Planning a Trip
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Getting There & Departing
By Plane -- Sansa (tel. 221-9414;
www.flysansa.com) flies to Quepos daily at 7:45, 8:50, and 11am,
and 12:50, 2:40, and 4:25pm from San José's Juan Santamaría
International Airport. The flight's duration is 30 minutes; the
fare is $44 each way.
Nature Air (tel. 220-3054; www.natureair.com)
flies to Quepos daily at 6, 9, and 11am, and 2:30 and 4pm from Tobías
Bolaños International Airport in Pavas. Flight duration is
30 minutes; the fare is $45 each way.
Both Sansa and Nature Air provide airport-transfer service coordinated
with their arriving flights. The service costs between $3 to $5
per person each way, depending on where exactly your hotel is located.
Speak to your airline's agent when you arrive to confirm your return
flight, and a pickup at your hotel for that day, if necessary. Taxis
occasionally meet incoming flights as well. Expect to be charged
between $8 and $12 per car for up to four people, depending on the
distance to your hotel and your bargaining abilities.
When you're ready to depart, Sansa (tel. 777-0683
in Quepos) has daily flights to San José leaving at 8:30,
9:30, and 11:45am, and 1:35, 3:25, and 5:10pm.
Nature Air flights leave for San José daily at 6:35, 10:50,
and 11:35am, and 3:10 and 4:40pm.
By Car -- From San José, the most popular
route is to take the narrow and winding old highway, which turns
off the Interamerican Highway just west of Alajuela near the town
of Atenas and joins the Costanera near Orotina. Just follow the
many signs to hotels in either Jacó or Manuel Antonio. When
you reach Jacó, it's a straight shot and another hour to
Also, now you can drive from San Jose to Quepos via the newly improved Tarrazu Quepos road which takes you to the lowlands among beautiful scenary.
You can also take the Interamerican Highway west to the Puntarenas
turnoff and head south on the Costanera, the coastal road through
Jacó. This is your best bet if heading to Manuel Antonio
from Puntarenas or any point north.
Finally, you could try the more rugged route beginning in Ciudad
Colón, a western suburb of San José, then heading
out to Puriscal, and joining the Costanera near Parrita. This is
the shortest route, but has some sections that are not paved and
others that are in rough shape. Nevertheless, it is often used by
locals, especially during the dry season. Four-wheel-drive vehicles
are recommended, but normal two-wheel-drive sedans can usually make
By Bus -- Express buses (tel. 223-5567) to Manuel
Antonio leave San José daily at 6am, noon, and 6 and 7pm
from the Coca-Cola bus terminal at Calle 16 between avenidas 1 and
3. Trip duration is 3 1/2 hours; the fare is $5. These buses go
all the way to the park entrance and will drop you off at any of
the hotels along the way.
Regular buses (tel. 223-5567) to Quepos leave San José daily
at 7 and 10am, and 2, 4, and 6pm. Trip duration is 4 hours; the
fare is $4.25. These buses stop in Quepos. From here, if you're
staying at one of the hotels on the road to Manuel Antonio, you
must take a local bus or taxi to your hotel.
Grayline (tel. 220-2126; www.graylinecostarica.com) has a daily
bus leaving San José for Quepos and Manuel Antonio at 8:30am;
fare, $21. Interbus (tel. 283-5573; www.costaricapass.com) has a
daily bus leaving San José for Quepos and Manuel Antonio
at 8am; fare, $25. Both companies will pick you up at most San José-area
Buses leave Puntarenas for Quepos daily at 5 and 11am, and 2:30
and 4:30pm. The ride takes 2 1/2 hours; the fare is $3.
Many of the buses for Quepos stop to unload and pick up passengers
in Playa de Jacó. If you're in Jacó heading toward
Manuel Antonio, you can try your luck at one of the covered bus
stops out on the Interamerican Highway.
From Quepos, buses leave for Manuel Antonio daily, roughly every
half hour, from 6am to 7pm, with one late bus at 10pm. The fare
is 35¢. The ride takes about 15 minutes.
When you're ready to depart, the Quepos bus station
(tel. 777-0101) is next to the market, which is 3 blocks east of
the water and 2 blocks north of the road to Manuel Antonio. Express
buses to San José leave daily at 6 and 9:30am, noon, and
3, 5, and 7pm. Local buses to San José (duration is 4 hr.)
leave at 5 and 8am, and 2 and 4pm.
In the busy winter months, tickets sell out well in advance, especially
on weekends; if you can, purchase your ticket several days in advance.
However, you must buy your Quepos-bound tickets in San José
and your San José return tickets in Quepos. If you're staying
in Manuel Antonio, you can buy your return ticket for a direct bus
in advance in Quepos and then wait along the road to be picked up.
There is no particular bus stop; just make sure you are out to flag
the bus down and give it time to stop -- you don't want to be standing
in a blind spot when the bus comes flying around some tight corner.
Buses for Puntarenas leave daily at 4:30, 7:30, and 10:30am, and
3pm. Any bus headed for San José or Puntarenas will let you
off in Playa de Jacó.
Quepos is a little port town at the mouth of the Boca Vieja Estuary.
After crossing the bridge into town, take the lower road (to the
left of the high road). In 4 blocks, turn left, and you'll be on
the road to Manuel Antonio. This road winds through town a bit before
starting over the hill to all the hotels and the national park.
A taxi from Quepos to Manuel Antonio (or any hotel
along the road toward the park) costs around $4. The return trip
from the park to your hotel should cost only 75¢ per person.
I know this system doesn't make much sense, but this is a fixed
price, so watch out for drivers who try to charge more. If the taxi
must leave the main road (for hotels like La Mariposa, El Parador,
and Makanda), the charge is a little higher. If you need to call
a taxi, dial tel. 777-1695 or 777-0425.
The bus between Quepos and Manuel Antonio takes
15 minutes each way, and runs roughly every half hour from 6am to
7pm daily, with one late bus leaving Quepos at 10pm and returning
from Manuel Antonio at 10:25pm. The buses, which leave from the
main bus terminal in Quepos, near the market, go all the way to
the National Park entrance before turning around and returning.
You can flag down these buses from any point on the side of the
road. The fare is 35¢.
You can also rent a car from Adobe (tel. 777-5130),
Alamo (tel. 777-3344), or Payless Rent-a-Car
(tel. 777-0115) for around $50 a day. All have offices in
downtown Quepos, but with advance notice, someone will
meet you at the airport with your car for no extra charge.
If you rent a car, never leave anything of value in it unless you
intend to stay within sight of the car at all times. Car break-ins
are commonplace here. There are now a couple of parking lots just
outside the park entrance, which cost around $3 for the whole day.
You should definitely keep your car in one of these while exploring
the park or soaking up sun on the beach. And while these lots do
offer a modicum of protection and safety, you should still not leave
anything of value exposed in the car. The trunk is probably safe.
Botica Quepos (tel. 777-0038) is the main pharmacy in town. It's
on the corner of the main street where you make the turn for Manuel
Antonio and is open daily from 7am to 8pm. For film, batteries,
and any urgent developing, try Todo Foto Quepos (tel. 777-1442).
The telephone number of the Quepos Hospital is tel. 777-0922; and
for the Rural Guard (local police), call tel. 777-0196.
There are a handful of Internet cafes around Quepos and along the
road to Manuel Antonio, and many hotels are providing this service
This info has been provided by Alto Quepos Costa Rica Real Estate