How to get to Manuel Antonio seems to be an easy question with an easy answer. However, there are several options, and for us as locals, it relies on where are you coming from?
How to get to Manuel Antonio? Flying? Driving? On a private shuttle or car rental, or even the public bus. Let’s talk first about the main question here: Where are you coming from. And then, let’s see possible choices.
Juan Santamaría International Airport
Manuel Antonio is 161.03 km, 100.06 mi from the SJO Juan Santamaría International Airport, in the Central Valley.
Daniel Oduber International Airport in Liberia
Manuel Antonio is 257 km, 159.69 mi (Almost four hours driving) from the Liberia Internacional Airport (LIR), in the Guanacaste province.
Or you may be coming from some popular destinations, like Tortuguero, Arenal, Tamarindo, or Drake Bay.
But let’s talk first about coming straight from the international airports:
SJO: Juan Santamaría International Airport
Manuel Antonio is around a 2.5-hour trip from the Juan Santamaría International Airport in San Jose.
Route 27: Coastal Road
As you exit the International Aiport, you have to take Route 27 and detour in the Jaco exit, following the coastal road (Costanera).
Route 1: Cambronero
As you exit the airport take the Panamerican Highway (Route 1) to the left of the airport, and drive through areas like Grecia and Palmares until you arrive in the Hills of Cambronero.
The road turns much narrower in the mountains, and you have to be careful here. As this is the route for heavy huge trucks to use.
It can be a very slow and dangerous route, and it’s much easier to use any of the others.
Once at Puntarenas, you can take Route 27 and then 34 (Coastal Road) until you arrive in Quepos.
Route 2, 243 and 34: Dominical Route
South Panamerican Highway or Route 2. This is particularly useful if you are staying at Savegre or the mountains of Talamanca, Turrialba end even the Caribbean.
As you exit the airport you have to go across San Jose towards Cartago, and before entering the city you follow Route 2, up the mountains until you arrive in Perez Zeledon, a bustling town in the Southern Mountains.
Once there, you look for Route 243, which is a winding yet picturesque road that will get you to Dominical Beach. Once at the crossing, you take a right (Route 34) and arrive in Quepos.
Route 3 and 34: Mountains of Aguacate
Route 3 is the old way to go to the Central Pacific. A super winding road and quite dangerous, nowadays is probably the best alternative route from San Jose, if 27 is not possible.
Even if it is very winding and narrow, it will get you to Orotina. And from there, you take Route 34 (The Coastal Road)
From Liberia International Airport
We wouldn’t recommend for you to start driving from Liberia to Manuel Antonio after 2 or 3 PM. It might be dangerous, and especially you will miss a great route.
As you come out of the airport, you have to take a left, go until you arrive in Liberia, and at the lights, turn right.
You will be on Route 1, the Panamerican Highway.
From there to Puntarenas, the route is quite lovely. At first, the Guanacaste savannahs, the mighty blue volcanoes on the left-hand side, and several restaurants to make a bio-stop, if needed.
You will come out of the Panamerican Highway, get for about 10 kilometers in the Route 23, to finally, in Caldera, enter Route 27.
On this road, we highly recommend, to stop at the Orotina fruit stands, the Tarcoles Bridge (Go for the Nosavar restaurant and take the crocodiles tour), and, if you feel like getting in touch with the rainforest, take a guided hike in Carara National Park.
Open your eyes and ears for the mighty sight of the Scarlet Macaws and enjoy a super picturesque road.
You will pass several pasture areas, trees plantations, and of course, the oil palm fields, the town of Parrita, and the port of Quepos.
Once at Quepos, check where your hotel is. Mostly all hotels are located on top of the hill on the way to the National Park.
There is a bus route that comes straight from San Jose to Manuel Antonio.
You will have to go to 5th Street and Avenues 18/20 in San Jose to find Transportes Tracopa Terminal.
The schedule of the direct bus from San Jose is:
The public bus takes about 4 hours, and the fee is around $8 p/p
There are also “colectivos,” meaning that the bus stops everywhere. We don’t recommend this one. It is hot, crowded, and uncomfortable.
Buses arrive at the Central Market in Quepos.
From the Quepos bus terminal, you can catch a bus to Manuel Antonio. These buses go every half an hour.
From Liberia by public bus
You must first get to the Liberia terminal. From there, you catch a bus to Puntarenas and from there to Quepos.
Buses from Liberia to Puntarenas go at 5 AM, 7:45 AM, 8:30 AM, 9:30 AM, 10:30 AM, 12:30 AM, 2:40 PM, and 3:30 PM every day.
Buses from Puntarenas to Manuel Antonio are, every day at 5 AM, 7 AM, 9 AM, 11 AM, 1:30 PM, 2:30 PM, 4:30 PM, and 5:30 PM.
You can take shared or private transportation to Manuel Antonio.
We can pick you up at the airport or at your hotel in San Jose, or wherever you will be and bring you to Quepos at the most affordable rate.
And ask us, as we can get you a great discount if you book your transportation + tours with us.
A partaken shuttle (Different companies) from San Jose and Liberia to Manuel Antonio is around $60
Please contact us if you need help with transportation
Quepos has its local airport. It’s about a 30-minute flight from San Jose and costs around $75-$100 one way. The local airport is 5 from Quepos downtown.
If you are flying with Aerobell:
|1110||San José – Quepos||08:00||08:20|
|1300||San José – Quepos||12:30||13:40|
|1111||Quepos – San José||08:35||08:55|
|1301||Quepos – San José||13:55||14:15|
If you are flying with Sansa:
|San José – Manuel Antonio/Quepos||07:55||08:25|
|San José – Manuel Antonio/Quepos||09:20||09:50|
|San José – Manuel Antonio/Quepos||11:17||11:46|
|San José – Manuel Antonio/Quepos||14:20||14:49|
|San José – Manuel Antonio/Quepos||16:30||16:59|