sjo airport bus

SJO Airport Bus to San Jose, Costa Rica [plus taxis, transfers, rentals]

The San Jose International Airport, Costa Rica, is easy to reach from downtown San Jose.  Taking the bus either from the airport or to the airport is simple, safe, cheap and quick 35-minute journey.  This is the SJO Airport Bus to San Jose and it’s easy to find, catch and pay for.  We’ll also cover San Jose Costa Rica airport transportation options and all the ways to get from San Jose Airport to San Jose Costa Rica.


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Our guides for travelling to Costa Rica do NOT contain Coronavirus updates. You should always read the Costa Rican Government’s Travel Advisory – you can find that here

SJO Airport to downtown San Jose

There are many options when you’re trying to work out how to get from San Jose Costa Rica aiaport to downtown San Jose Costa Rica.  To get from SJO Airport to San Jose you can take a bus, a shared shuttle, a private transfer or rent a car.  SJO Airport transportation is pretty well organized and you’ll be able to get into the city whatever time your flight arrives.

San Jose Costa Rica Airport Bus to San Jose

The bus service that runs between SJO and downtown San Jose is called Tuasa Bus San Jose, its also known as the big red bus and you can take it from San Jose airport to city center.

Where to catch the TUASA bus at the San Jose Costa Rica Airport

To get to the Tuasa bus San Jose Airport, leave the arrivals area.  Cross the road, heading towards the parking garage.  In essence, this is the only building on the other side of the road.  Once across the road, turn left and follow the pavement/sidewalk as it skirts around the side of the building.


You will now end up on the main street, as you turn to the right (do not cross this main street), you’ll spot a bus stop and perhaps buses stopping there.  That’s where you need to be.  It’s about 20 meters away.

If you’re en route to Costa Rica you’ll want our guide to everything you need to know about Costa Rica and our free Travel Checklist – read it here.

SJO Airport Bus Stop Map


The Tuasa airport bus takes you to the Tuasa Bus Station San Jose on Second Avenue near Merced Park in San Jose.

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Book your San Jose Costa Rica Hotel

If you only have a short time in Costa Rica’s capital you’ll want to get a centrally located hotel or hostel.  Here are our recommendations on where to stay in San Jose.  If you’re using San Jose as a base and then heading out into Costa Rica then you’ll want to check out where your next bus leaves from.  The San Jose Bus Terminals for buses going to different locations are spread out around the city.

Spurge on luxury at the Grano de Oro Hotel

Perfect location with a rooftop garden, it’s a great place to acclimatise to Costa Rica.  There’s free wifi in all areas and air conditioning in all rooms.  Each room features a flat-screen TV, a private bathroom and you can also opt for a balcony or terrace. >  Get a price and reserve a room now.

Incredible reviews at the Capital Hostel de Ciudad

Seriously clean with a fabulous breakfast.  There are barbecue facilities, a garden and a terrace.  Each room has a kettle and you’ll find some with a kitchenette, a microwave, a toaster and a fridge.  It gets justifiably rave reviews for the superb free wifi. > Check availability and book now!

Small, friendly, practice your Spanish at the Hotel Trianon

A superb location very close to the San Jose Main Square, the owner here speaks English but is happy to let you practice your Spanish with her.  There’s wifi throughout the property and private bathrooms are available.  Breakfast, which is included, is a fabulous introduction to Costa Rican cuisine. > Book your room now.

Bus Companies between SJO and San Jose

The most common bus you’ll see is the big red TUASA bus.


San Jose Costa Rica airport bus

San Jose Airport Bus Schedule

The San Jose Costa Rica airport bus schedule is “every 10 minutes”, between 0430 and 2300.  There’s also a Station Wagon Alajuela bus that plies this route twenty-four hours a day.  Both of these services run between SJO airport and their terminal.  So if you take the Tuasa bus your final stop will be the Tuasa terminal San Jose downtown.

TUASA (Transportes Unidos Alajuelenses )– tel.506-2442-6900

Station Wagon’– tel. 506-2441-1181

What You Should Eat in Costa Rica

SJO Airport Bus to San Jose Cost

The San Jose airport to the city bus ticket costs 665 colones. You pay the driver as you enter, in Costa Rican colones.  The bus will have the destination on the front of the windshield, however, we ALWAYS confirm with the driver where they’re going!  We had 40 litre backpacks with us plus day packs and did not have to pay extra for our bags.

Get cash from an ATM at San Jose Airport Costa Rica

There are ATM’s at the airport that are easily accessible – ensure you aim for an amount that is in multiples of 5,000 so that you don’t have to give the driver a 10,000 colon note!  The ATMs at SJO Airport are tucked at the back of the baggage reclaim belts in arrivals.  You might struggle to get back in after you’ve exited, so be sure to get cash BEFORE you leave the baggage area!

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SJO Airport Bus to San Jose (2)

SJO Airport Bus to San Jose – Route

The big red TUASA bus follows a direct route into town.  If traffic is bad, a taxi won’t make much difference to the time taken for your journey.   The journey time is around 35 minutes without travel hold-ups.  The end point of the bus is the Tuasa terminal on Second Avenue at Merced Park.  A map and full address of the terminal is below.

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Book a San Jose Airport Transfer Instead

If you do want to prebook a San Jose Costa Rica Airport shuttle then check out Hoppa – you can prebook a transfer with them – get up to the minute rates and discounts here:  

You can also use Hoppa to book a shuttle to San Jose Airport. > BOOK NOW

Car Rental San Jose Costa Rica

Get the freedom of deciding where you want to go – book a rental car in Costa Rica.

Taking an SJO Airport Taxi to San Jose

At the airport, you’ll be approached by drivers.   Always agree on the price before getting into the taxi.

How much is a taxi from San Jose Costa Rica airport to downtown San Jose?

A taxi will cost the equivalent of US$25 to travel from the airport to downtown San Jose, or vice versa, depending on your negotiating skills.

If you do want to prebook a private transfer then check out Hoppa – you can prebook a transfer with them – get up to the minute rates and discounts here:  

Transportation to San Jose Airport

When going from San Jose to SJO airport you can take all of the transportation options already discussed.  Transfer time from San jose to the airport is around 35 minutes depending on the traffic.  The bus to San Jose airport can be just as quick as a taxi or transfer, as they are subject to the same traffic!

Tuasa Bus from San Jose to SJO Airport

Catching the bus from San Jose to airport is easy.  You just need to get to the Tuasa terminal in San Jose.  TUASA buses both depart from and arrive at their own specific terminal in San Jose.  This is on the north side of the Nuestra Senora de La Merced Catholic Church, near to Merced Park on Second Avenue.  You can find this on any map.   This San Jose to airport bus is really easy to find.


Arriving into San Jose Downtown

We took the Tuasa bus from San Jose airport to downtown San Jose.  We arrived late morning into San Jose.  The area felt as safe as any big city.  We walked the 30 minutes to our hotel, the Posada Trianon – get prices and availability for this small hotel , near the Museo Nacional, it was a pleasant walk and a good introduction to the city.


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