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Travel from San Jose, Costa Rica to San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

How to travel from San Jose to San Juan del Sur

Bus from San Jose to Nicaragua border or Tica Bus

Take either local bus to the Nicaraguan border then go to Rivas then San Juan del Sur (or you can ask around, as their may be a bus that goes direct from the border). Or take the Tica Bus (international bus service) from San Jose to Rivas in Nicaragua then get another bus to San Juan del Sur.

Time line

You will probably have to stay in San Jose for the night if you want to take the Tica Bus, as, from what I can tell, the buses leave in the morning.

If you take the local bus, you may be able to make it to Nicaragua the day you land, but it will be close. I don’t know if this border closes, and if it does, at what time.

If you do not want to stay the night in San Jose, you could go to a Costa Rican town in between San Jose and the border. I cannot recommend one, though.

I hope this helps a little.

This is a well traveled route, so it should not be too difficult.

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Original question about traveling from San Jose to San Juan del Sur

I’m traveling to Nicaragua for my second time this spring break, March 5th-March 17th. Being a college student I chose the cheapest route down there, being flying into San Jose. I do speak a little spanish but would prefer not to rely on it or reveal how much of a gringo I truly am. What do you suggest is the best method of getting from San Jose to San Juan del Sur if I arrive in San Jose at 1240 (plus time to clear customs)? And to return on the 17th, with a flight leaving at 1230 in the morning (I’m willing to camp in Costa for the night)

Thanks for any help/suggestions. It is truly appreciated.

How to travel from San Jose to San Juan del Sur

Filed under: Costa Rica, Nicaragua

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  • epicurean

    Hello I did this crossing twice and would recommend taking the Tica. Being a cheap charlie I got messed up by the timeline mentioned above and the fact I took the local bus. The morning bus (from san jose) reaches the border about midnight. The border is open at that hour but there is no transport on the other side. Their is also no accomodation. It leaves you in a lurch and kind of a dodgy situation. Tica bus on the other hand keeps rolling all the way to Managua. Liberia and La Cruz are the last towns of any size in Costa Rica.