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In San José, buses ( or taxis ) are the best way !!

I’d rather go by bus. ~ Prince Charles, age six, when asked if he was excited about sailing to Tobruk on the Royal Yacht.

If you’re staying in San José, then local buses or a taxi are the best way to get around. Traffic is typical for big cities – a pain in the butt – so having a car in town is often more of a liability than it’s worth. Not to mention the parking, or the lack thereof.

During our first stay in Costa Rica, we commuted daily into San José downtown from the eastern suburb (barrio) of San Pedro. Buses run frequently on popular routes and are very inexpensive, perhaps 60¢ to the suburbs, 25¢ around town. Look for the name of your destination painted on the front windshield (not so easy to spot at night).

Few bus drivers speak English, but many passengers do, so ask for help if you’re unsure. Many of the local buses are old “Bluebird” converted school buses made in the US, and few have buzzers to alert the driver to your stop. Awhistle or a yell, usually works. If you don’t know the exact stop, ask the driver when you first get on to let you know.

Downtown is a good place to walk. Most everything you’re there for is concentrated in a 12-block area. Taxis are available and inexpensive. Remember, they’re very scarce on rainy rush hour evenings! Rates go up a bit later at night and if you travel to out-of-the-way neighborhoods.

Warning: A place to avoid at night is the Coca- Cola market area in the northwestern end of town. If you’re returning to downtown from points north or west at night, get off a little early on Paseo Colon and take a taxi or the Cementerio bus from there.


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