Your other option is to drive. First of all, make sure you rent a four wheel drive vehicle. Most of the roads to Monteverde are dirt, and there are many potholes along the way. If it is the rainy season, the drive to Monteverde can be especially tedious, and you will not be able to get to the cloud reserve at all unless you are driving a 4×4 vehicle. From San Jose, you take Highway 1 north and then take the Sardinal exit. It is about 2 kms till find the soccer field and then you will find the only exit at your left hand heading to Guacimal. Part of the route going past Sardinal and up the mountain is paved, making driving conditions easier. You will passing through Guacimal, and then you will reach Santa Elena. This trip will take about three and a half hours, and you will drive 105 miles.
The public buses in Costa Rica are actually efficient, safe, and incredibly inexpensive. A one way ticket to Monteverde from San Jose costs about $7.50. You can even bring you surfboard on the bus for an extra $2.00. The seats recline and are actually pretty comfortable. However, sometimes the buses can be crowded. You cannot buy tickets for the bus in advance; you have to physically buy them at the bus station. Buses leave for Monteverde twice daily; one at 6:30 am, and the other at 2:30 pm. The trip takes about four and a half hours, and the bus does stop for about 15 minutes at a restaurant in the city Sarmientos, which is a little over halfway to Monteverde.
Bus Schedule: San Jose-Monteverde-San Jose departure at 06:30 am and 14:30pm Ticket prices: $7.50 per person.
If you do not want to have to drive yourself, but do not want to get on a crowded bus, a semi-private shuttle is a good idea. Check the shuttle service to Monteverde; Transportation in Costa Rica. The shuttle is incredibly convenient; it will pick you up and drop you off anywhere, eliminating any need for taxi service. The price is $45 per person. The fare for children is usually 50% off of the adult price. The shuttles leave from San Jose downtown, San Jose Airport, and mostly all destinations as Jaco Beach, Manuel Antonio, Liberia Airport, Guanacaste beaches and others every day at 8:00 am and 2:00 pm.
Private transportation from San Jose Airport: USD$165.00 - Maximum of 5 people.
Private transportation from Liberia Airport: USD$185.00 - Maximum of 5 people.
Driving From Liberia Airport To Monteverde
Driving From Arenal Volcano To Monteverde
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