Find the best way to travel from San José to Jaco

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getting to jaco from san jose

San José, the capital of Costa Rica, is just a couple of hours away from the beautiful beach town of Jaco. Whether you’re a local looking for a weekend getaway or a tourist exploring Costa Rica, several transportation options are available to make your journey from San José to Jaco convenient and hassle-free.

So, how do you get from San Jose to Jaco?

From renting a car to taking a shuttle or public transportation, this guide will help you choose the best way to travel from San José to Jaco.

Where is Jaco

Jaco is a famous beach town located approximately 100 kilometers (62 miles) from San José, the capital city of Costa Rica. Jaco is on the Pacific coast and offers stunning views, abundant natural beauty, and a vibrant beach atmosphere. Its proximity to San José makes it an ideal destination for locals and tourists looking to escape to the beach.

Jaco is known for its picturesque beaches, attracting surfers, sunbathers, and nature enthusiasts alike. The town is surrounded by lush rainforests, offering opportunities for hiking, wildlife spotting, and bird-watching. With its vibrant nightlife, numerous restaurants, and exciting water activities, Jaco has something to offer everyone.

Learn more about Jaco Beach in our Jaco travel guide.

Jaco’s Location in Costa Rica

Jaco is situated in the Puntarenas province of Costa Rica, on the central Pacific coast. Its strategic location makes it easily accessible from San José and other major tourist destinations in the country. The town is also near other popular beach towns and national parks, making it a convenient base for further exploration of the region.

DistanceTravel TimeTransportation Options
100 kilometersApproximately 3 hoursCar rental, bus, shared shuttle

How to get to Jaco from San Jose

​You may wonder how to get from San Jose to Jaco on your travels to Costa Rica.

The best way to travel from San José to Jaco depends on your budget, priorities, and travel style.

There are a few different ways that you can get from San Jose to Jaco. The most popular and affordable option is to take a shuttle bus.

Another popular option is to rent a car and drive yourself.

The last option is to take a private transfer. This is the most expensive option but also the most convenient.

Getting from San Jose to Jaco is easy and affordable, regardless of your choice. With so many options available, you can find the perfect transportation option to suit your needs and budget.

Let’s cover all you need to know to decide how to get from San Jose to Jaco.

Renting a Car and Driving from San José to Jaco

how to get to jaco driving

If you prefer more flexibility and control over your transportation, renting a car is convenient for traveling from San José to Jaco.

The drive typically takes around 90 minutes to 2 hours, depending on the traffic conditions. Before hitting the road, choosing a car rental company that suits your needs and budget is essential.


  • The most flexible option, allowing you to explore at your own pace
  • Ability to make detours and stop at attractions along the way
  • Provides independence and freedom of movement


  • Most expensive option
  • Requires an international driver’s permit
  • It may be stressful navigating Costa Rican roads
  • Tolls along the route

Driving Route from San José to Jaco

The recommended driving route from San José to Jaco is to take Calera Route 27 and then exit onto Route 34 towards Orotina, following the signs to Jaco.

This route offers scenic views along the way and is well-maintained for a smooth journey. However, it’s important to note that tolls along the route cost around US$5. So, be sure to have some cash on hand or check if your rental car has an electronic toll payment system.

Car Rental Options from San José to Jaco

There are several car rental companies to choose from in San José, offering different car models and rental rates. Some popular car rental companies include Alamo, Budget, Hertz, and National. It’s advisable to compare prices and read reviews to find the best option for your trip. Additionally, check with the rental car company for any specific requirements, such as an international driver’s permit, before driving to Jaco.

Car Rental CompanyRental Rates (Per Day)Additional Information
Alamo$40 – $70Offers a wide range of car models
Budget$35 – $60Special discounts for frequent renters
Hertz$45 – $80Premium car rental options available
National$40 – $70Offers a loyalty program for frequent renters

Remember to familiarize yourself with the local traffic rules, regulations, and road signs to ensure a safe and enjoyable drive. A GPS or a navigation app on your smartphone is also recommended to navigate the route from San José to Jaco easily.

