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Interbus and San Jose

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We will be first time Costa Rica travelers this January.
Myself, my wife, son 23, daughter 20.
Looking for nature, wildlife (animals), maybe fishing,
hiking, beach time, unique experiences.

So many questions (hoping you can help):

1) How do you arrange the "Interbus" between cities?

2) How do you arrange private drivers between cities?

3) Should we stay longer in San Jose as we land or as we depart?
Are there things there we should do/see or just better to head up immediately to Arenal? (we arrive at 2 PM).

4) We are planning on this itinerary (we have 10 days):

San Jose
Samara (Guanacaste)
Manual Antonio
San Jose

(should we try to squeeze in Monteverde? Many people suggested a slower
itinerary with fewer locations, and Monteverde seemed like one location people
said you could drop without missing too much)?

  • Report Abuse

    I'd pass on Monteverde this trip since you don't really have time to add another location. Personally I'd pick either Samara or Manuel Antonio so you have less travel time eating into your vacation but up to you. We always book our private drivers through our hotels when we reserve them and have had good luck doing that. Interbus will only pick you up in certain places and on their schedule, while a private driver will come directly to you and operate on your schedule. Interbus charges per person, and with that many people, a private driver that charges a flat rate would probably be a better option for you.

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    It sounds like you've got an exciting trip planned with, I think, about the right number of destinations within Costa Rica for your timescale. While I wouldn't recommend you to add in Monteverde to the outline below, I wouldn't dismiss it either. The variation of landscapes and nature between the cloudforest, Arenal and the coast will be very striking - and it's really the variety within Costa Rica which is such a key feature of any good visit. You might actually want to consider dropping Manuel Antonio for Monteverde, as you then have three very different ecosystems rather than two stays on the coast. It's worth mentioning that all these places get very busy in January, but Manuel Antonio particularly so.

    In terms of transport between the locations, there are shuttle buses between all these areas which can be arranged, but what we recommend to virtually all of our clients is to have your own SUV. This allows you so much more flexibility - for example to visit various beaches north or south of Samara - it basically puts you much more in control of your time and daily activity. With a GPS/Sat Nav, the driving's pretty straightforward, and can actually be quite fun, certainly part of the experience.

    In terms of San Jose, I'd limit my time there as much as possible to be honest, just because it sounds like you'll get much more out of other areas. Arriving at 2pm would be fine to head straight to Arenal (or Monteverde), it's little more than 2 hours drive - again, a hire car would make this very simple. If you were to end on the beach at Samara, you might want to investigate flying out of Liberia rather than coming all the way back to San Jose - there are direct flights to various US gateways, including Miami, Newark and Houston. Avoiding time in the city gives you more chance to swim with sea turtles, and hike in the jungle!

    Hope that helps, and you have a great trip!


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