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 Arenal. Or read further about road conditions, driving directions on how to get to Monteverde and more.
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 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 called Rancho Grande. 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
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 -
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
a private transfer anytime to anyplace.
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