Taking the Bus – the Cheapest Way to Travel

bus from san jose to jaco


  • The cheapest option
  • Several daily departures with convenient schedules
  • Offers a scenic journey through the Costa Rican countryside


  • Slower travel time, typically around 2 hours
  • Requires some time to get to and from the bus terminal in San José
  • It may not be as comfortable as other options

For budget-conscious travelers, taking the bus from San José to Jaco is not only affordable but also a convenient option. Buses depart regularly from Terminal 7-10 in downtown San José, offering a cost-effective transportation solution. With a journey time of about 2 hours, you can sit back, relax, and enjoy the scenic route to Jaco.

The bus service is operated by Transportes Jaco, providing four daily departures from 07:00 to 19:30, ensuring flexible travel options throughout the day. Whether you’re an early riser or prefer a later departure time, there’s a bus schedule to suit your needs. Tickets can be conveniently purchased at the bus terminal or online, allowing you to secure your seat in advance.

Upon arrival in Jaco, the bus drops off passengers near the Banco de Costa Rica at the north end of Jaco. From there, it’s a short walk or a quick taxi ride to your desired destination. Boarding typically starts about 15-20 minutes before departure, giving you ample time to find your seat and get comfortable for the journey ahead.

Bus ScheduleDeparture Times
First Departure07:00
Second Departure11:30
Third Departure15:00
Fourth Departure19:30

Taking the bus from San José to Jaco saves you money and allows you to enjoy the stunning landscapes. With the convenience of multiple departures, it’s a hassle-free option for travelers looking to experience Jaco on a budget.

Shuttle from San José to Jaco

how to get from san jose to jaco


  • More convenient than the bus
  • Comfortable, air-conditioned vehicles
  • Hassle-free and stress-free travel


  • More expensive than the bus
  • It may require booking in advance, especially during peak travel times.
  • Not as flexible as renting a car

Taking a shuttle is an excellent choice for convenience and hassle-free transportation.

A company like My Pink Bus offers reliable shuttle services in comfortable, air-conditioned vehicles. The journey from San José to Jaco takes approximately 3 hours, and multiple departure times are available throughout the day to accommodate different travel schedules.

When booking a shared shuttle, making reservations in advance, especially during peak travel periods, is advisable, as seats can fill up quickly. This ensures a guaranteed spot and allows for better planning of your overall itinerary. The shuttle service typically operates on a set schedule, providing a convenient and reliable mode of transportation from San José to Jaco.

One of the advantages of taking a shared shuttle is the convenience of door-to-door service. The shuttle will pick you up at your specified location in San José and drop you off at your desired destination in Jaco. This eliminates the need for additional transfers or navigating unfamiliar public transportation systems, making it a stress-free option for travelers.

Learn more about the San Jose to Jaco shuttle by my pink bus.


  • The most convenient option, with door-to-door service
  • Comfortable, air-conditioned vehicles
  • Meet new people who travel like you


  • More expensive option
  • It may require booking in advance, especially during peak travel times.


When deciding on how to get from San José to Jaco, it’s essential to consider your budget, convenience, and personal preferences. Whether renting a car, taking the bus, or booking a shared shuttle, each option has advantages.

Renting a car is an excellent choice if you want to explore at your own pace. Just be sure to check for any tolls along the way and familiarize yourself with the driving route. Remember to check with the rental car company for any specific requirements.

For budget-conscious travelers, taking the bus is the cheapest option. Buses depart regularly from Terminal 7-10 in San José, providing a convenient and affordable way to reach Jaco. Purchase tickets at the bus terminal or online and enjoy the scenic journey.

If comfort and convenience are your top priorities, consider booking a shared shuttle. The Pink Bus offers comfortable transportation in air-conditioned vehicles, taking the hassle out of your journey. Be sure to reserve your seats in advance, especially during peak travel.

Remember to plan, consider travel time, costs, and comfort, and choose the option that best suits your needs. With these travel tips in mind, you’ll have a smooth and enjoyable journey from San José to Jaco.

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