how to get there                       what should i bring?                       IMPORTANT to know

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FROM SAN JOSÉ

BY PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION

Important to know before travelling by public transportation:

  • In order to get the last bus to La Pavona you should arrive in Cariari before 15:00h. If you arrive later, there are no more connections to La Pavona and you have to stay overnight in Cariari, before continuing your journey the next day.
  • Do not leave your luggage or personal belongings in the overhead compartments inside the bus (especially on the way from San José to Cariari) and do not leave your luggage unattended at the bus terminals. Staffs at the terminal and guides do their best to avoid robberies, but unfortunately, the risk has not been eliminated completely.


1. From San José to Cariari (by bus): 

Buses from San José to Cariari depart from the Terminal Gran Caribe (or Terminal Caribeños) in San José. The trip takes about two hours. Cariari is the last stop.
Departure times: 06:30h, 09:00h, 10:30h, 13:00h (Later departures will not get you to Cariari on time to catch the last bus to La Pavona).
Tickets: Tickets are available for about $3, 50 / ₡1600 at the counter inside the terminal.
If you miss the direct bus to Cariari, there is the possibility to take a bus to Guapiles (departing from the same terminal) and in Guapiles another bus to Cariari.

2. From Cariari to La Pavona (by bus):
The buses to La Pavona wait at the Cariari bus terminal. There are nearly always people (guides or local people) at the terminal that can show you the right bus. In rare cases when there is nobody on site – look for buses stopping outside the terminal. The trip takes about one hour. La Pavona is the last stop.
Departure times: 05:00h, 09:00h, 11:30h, 15:00h
Tickets: The tickets are purchased on the bus. The driver comes through to take the money. The ticket costs about $2,20/ ₡1100.

3. From La Pavona to Tortuguero (by boat):

Boats to Tortuguero depart from La Pavona several times per day. The departures of the boats are coordinated with the arrivals of the buses and there are nearly always people receiving you and showing you the way to the boats. The boat trip takes between 45 minutes and two hours, depending on the water level of the river. But do not worry. The trip is wonderful. Tortuguero is the last stop.
Departure times: 07:30h, 11:00h, 13:00h, 16:30h
Tickets: Tickets can be purchased in the restaurant at the counter with the sign Boletos" or directly in the boats of Coopetraca. The ticket costs about $3,20 / ₡1.600 and they charge $2/₡1.000 per luggage.

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BY CAR

Important to know before starting your trip by car:

  • In order to get the last boat to Tortuguero you should arrive in La Pavona around 16:00h. If you arrive later there are no more connections to Tortuguero and you have to go back to Cariari and stay there overnight as there are no accommodation facilities in La Pavona.


1. From San José to Cariari:
Take the road 32 from San José to Guapiles. In Guapiles follow the road 32 until you get to the petrol station Santa Clara. Turn left. After 8.1 km driving north turn left at the cross-way. Follow the train tracks for another 0.7 km and once getting to the main street turn right. After 10.4 km you arrive at Cariari.

2. From Cariari to La Pavona:
Follow the road passing through Cariari. After 7.1 km you reach a crossway. Turn right in direction to Campo Dos. Follow the signs to Campo Dos and Cuatro Esquinas. Follow the road to Cuatro Esquinas. After 8.9 km you get to the village Palacios. After the small grocery store Abast Palacio (on the right hand side) turn left. The way to the Tortuguero National Park is now indicated by signs. Follow the street for 5.7 km until getting to a building with old parking slots. Turn left and follow the road until getting to la Pavona (the road ends here). There are 24h guarded parking facilities in La Pavona. The price per day is about $10.

3. From La Pavona to Tortuguero (by boat): see point 3 above.

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BY PLANE
The airline Sansa operate flights to Tortuguero. The departure airport is San José. For prices and timetables please consult the home page www.airline-sansa.com. The airport of Tortuguero is about 10 minutes away from the center of the village. A taxi (boat) to the village costs about $10/person.

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BY SHUTTLE

A shuttle from San José to Tortuguero takes about 6 hours. A company with this service is for example Jungle Tom Safaris.

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FROM PUERTO VIEJO/CAHUITA/LIMÓN

BY PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION (by bus and boat via La Pavona):

1. Take a bus from Puerto Viejo/Cahuita to Limón
2. Take a bus from Limón to Guapiles
3. Take a bus from Guapiles to Cariari
4. Follow point 2+3 above (public transportation from San José) to get from Cariari to La Pavona and from La Pavona to Tortuguero
The travel time is about 7 - 8 hours and it costs around $16-17 per Person.
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 SEMI-TRANSFER (by bus or taxi and boat via Moin):
1. Take a bus from Puerto Viejo/Cahuita to Limón – the last bus to get on time to Moin leaves at 7.30h from Puerto Viejo
2. Take a taxi from Limón to Moin $7-10 (there are also buses from the center of Limón to the harbor of Moin, the journey takes about 30 minutes and is operated by the company Tracasa, but they only leave once every hour – to be on time at Moin you have to take the bus at 8.30h, which means leaving Puerto Viejo/Cahuita at 5.30h/6.00h).
3. At the harbor of Moin there are boats to Tortuguero nearly daily at 10.00h. The trip takes about 3,5- four hours.

The boats from Moin to Tortuguero costs $35 per person and it is recommendable to reserve one day in advance to assure availability.  
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FULL TRANSFER (Transfer by boat to Moin) -MIN. 2 PERSONS:
Transfer with pick you up at your hotel in Puerto Viejo/Cahuita to Moin and from there by boat to Tortuguero. This option takes about 5, 5 hours. 
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BY CAR
There is no direct road connecting Limón and Tortuguero. If you are travelling by car you have two options:
1. Leave your car at a guarded parking in Limón and go by boat (bus/taxi and boat) as described above.
2. Drive via Siquirres, Guapiles and Cariari to La Pavona following the description "How to get there from San José".
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FROM OTHER DESTINATIONS
There is also the option to get directly (without having to change buses) to La Pavona or Tortuguero with private minibus services or shuttles from different parts of Costa Rica. Normally daily running shuttles are for example:

  • Arenal/La Fortuna a Tortuguero ($60 per person) *in order to get to Tortuguero from Arenal by public transportation we recommend to get to San José and follow from there the description above
  • San José a Totuguero ($50 per person)

useful information