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.

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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About Sarah Carter

Sarah Carter is an avid reader, writer and traveller. She loves hiking, sailing, skiing and exploring the world through food. She left a successful career in IT security and compliance in both the UK and US to travel the world with husband and partner in adventure, Nigel.

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17 thoughts on “SJO Airport Bus to San Jose, Costa Rica [plus taxis, transfers, rentals]

  • Lee

    Hi, thanks for this information! Just making sure – we want to be at the public bus station on the same side of the street as the airport? My map is showing another “SJO airport bus stop” across the street. I want to take the TUASA bus to av.2 downtown.

  • debbie

    can i take the bus from the san jose airport to holiday inn san jose-aurola, also for return to airport take the bus from holiday inn express
    san jose forum hotel? is the cost like one dollar per person?

    • ASocialNomad Post author

      Hi there, the bus does to the TUASA terminal in San Jose – from there it’s a 15-20 minute walk to the Holiday Inn San Jose Aurola. We’ve walked this route several times and felt very safe. It’s 1.2km. The San Jose Forum is quite a bit further out from the city (further away from the airport), so you might want to book a transfer or a car for that return journey. The price for the airport bus is, yes, US$1 per person each way. Good luck and let us know if we can help further!

  • Dom

    Hi. I just wanted to confirm that a bus does run 24 hours from the airport. Another site showed the station wagon bus is only until 23:00. We are looking to arrive on a 12:05 flight and don’t want to be stranded. Hoping to head to San Jose to get a bus to Cahuita in the morning.

    Thanks for your help.

    • ASocialNomad Post author

      Hi there. You won’t be stranded. – I keep checking and updating the information on buses as it changes. So to the best of my knowledge they run all the time, but later at night they are less frequent. The airport themselves says 24 hours for station wagon, but that may just be to Alajuela. If that’s not the case, there are official tais at the airport. They are an orange colour. They are metered.

  • Trevor Schultz

    Thanks, folks, this was very helpful, thanks for what you’re doing.
    I will check out your blog!

    Keep on traveling!


  • David Greig

    Hi: Will the TUASA bus from airport to San Jose CR make stops along the main Hwy to San Jose. My destination is in Cd. Cariari a few km. from the airport and right beside the Hwy.

    • ASocialNomad Post author

      Yes, so long as its a regular stop if you have good Spanish you may be able to convince him to stop at a non regular stop too – there are stops along the way to collect and drop off – just ask the driver when you get on

  • Clare Solomon

    Hi Sarah, thanks for this very useful post, me and my girlfriend made it to San Jose no problem.

    Getting money out at the cash point didn’t cost us anything in charges and was a very favourable rate. Although we have a Starling card which doesn’t charge us to withdraw money and has the best rates worldwide.

    The cash point is tucked around the corner by the baggage reclaim (number 1 I think…)

    Also, the bus has gone up to 670 colonies. And because we dilly dallied a bit we didn’t get the bus TIL about 5pm and got stuck in rush hour traffic for over an hour.

    Once you go out of the terminal it is very hard to get back in so I’d suggest getting your money out straight away and going straight for the bus, avoiding the millions of taxi touts!

    Thanks again for the post. Have fun travelling 🙂


        • Sarah Carter

          You can take the Tuasa bus from their terminal in San Jose to the Airport. You’ll find the Tuasa terminal 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.

  • Dianne


    Thanks for all the great info. Do you have any info or any opinion about traveling from San Jose to Puerto Viejo? My husband and I have read lots of conflicting information.

    We are coming on Saturday, spending one night in San Jose and then traveling to Puerto Viejo. I feel like it would be easy to take the bus, but we don’t want to be miserable.

    If you have any suggestions, I’d greatly appreciate it. I’d love to save the money rather than and not have to pay for the shared transfer at $55 each.

    Thank you

    • Sarah Carter

      hi there – Its really easy to get to Puerto Viejo from San Jose on the bus. We did it and weren’t miserable. It was a normal coach sized bus. The TERMINAL MEPE is where you want to go from and there are buses at 0600,1000,1400 and 1600. There’s also a 12 noon one that should stop there. I’d suggest going to the terminal (we walked it from downtown in about 15 minutes) the day you arrive and booking the tickets for the next day. We booked the day before and had no problems. It should be around 5,300 CR.

  • Sally

    I am in Tamarindo and need to get to SJO airport. Is there a bus that leaves Tamarindo and stops at the airport or will I have to go to the bus depot downtown San Jose and then find my way (taxi? Uber? Bus?) to the airport?

    • Sarah Carter Post author

      Here’s what Inknow about buses from Tamarindo to the airport Two bus companies run routes to Tamarindo: Alfaro from San José (via Liberia), and La Pampa from Liberia. Alfaro runs two buses per day from San José: 11:30 a.m. (stopping in Liberia) and 3:30 p.m. (via Caldera). The cost is around $10 per person and the trip takes around 5.5 hours. If you to get to downtown San Jose, then the Tuasa bus service is as easy as getting from the airport to downtown.