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Monteverde - Costa Rica

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and Travel Information

Transport to Monteverde.
Travel Options and Road Conditions

"Do you know the way to San Jose?" That's all right, we'll assume you're already there and want to get out of the city as fast as possible (believe us, you really do!) and we're sure you'll want to visit the famous Cloud Forests of Monteverde Costa Rica.  Click on the following options: Private Transport, shared shuttles and taxi-boat-taxi from ArenalOr read further about road conditions, driving directions on how to get to Monteverde and more.




Contact us and check out our booking service we can get you from anywhere in Costa Rica to


There are limited travel options as far as getting up to Monteverde, the one you choose will

depend on your budget, time-frame and the type of traveler you are. Of course, one of the

most talked about subjects in Monteverde is the road conditions, We are happy to report that

every year they improve more and more! The road is now completely paved from the Pan-

American Highway all the way to Guacimal (Guacimal is about a 4o minutes drive from

Monteverde and this is still a dirt road). In January 2013 there are plans to pave the rest of the

road from Guacimal to Santa Elena.

Monteverde Costa Rica is the area comprised of the towns of Santa Elena, Cerro Plano and

'Monteverde'. Learn more about Monteverde and see photos of Sant Elena town (click here).


                                    Video of Monteverde Road


Within Monteverde, the road is paved from the latter parts of Los Llanos all the way to within a few kms to the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve.

In Los Llanos you will find the new gas station (which opened in July 2011)

Here are some transport choices and check out our searchable transportation database as well

as our collection of maps.

Glossary of Places mentioned or a little lesson in geography

Public Bus


Collective Transfers (shuttles)

Private Transfers

Traveling on from Monteverde

Taxi-boat-taxi service between Monteverde / Arenal Volcano

Glossary of Places Costa Rica:

Costa Rica is a small country with a lot of nooks and cranny's.  Major cities and hubs for

transportation are San Jose, Puntarenas, Cuidad Quesada, Liberia, Limon and San Isidro - That

is to say that these cities are the originating points for most of the countries bus routes and

thus the principal road ways.  Below are some of the places mentioned in discussing transport

to Monteverde Costa Rica.

Sardinal. One of the turning from the Pan American Highway to Monteverde, is through Sardinal. You will see the big gas station. Turn here and within 5 minutes you will get to the tiny village of Sardinal, which then leads to Guacimal.

Guacimal The roads coming from the Pan American Highway via Lagartos and Sardinal become

one about half-way up the mountain and Guacimal is a village near the juncture of these two

roads. The road is now completely paved from the Pan American Highway all the way to


La Irma is the name of the turn off to Las Juntas.  "La Irma" is the name of the service station

found at this intersection and is an acknowledged stop for buses.  From here you can connect

with buses headed about anywhere.  Good for reaching places across the Tempesque bridge

(now called La Amistad Bridge) like Samara Beach and Nosara.

Las Juntas or Juntas de Abangares is a small town set about 8 Km off the Pan-American

Highway.  From this town there is a picuturesque route to Monteverde. Although,if you are

diving it is recommened to go the big gas station called Rancho Grande on the Pan-American

Highway a bit further south of La Irma and take the Sardinal route to Monteverde (as this is

paved to Guacimal).

Lagartos is the exit on the Pan American that the public buses use to take to Monteverde.  This

turn off is located just before the Lagartos River and bridge if your heading towards the north.

Although as explained above, if you are diving it is recommened to go the big gas station called

Rancho Grande on the Panamerican Highway a bit further south of La Irma and Lagartos and

take the Sardinal route to Monteverde (as this is paved to Guacimal).

Liberia is a city in the North of Costa Rica with an International airport.  It is central in routes

heading to the northern part of the Nicoya Peninsula. You can get to beaches in less than 2

hours. Monteverde is about 3 hours from Liberia Airport.

Monteverde is a mountain town in the Costa Rica's cloud forests and is made up of three

village; Monteverde, Santa Elena and in the middle, Cerro Plano.  Check out our Monteverde


Puntarenas is a port town known more for its myriad of smells than for its beaches.  Ferries to

Montezuma leave from here and there are frequent buses to San Jose.  Puntarenas is a good

size city for Costa Rica and is a good hub for bus travel.

Santa Elena is the commercial and "downtown" of Monteverde. See photos of Santa Elena

Public Bus to Monteverde

There are public buses to Monteverde from San Jose, Puntarenas, Las Juntas and Tilaran. 

Rates average about $4-5.  Routes are well established and very functional for getting around

cheaply.  Buses pick up people along the way and can sometimes be crowded.  On a few routes

you can buy your tickets in advance at the station.  There is no way to buy tickets unless you're

physically at the station.


San Jose to Monteverde

Buses depart twice daily from  from "La Parada (bus station) of San Carlos" area of San Jose. 

Times are 6:30 am and 2:30 pm.  Buses to Tilaran and La Fortuna., Arenal leave from this same

depot.  The ride takes at least 5 hours.  The bus makes a 15 minute stop at a restaurant along

the Pan American Highway a little more than halfway of your journey.


Puntarenas to Monteverde  

Departs once a day at 2:15 pm.  This bus leaves from the bus stop on the beach - not the

station of Puntarenas.  Wait across the street from the station, there are a couple of roofed

shelters with benches and people waiting - just ask around.  Takes about 3 1/2 hours.

