Last week we traveled from Grecia to Tamarindo by bus. We heard from our friends about this direct bus from San Jose to Tamarindo called “Empresa Alfaro“.
Empresa’s station in San Jose is in the Coca Cola area, just one block from the Grecia Bus Station:
To Tamarindo there are two departure times: 11:30 which we took, that goes through Liberia first, and 3:30 with goes “straight” to Tamarindo. We wanted to get there as early in the day as possible, so we took the 11:30 (note: these prices are out of date):
Our bus day adventure went like this:
- 8:50 am – caught bus from our house in El Cajón de Grecia to Grecia (₡460 per person)
- 9:40 am – caught bus from Grecia to San Jose (₡1,110 per person)
- 10:50 am – got to Grecia Bus Station in San Jose, walked to the Empresa Alfarro Station and got in line for a ticket (₡5,830 per person)
We were assigned seats 43 and 44, which turned out to be the 2nd to the last row of the bus. So, this is where it comes in handy that I did this before you – I recommend you get there more than 30 minutes ahead of your scheduled bus time to purchase tickets, as the bus will fill up fast. On their website, they had an option to reserve tickets – but it didn’t work.
At 11:25 am they called over the speaker for us to line up (how did I know this? I caught the words “Tamarindo” and “Puerta Uno” in the garbled Charlie Brown teacher sounding broadcast):
We went through a door (Puerta 1), and there was a guy who took our ticket and wrote something down on a clipboard. If you have luggage to store underneath the bus, at this point you can give to another guy and they give you a little ticket stub and put it underneath the bus with you watching. Then we got on the bus:
Inside… I was impressed. Greg had a bit more leg room than he does on the normal buses we usually take (in Grecia, and also from Grecia to San Jose). Also, there was air conditioning! I wasn’t expecting this, so it was a pleasant surprise, even though the closer we got to the coast, the less cool it was.
We departed promptly at 11:31 am, and I was happy to see this would indeed be a “direct” ride, as all the seats were filled with assigned ticket holders. However, I soon was proven wrong, as we stopped a few times going out of the city and picked up people. Not sure what kind of ticket they had, or if they paid when they got on, but these people actually STOOD for the whole ride. Guess they really wanted to get to Tamarindo.
We stopped at 1:15 pm for a 20 minute break. There were free restrooms (ladies – remember the toilet paper is outside the restroom, be sure to grab some before entering) and snacks for purchase. We bought some fruit, chips and a Fresca to share. After 20 minutes, the driver beeped a few times, and that was all the warning we had, soon we were off again. I was astonished that no one had missed getting back on.
By 1:40 pm we were back on the road and rolling. After the break it took a while to cool the bus down, so we were a bit warm, but it wasn’t unbearable. Interestingly we stopped in several little towns – sometimes people got off, but also I saw lots of packages being delivered. If you visit their website, you’ll see that you can send packages this way. It seemed the closer we got to Tamarindo, the more stops we made (so… not so “direct” after all).
We finally reached Tamarindo at 5:45 pm. Total time – 6 hours and 15 minutes. I thought the bus was clean, pretty cool (with the AC), and the drivers were safe.
NOTE: When we came back from Tamarindo to San Jose, we did not take the Liberia route, but the “more direct” one which left at 5:30 am. I was not as impressed with this bus – it was not as new looking, there were no pockets in front of you to store stuff, and the AC did not work very well at all. That being said, it was a bit shorter overall (total time was 5 hours and 45 minutes). (Oddly we were randomly assigned the same seats, 43 and 44, again!)
That’s all for now! — Jen