An easy way to travel along parts of the central, west coast of Costa Rica is via the Puntarenas - Quepos bus. This route is serviced by T.Q.P — Transporte Quepos Puntarenas.
You can catch these buses in Punta Arenas or Quepos at their respective, official bus terminals or along any of the designated stops along their path. Common destinations serviced by this bus route include:
- Carara National Park
- Quebrada Ganado
- Quebrada Amarilla / Ocean Ranch Park
- Esterillos Oeste / Centro / Este
If you are catching the bus at a remote stop or any time you are the only one present at any bus stop, make sure that you are easily visible to the approaching driver. It is also a good idea to wave when you see your desired bus, to make sure that the bus driver knows you are interested in and stops for you, as there can be other buses passing along the same route that you may not be interested in.
Using this Bus Line
You can easily recognize this bus as it is lime green in color, and will always have a sign referring to Puntarenas, Jaco and/or Quepos in its front window. These buses are comfortable, highway coaches, but do not have washroom facilities on board.
Depending on where and when you catch this bus, you may have your choice of seating or you may need to stand. The buses tend to fill up most around the morning times when locals go to work or late afternoon times when they leave work.
Overall, this bus line provides a very safe and pleasant trip. However, you should always be mindful of your belongings and keep them on you, as much as possible. It is recommended to avoid stowing items in overhead compartments. Large items, like suitcases, can be stowed in below-deck storage compartments with the help of the bus driver.
The entire trip from Punta Arenas to Quepos (or vice-versa) takes about 3 hours. Other durations between destinations are as follows:
- Quepos - Parrita ~ 30 minutes
- Quepos - Esterillos Este ~ 50 minutes
- Quepos - Esterillos Centro ~ 55 minutes
- Quepos - Esterillos Oeste ~ 1 hour
- Quepos - Jaco ~ 1.5 hours
- Esterillos areas - Quebrada Amarilla / Ocean Ranch Park ~ 10 - 15 minutes
- Esterillos areas - Jaco ~ 20 to 30 minutes
- Esterillos areas - Carara National Park ~ 1 hour
- Punta Arenas - Jaco ~ 1.5 hours
- Punta Arenas - Esterillos areas ~ 2 hours
- Punta Arenas - Parrita ~ 2.5 hours
Buying Tickets and Trip Costs
If you are directly in Punta Arenas or Quepos at the bus terminal, you will need to purchase your tickets at the designated ticket window. Otherwise, if you are catching this bus anywhere else along its path, you purchase your ticket directly from the bus driver. You don’t have to have the exact fare amount, as the bus drivers do have change, but it is recommended to pay with amounts that are close enough to your trip fare. It is also best to have colones as forms of payment, not US dollars or any other currency. Some drivers may accept US dollars, some may not, and either way you cannot expect exact change back, if needed, etc.
Note as well that only the terminal purchases will give you a physical, paper ticket, the bus driver does not.
The actual fare will vary depending on the destination and distance of your travel. Below are a few sample fare costs for some of the destinations. Keep in mind that fares may change anytime and these are valid at the time of publishing this guide, and that some variations exist between location of ticket purchase. (CRC = Costa Rican Colones; pp = per person)
- Quepos to Esterillos areas = 890 CRC pp
- Esterillos areas to Quepos = 900 CRC pp
- Esterillos areas to Parrita = 750 CRC pp
- Esterillos areas to Quebrada Amarilla / Ocean Ranch Park = 750 CRC pp
- Esterillos areas to Jaco = 850 CRC pp
- Esterillos areas to Carara National Park = CRC pp
- Esterillos areas to Punta Arenas = 1600 CRC pp
- Jaco to Esterillos areas = 750 CRC pp
- Jaco to Quepos = 1300 CRC pp
- Punta Arenas to Esterillos areas = 1560 CRC pp
Unlike some buses in Costa Rica, this bus line is very reliable and is normally close to its estimated time of arrival or departure. However, to be on the safe side, it is always recommended to be at the bus stop at least 15 minutes earlier.
Please keep in mind that bus schedules can change at anytime and the times you see here are valid at the time of publishing this guide.
|Depart Quepos||Depart Puntarenas|
Below you will find a more detailed version of the schedule:
This bus line operates all days of the week, Monday through Sunday. “Salidas” refers to departures.
The time the bus passes through Jaco is a general estimate, and the bus may come around 10 minutes earlier or later. It will also depend what stop in Jaco you will be getting on or off the bus.
From Monday through Saturday, there are also additional buses that go only between Punta Arenas and Jaco. (see the bottom table)