Puntarenas to Monteverde (via Las Juntas) 

This one leave Puntarenas at approx 1:30 pm (times change - so check!) across the street from

the bus station on the bus stop along the beach side and goes to Monteverde via the old

mining town of Las Juntas de Abangares.  This route is not as direct as above. This bus is

practical for anyone coming from the beaches in the north or Liberia since it can be caught from

the turn off at the Pan American Highway which goes to Las Juntas.  This turn off is called "La



Tilaran to Monteverde 

If you find yourself in Tilaran you can take a bus at 1:00 pm to Monteverde.  Duration of a little

over 3 hours.  This would be primarily used if you are coming from La Fortuna and didn't take

our taxi-boat-taxi shortcut.

Driving to from San Jose to Monteverde 

(and driving to Monteverde from other places in Costa Rica) 

If you plan to rent a car you should get a 4x4 vehicle, not only for the traction but for the

clearance as well - you don't want to return the car minus the front end as a result of scraping

along the "roads" in Monteverde.  First off, you need to understand that Costa Rica's only

complete north-south route is the Pan American Highway, also called route number one.  This

road enters Costa Rica from Nicaragua and runs south on the pacific slope of the country,

passes though San Jose, and continues on to Panama.  If your heading from San Jose to any

place north of Puntarenas (Guanacaste and beaches on Nicoya for example) you will follow the

Pan American. 

Those coming from the south will reach Monteverde by turning off at the entrance to Sardinal at

the RANCHO GRANDE gas station and driving up the mountain,  passing through Sardinal than

Guacimal, until reaching Santa Elena. Total of 40km. If you're coming from the north it may be

more practical to come up via Las Juntas (although now they have paved the section from the

Pan American Highway to Guacimal I would drive further south and take the Rancho Grande -

Sardinal route).

There is also entrance from Tilaran if you're driving from the Arenal Volcano. 

Many people travel from Arenal Volcano to Monteverde and then from Monteverde to San Jose,

Puntarenas or to the Nicoya Peninsula and beaches such as Samara, Jaco and Manuel Antonio.

OR others travel from the south, then go to Monteverde followed by Arenal Volcano and from

there head back to San Jose or continue to the beaches of the north and Nicoya Peninsula. 


So lets recap...  There are three main roads into Monteverde: 


Road from Sardinal - This is an exit on the Pan American highway at the Rancho Grande Gas

Station which takes you 3km to Sardinal and offers pavement all the way to Guacimal.  This is

the route to take if you're coming from San Jose.  Driving from San Jose to Monteverde will take

about 3.5 hours in total.  From San Jose to the Rancho Grande turn off it is about two hours

and from there it takes about 1 hour to get up the mountain to Monteverde. Traffic will

influence the travel times especially the parts near San Jose.  Certain times of the year or days

of the week there is an increase in travel and this crates a clog in this artery of Costa Rican



Road from Las Juntas - If you're traveling between locations in northern Costa Rica and

Monteverde you may chose to come via Las Juntas de Abangares.  Las Juntas is located just off

the Pan American highway at a turnoff called "La Irma" after the gas station located at this

junction. The road from La Irma to Las Juntas is paved but from Las Juntas to Monteverde the

road is unpaved and allow around 1.5 hours. 


Road from Tilaran -this is the road that you will take if you're coming from Arenal. It is unpaved

and joins the road coming in from Las Juntas as you get nearer to Monteverde.


Road from Lagartos - Lagartos is an exit on the Pan Americana located between Las Juntas

and Sardinal.  This is the route the public bus takes and is not paved.  If your driving there is

really no reason to take this road and you might as well travel further south and take the

Rancho Grande gas station turn off to Sardinal.

Drivers should plan to travel during daylight hours as there are dark unpaved winding roads

that sport sheer cliff edges.

* Check out our collection of maps.

Shuttle Transport to Monteverde  

There are several collective shuttle or shuttle transport service operators which offer shuttles

to a large number of destinations at rates from $35 - $49.  Services are door to door for most

major hotels.  Trips to Monteverde leave every day at 8.30am and 1.30pm to San Jose and also

there are options to many beach areas. 

* Check out our searchable transportation database

Private Transfer to Monteverde  

We can arrange private transportation from any where in the country to your destination. 

Transport is in a comfortable mini van or 4x4 vehicle with chauffer.  This is great for airport pick

ups.  You just tell us when and to pick you up and our driver will wait at the main exit of the

airport with a sign with your name on it.  For a price quote:

* Check out our searchable transportation database

Traveling on from Monteverde

How do I get out of Monteverde? Monteverde to San Jose and other destinations.  Check

out our collective of maps.

From Monteverde there are daily public buses to San Jose at 6:30 am and 2:30 pm.  There are

public bus at 6:00 going to Puntarenas and 4.30am to Las Juntas..  At 7:00 am there is a bus

to Tilaran.  Collective shuttles depart for the most part in the morning hours.  We can arrange

private transfer anytime to anyplace.

Visit or site ArenalVolcanoTours to learn How to get to Arenal.

Contact us and check out our booking service we can get you from anywhere in Costa Rica to Monteverde!

On this Page:

Glossary of Places mentioned or a little lesson in geography

Public Bus


Collective Transfers

Private Transfers

Traveling on from Monteverde

Related Pages

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