Ok, backpackers. This one is for you. As I was preparing for my trip to Central America, I decided to begin in Costa Rica and fly into Juan Santamaria Airport (SJO) near the capital, San Jose.
Assuming you don’t have a car, you have 2 options:
If you’re balling on a budget like myself, I’m sure you’ve opted to take the bus.
1. Exit the airport – don’t forget your colones!
2. Walk around the car garage. The bus stop is exactly on the other side of the garage.
3. The front of the bus should tell the destination. Look for ones that say San Jose. We took a red TAUSA bus that cost 500 colones. Just ask the driver if you’re unsure if that bus is heading to San Jose.
4. Now you wait. We arrived to SJO around 5 pm, and the traffic was crazy! It took us about an hour and a half to arrive to the Parada Alajuela in San Jose. When we arrived around 7 pm, it was dark, yet the streets were still bustling.
(Note: If arriving to SJO late, consider the safety of a taxi especially if you are travelling alone. San Jose is not known for being particularly safe. That being said, I’ve arrived after dark to the city twice now and had no issues getting around safely.)
5. Arrive at Parada Alajuela off Avenida 2 and in between Calle 14 and 12.
If you’re like us, you didn’t come to Costa Rica to hang out in San Jose. I looked on Hostelworld.com for a cheap hostel for the night near Parada Alajuela. I found Andea Hostel which is off Avenida 2 between Calles 28 and 30, about a ten minute walk from the bus stop. It was a nothing special yet adequate hostel for $13 / night per person. In the morning we woke early, took a cab to a different bus station, and made our way to Uvita.
Just like that, we had made it into SJO and onto our next destination.
Did you find this helpful? Did you experience something different than posted above? Please help out your fellow backpackers and post about it in the comments!