How to get from Tamarindo to San Jose

Are you feeling energised after a break in the lush landscape and sandy beaches of Tamarindo? When the blue waters and fresh forest air have you feeling revitalised, it’s time to head to the Costa Rican capital for a lively city escape. With its many museums, theatres and cultural attractions, and plenty of lively bars and restaurants abundant with energy, San Jose is the perfect city break after you’ve recharged your batteries in Tamarindo. But what is the best way to get from Tamarindo to San Jose?

How do I get from Tamarindo to San Jose?

Tamarindo and San Jose are about 254 km apart and driving time is about 4 hours and 5 minutes.

There are many ways to travel from Tamarindo to San Jose, depending on your preference and your budget. For budget-conscious travellers, the cheapest way to travel from Tamarindo to San Jose is by bus. For convenience and speed – not to mention the opportunity to sightsee along the way – the best method of travelling from Tamarindo to San Jose is by private car. Some direct flights are available from Tamarindos small, private airport, arriving into San Jose.

Tamarindo to San Jose by bus

Travelling from Tamarindo to San Jose is the most budget-friendly option, though be aware that it is also the longest in duration as the bus makes stops for other passengers along the way.

There are two companies that operate from Tamarindo and the pick-up point differs for each.. Be sure to check you have the location in advance! The Empreso Alfara terminal is next to Enea’s restaurant and the Tralapa bus stop is right across from Hotel Portofino in the town. The bus journey takes on average 6 – 6.5 hours and there are 4 services per day (two per operating company). 

Tickets can be purchased on-the-spot, though it’s never a bad idea to go to the terminal a day before to pre-purchase your tickets at the stand in case the service becomes too full. The journey from Tamarindo to San Jose by bus typically costs around $10 for the ~254 km ride.

Time intervals4 times per day
First/Last Departure3:30 AM / 2 PM
Avg. Price$10
Distance~254 km
Duration6 – 6.5 hours
Operating CompaniesEmpresa Alfaro, Tralapa

Tamarindo to San Jose by plane

To travel by plane, head to Tamarindo’s small, private airport where one flight per day heads to San Jose. As usual with flights, but particularly as departures are so infrequent, you’ll want to purchase tickets in advance to secure your spot.

The flight takes less than an hour so it makes sense to take the direct route, though some routes via Liberia are available at certain times of the year. On average, you can expect a one-way ticket to cost around $120 per person, though this can fluctuate depending on the season and how far in advance you opt to book. As always, it is recommended that you arrive at the airport at least 2 hours before departure to ensure a smooth transition through security to your departure gate. Taking this into account, flying from Tamarindo to San Jose becomes quite an expensive and inconvenient option for many.

Departure times2:10 PM
Avg. Price 2 persons$240
Duration0h 50
Operating CompaniesSansa Regional

Tamarindo to San Jose by Taxi

For speed and convenience, a private car transfer with Daytrip is the best way to travel from Tamarindo to San Jose. You will be picked up at your accommodation, and the driver will take care of your luggage. You’ll then be able to enjoy door-to-door service to your accommodation in Tamarindo, and can even add sightseeing stops on the way! Here are some of our recommendations for sightseeing stops along this route…

With your comfort and convenience in mind, it is clear that a private transfer is the best option! To book a private transfer from Tamarindo to San Jose, click here

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