bus schedules

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Apr 26th, 2004, 07:53 AM
  #1
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bus schedules

Thanks everyone for the advice on picking places to go for our upcoming trip. A friend and I will be in CR in late June / early July and I'm trying to get a handle on our transportation.

We'll be taking the bus from San Jose to Arenal, then Arenal to Montezuma, and probably Montezuma to San Jose.

A couple of questions. Can anyone direct me to a reliable website or place that has current public bus schedules? We will be staying at Arenal Observatory Lodge, and are planning on taking Interbus between Arenal and Montezuma. But, while we have room in the budget to also book on Interbus between San Jose and Arenal, and Montezuma to San Jose/Alajuela, if there is a reliable public (cheaper) route available, we might consider it.

Any feedback on reliable schedules, the reliability of the bus system, and whether its worth it or we should shell out the extra $20 or so to take interbus each way.

I think Interbus will pick us up from our hotel in San Jose if we take it. Am I right? (We haven't picked a hotel yet -- we're getting in late, and leaving for Arenal very early the next day, so we don't care to spend much on a hotel that we'll be in for less than 10 hours.)

Finally, any thoughts on staying in Alajuela on our last night (get in from Montezuma that day, head out VERY early the next to fly back home)? I've read some great stuff about it, and if we have an afternoon/evening to spend in it, we're interested in doing so. My concern is that, without a car, how easy will it be to get a bus from Montezuma to ALAJUELA rather than San Jose? Or is it feasible to take a taxi between the two towns (San Jose and Alajuela)?

Its a lot, I know. Thanks for any advice people may have to offer.
ellen730 is offline  
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Apr 26th, 2004, 08:23 AM
  #2
 
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Dear ellen730,
The pubic buses in Costa Rica are generally very reliable in the sense that they leave on time etc. However, it is a longer, bumpier and more dangerous (in terms of theft) ride than Interbus. I personally don't mind the public buses, but I feel since you only have 3 rides in total, the $75 will be well spent. Eat a couple of local lunches ("casado") instead of in a touristy restaurant, and you'll get your money back! Also, don't forget that if you go with the public buses, you will most likely have to pay a little extra for a taxi to get you to your hotel of choice (I am not sure about Interbus' hotel stops, but the public buses probably won't drop you off in front of your hotel).
You will probably have to take a taxi from SJ to Alajuela, because I don't think you will find a bus from Montezuma to Alajuela.
Feel free to write me directly for any more info.
Pura vida,
Neta Talmor
costaricafinca is offline  
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Apr 26th, 2004, 10:10 AM
  #3
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Thanks. You're probably right -- best just to "splurge".
ellen730 is offline  
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Apr 26th, 2004, 12:00 PM
  #4
 
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We did a combination of public buses and Interbus when I traveled in 2002. At that time, Interbus did not go to Montezume (lucky you!), so we took the public bus from Santa Elena (Monteverde) to Puntarenas, then hopped on the ferry and caught a jeep taxi to Montezuma. We also took a public bus from Quepos to SJO (and we used the public bus extensively while in Manuel Antonio).

I personally loved using the public bus. It was cheap, reliable and gives you a chance to interact with the locals. I should also point out that we were 3 women traveling alone (40s, 50s and 60s) and we never felt unsafe on the bus. I did insist on carrying my bag on the bus to Puntarenas, but allowed the Quepos driver to put my bag under the bus. I just made sure to watch the luggage being unloaded when the bus made its one stop.

We also had a great experience on Interbus, which we took from San Jose (Hampton Inn) to Arenal. They made a stop at a small restaurant mid-way so we could use the restroom and get a drink and snack. The driver even recommended a hotel for us in La Fortuna and got us a discount. (Probably didn't hurt that one of my traveling companions is fluent in Spanish.)

I recommend Xandari for your last night. It's a bit of a splurge, but well worth it! See if Interbus will drop you at SJO on the way back to San Jose. Xandari will pick you up there. (Interbus may even agree to drop you Xandari. Doesn't hurt to ask.) Xandari will also drop you at SJO bright and early the next morning - free of charge. We'll be staying at Xandari for our last night this coming July and we also have an early plane to catch (7:40 a..m).

Terri
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