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How To Go From San Jose To Manuel Antonio – Bus, Shuttle


Modified: December 27, 2023

by Yalonda Fabian



Costa Rica is a tropical paradise known for its lush rainforests, stunning beaches, and diverse wildlife. One of the most popular destinations in the country is Manuel Antonio, a small town located on the Pacific coast. Boasting pristine beaches, a vibrant national park, and a laid-back atmosphere, Manuel Antonio attracts thousands of visitors each year.


Getting to Manuel Antonio from the capital city of San Jose is a breeze, thanks to various transportation options available. Whether you prefer convenience or affordability, there is a mode of transport that suits your needs. In this article, we will explore two popular options: taking a public bus or opting for a shared shuttle.


Each method has its own advantages and considerations, so it’s important to weigh your options before making a decision. We will discuss the pros and cons of both options, and provide you with all the information you need to make an informed choice. So let’s dive in and discover how to get from San Jose to Manuel Antonio!


Option 1: Public Bus from San Jose to Manuel Antonio

If you’re looking for an affordable and adventurous way to travel from San Jose to Manuel Antonio, taking a public bus is a great option. The public bus system in Costa Rica is well-developed and reliable, making it a popular choice among budget-conscious travelers.


The first step is to make your way to the Coca Cola bus station in downtown San Jose. From there, you can catch a bus heading towards Quepos, the town adjacent to Manuel Antonio. The journey takes approximately 3.5 to 4 hours, depending on traffic conditions and the specific bus you choose.


The buses typically depart every hour or so, providing flexibility in your travel schedule. However, it’s advisable to check the timetable in advance to ensure you don’t miss the last bus of the day.


Once you arrive in Quepos, you can take a short taxi or walk to Manuel Antonio, which is about 7 kilometers away. Taxis are readily available at the Quepos bus station and offer a convenient way to reach your final destination.


One of the advantages of taking a public bus is the cost. A one-way ticket from San Jose to Manuel Antonio costs around 4,000 CRC (approximately $7 USD), making it significantly cheaper than other transportation options.


However, it’s important to note that public buses can get crowded, especially during peak travel times. The lack of personal space and potential delays can be a downside for some travelers. Additionally, if you are carrying large amounts of luggage, it might be less convenient to navigate the bus and find space for your bags.


Overall, taking a public bus from San Jose to Manuel Antonio is an economical and practical option for those who don’t mind a bit of adventure. The scenic journey allows you to soak in the beautiful landscapes of Costa Rica, and the low cost makes it an attractive choice for budget travelers.


Option 2: Shared Shuttle from San Jose to Manuel Antonio

If you prefer a more convenient and comfortable option for your journey from San Jose to Manuel Antonio, a shared shuttle is an excellent choice. Shared shuttles offer door-to-door transportation, eliminating the hassle of navigating public transportation and ensuring a hassle-free travel experience.


There are several companies that provide shared shuttle services between San Jose and Manuel Antonio. These shuttles operate on fixed schedules and offer pickups from major hotels in San Jose or at designated meeting points, making it easy for you to start your journey.


The journey on a shared shuttle typically takes around 3 to 3.5 hours, depending on traffic conditions. Along the way, you can sit back, relax, and enjoy the scenic views of the Costa Rican countryside.


One of the benefits of choosing a shared shuttle is the comfort it offers. The shuttles are air-conditioned, equipped with ample legroom, and often have Wi-Fi on board, allowing you to stay connected during your journey.


In terms of price, shared shuttles are more expensive compared to public buses. The cost per person can range from 25 to 50 USD, depending on the company and the level of service provided. While it may be pricier, the convenience and comfort make it a worthwhile investment for those who prioritize a hassle-free travel experience.


Booking a shared shuttle is relatively easy, as most companies have online reservation systems. It’s recommended to book your shuttle in advance, especially during peak travel seasons, to ensure availability.


Another advantage of shared shuttles is that they provide flexibility in terms of pickup and drop-off locations. If you are staying at a specific hotel or Airbnb in San Jose or Manuel Antonio, you can request a pickup or drop-off at your accommodation, saving you the hassle of arranging additional transportation.


Overall, taking a shared shuttle from San Jose to Manuel Antonio offers convenience, comfort, and peace of mind. It is an excellent option for travelers who value a hassle-free travel experience and are willing to pay a bit more for the added comfort and convenience.



When it comes to traveling from San Jose to Manuel Antonio, you have two great options to choose from: taking a public bus or opting for a shared shuttle. Both options have their own advantages and considerations, so it’s important to evaluate your priorities and preferences before making a decision.


If you’re looking for an affordable and adventurous journey, the public bus is a fantastic choice. It’s a cost-effective way to travel, allowing you to experience the beauty of Costa Rica’s landscapes along the way. However, keep in mind that public buses can get crowded and delays may occur, so this option is best suited for those who don’t mind a bit of adventure and flexibility in their travel plans.


On the other hand, if you prefer a more convenient and comfortable experience, a shared shuttle is the way to go. With door-to-door service, air-conditioning, and often Wi-Fi on board, shared shuttles offer a hassle-free and enjoyable travel experience. Although the cost is higher compared to the public bus, the added comfort and convenience make it worth the investment.


Whichever option you choose, rest assured that your journey from San Jose to Manuel Antonio will be filled with beautiful scenery and unforgettable moments. From the vibrant rainforests to the pristine beaches, Manuel Antonio is a destination that will captivate your heart.


If time allows, consider spending a few days exploring the Manuel Antonio National Park, home to a wealth of wildlife and stunning hiking trails. Don’t forget to take a dip in the turquoise waters of the Pacific Ocean and indulge in some delicious local cuisine.


Whether you choose the public bus or a shared shuttle, the journey from San Jose to Manuel Antonio will be a memorable part of your Costa Rican adventure. So pack your bags, embrace the Pura Vida mindset, and get ready to soak in the natural beauty of this incredible destination!