I’ve found that some times the bus schedules here can be a bit confusing or difficult to find. So here is some information that will be helpful for traveling to and from the La Fortuna area. Schedules to change from time to time, but I do my best to keep the schedules updated as much as possible.
Once you get here why not check out the various attractions the area has to offer. Contact us and we can help you get special discounts on tours. Even if you don’t want to book a tour check out the restaurant discounts listed on the sidebar.
Departing La Fortuna by Bus
The bus station is one block south of the Park/Church in La Fortuna (if you stand at the edge of the park facing the church, go left one block). From La Fortuna to San José there are four direct buses each day. They depart at 9:10 AM, 12:45 PM, 2:45 PM, and 4:10 PM. This bus requires buying tickets in advance at the Red Lava Tour Office.
The “direct” bus actually makes a 20 minute stop in the county seat of Ciudad Quesada where you will want to stay on the bus (the majority of the locals will get off here). While only four “direct” buses go to San José there are various ways to get there only changing buses once in either Ciudad Quesada or San Ramón. The buses that go to Ciudad Quesada through Chachagua take a bit longer, but it is also more scenic. [Schedule Updated June 2017]
|CQ por Chachagua||CQ por El Tanque||To San Ramon||To Tilaran|
|5:15 AM||6:00 AM||5:30 AM||7:30 AM|
|7:15 AM||6:10 AM||9:00 AM||12:30 PM|
|8:00 AM||6:30 AM||1:00 PM||5:00 PM|
|9:45 AM||7:40 AM||4:00 PM|
|11:30 AM||8:00 AM|
|12:15 PM||10:10 AM|
|3:15 PM||12:45 PM|
|5:30 PM||2:00 PM|
|7:30 PM||2:30 PM|
If you go to San Ramón the bus will end on a corner near the hospital. Just ask for the bus to San José and you will get directions (even if you don’t speak Spanish just say “bus San José dondé” and someone will help you find it). The bus station is only two or three blocks away.
If you go to Ciudad Quesada there is a ticket office where all the buses pull in that lists the times for the San José buses (which run about every 45 minutes until late afternoon), and you can get your ticket there.
Also included in this schedule are buses for Tilarán which will help you get to the North Pacific Coast.
Arriving to La Fortuna
If you are in San José itself or coming by bus to San José you will want to go to the “Terminal San Carlos” to get the buses to La Fortuna. If you are coming from the airport you will want the bus station in Alajuela.To clear up a misconception, San José airport is not actually in San José. It is actually about 20 km outside the city in the city of Alajuela. However, the buses going to La Fortuna from the airport pass very nearby the airport.
If you are arriving at the airport you have a few options to get to the bus station. Even though it’s only a mile I’d not recommend walking as there is no sidewalk and you have to cross some major roads. When you depart the airport there are all kinds of Orange Airport Taxis. They usually speak English and have stricter standards of operation, but that also means they’re more expensive. They’re the only taxis than can enter the airport as well. If you walk out the airport and walk fifty meters to the main road you can flag down a red taxi. They’re also safe and well maintained, just not as touristy as the airport taxis. This is the option I usually go with.
Make sure you ask for the bus station in Alajuela, not San José unless you want a needlessly long and expensive taxi ride. It’s only about a two minute drive, you should get on and immediately off the highway and drive past the Walmart.
There are most likely many ways to get to La Fortuna by getting buses going to various points along the highway, but these are the ones that actually go to the Zona Norte where La Fortuna is located. All the buses below go to Ciudad Quesada, those that continue direct to La Fortuna are marked as such. [Updated February 2017]
|Depart San José||Depart Alajuela||CQ-Fortuna |
por El Tanque
|5:00 AM||5:30 AM||9:30 or 10:00 AM|
|5:30 AM||6:00 AM||10:30 AM||10:00 AM|
|6:15 AM (Direct)||6:45 AM (Direct)||Direct||Direct|
|7:15 AM||7:45 AM||11:40 AM|
|7:45 AM||8:15 AM||11:40 AM|
|8:40 AM (Direct)||9:10 AM (Direct)||Direct||Direct|
|10:00 AM||10:30 AM||3:30 PM||3:30 PM|
|11:00 AM||11:30 PM (Direct)||3:30 PM||3:30 PM|
|11:50 AM (Direct)||12:20 PM (Direct)||Direct||Direct|
|12:50 PM||1:20 PM||6:00 PM|
|2:00 PM||2:30 PM||6:00 PM|
|3:00 PM||3:30 PM||8:00 PM|
|3:15 PM||(Direct to CQ no Stops)|
|4:40 PM||5:10 PM||9:30 PM|
|6:15 PM||6:45 PM||9:30 PM or next day|
|7:30 PM||8:00 PM||Next day 6:00 AM||Next day 5:30 AM|
Note: The bus typically arrives from Alajuela to Ciudad Quesada in about 3 hours, but this varies depending on traffic. The suggested bus to take is based off a 3 hour estimate. Additionally some buses are filled up before their departure time and so arriving “just in time” may mean waiting for another bus. Below is the full table of Ciudad Quesada to La Fortuna Buses. [Updated February 2016]
|Por Chachagua||Por El Tanque||Other Options|
|5:00 AM||4:20 AM||6:30 AM (Tilarán)|
|6:00 AM||5:30 AM||2:30 PM (El Abanico)|
|8:00 AM||7:30 AM||3:55 PM (Tilarán)|
|10:30 AM||9:00 AM|
|12:20 pm||1:00 PM|
|3:30 PM||3:30 PM|
|5:15 pm||5:00 PM|
|8:00 pm||6:00 PM|