaking this sort of urban adventure is without its risks, but it is certainly not as dodgey as mfc seemed to have made it out. Always use common sense and you'll probably be fine.

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Juan Santamaria Intl Airport
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Isla Colon
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Winnipeg, Canada
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5. Re: Difference between Coca Cola and Atlantico Norte terminals

Prolijo you are correct, we arrive in the airport at 9:30am and are undecided if we should take the bus or cab to Atlantico Norte. We will each have two large backpacks with us.

We are planning on taking the public bus throughout our trip across Costa Rica. Will we encounter these same safety issues while taking buses in other parts of Costa Rica or is it mostly an issue in San Jose?

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Costa Rica
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6. Re: Difference between Coca Cola and Atlantico Norte terminals

Mostly just San Jose.

Fortuna doesn't have a terminal at all. Just a bus stop in front of the city park and that's the way it is in most of the smaller towns. Sta Elena near Monteverde doesn't have a city park so the bus stops in center of town in front of the church. Neither is anything what I'd call dangerous in any way. But there are no hard and fast rules on what each town will have.

Some of the larger towns such as Jaco, Cartago, and even Heredia don't have any bus terminal either, though I might be wrong about some of those. OTOH, some of the smaller towns that you'd think wouldn't have terminals actually do (if you can call them that) such as little Parrita on the way to Quepos. Quepos has more what I'd call a bus yard and is pretty scummy looking (not a place I'd hang around after dark). And some of the larger towns serve as transportation hubs and actually have quite respectable terminals.

I suppose those hub towns with larger terminals could attract the same sorts of bad guys that you might find at SJ bus areas, but being smaller towns I'd be surprised if they're anywhere near as "dangerous". Examples of those include Ciudad Quesada (aka San Carlos), which you'll be passing through on your way to Fortuna and San Isidro del General(aka Perez Zeledon), which you may pass through if you head to southern destinations such as Chirripo, Dominical or even Golfito if you don't mind a really long ride. Neither of those places are places you'd want to spend the night unless you missed the last bus out to whereever you're going. At the time you're going, you won't even need to get off the bus at San Carlos. If you head south through San Isidro, depending on where you're heading you might have to switch buses or even change bus terminals. And if you get in too late you might have to spend the night.

I wouldn't worry too much about bus terminal safety per se, but I'd exercise the same sort of care with your personal belongings whereever you go. Better safe than sorry. Besides, by making it a habit, it sort of becomes second nature and you don't really have to think about it the same way. It just becomes something you do.

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7. Re: Difference between Coca Cola and Atlantico Norte terminals

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