FROM SAN JOSE
Public bus and boat through Cariari/La Pavona:
The Caribbean bus terminal (also known as Caribeņos or Gran Caribe) in Barrio Tournon is
where the buses depart to all points east of the central valley (Guapiles, Cariari, Limon, Cahuita, Puerto Viejo etc).
Take the 6:30 or 9:00am direct bus from the Caribbean bus terminal to Cariari.
This two-hour trip arrives at 8:30 or 11:00am in the dedicated San Jose direct bus terminal in Cariari. Walk (or take the
shuttle that is sometimes provided) to the local route bus terminal located 500 meters north (in the same direction you were
traveling when you arrived to Cariari).
Take the 9:00 or 11:30am bus from this other terminal to La Pavona. La
Pavona is the last stop on this route and is where you will find the boats that have come from Tortuguero and await the arrival
of the bus from Cariari. The boats generally depart for Tortuguero shortly after the arrival of the bus (around 11:00am
or 1:00pm). The Rancho La Suerte is a restaurant in La Pavona where you can get a snack and use the restrooms for a small
fee. There is safe parking here if you drive (see driving options below).
The boat normally takes about an hour and fifteen minutes to reach Tortuguero.
During the dry seasons (September-October or February-April) the boats may take two hours or more.
You can take a later direct bus to Cariari at 10:30am or 1:00pm and make the
connection with the 3:00pm bus to La Pavona. This is the last bus of the day that leaves Cariari for La Pavona. This
bus meets up with the last boat of the day that departs La Pavona for Tortuguero at around 4:30pm.
Important note: If the traffic or weather is bad, sometimes the 1:00pm bus
from San Jose arrives in Cariari after 3:00pm. You might need to take a taxi to catch up with the La Pavona bus that left
at 3:00 (about $30 maximum if you have to go all the way to La Pavona in the taxi). If you arrive in Cariari for some
reason after 3:30pm it will be difficult to reach the last boat in time unless the taxi driver drives very quickly (not recommended).
Please call us from Cariari if you missed the last boat. We recommend the Vista al Tortuguero hotel in Cariari
If you arrive in San Jose in transit to Tortuguero from somewhere else and
it is between 10:30am and 12:30pm you can take a direct bus to Guapiles that leaves every 45 minutes or so from the same bus
terminal (duration 1 hour 15 minutes) and then take a local bus from Guapiles to Cariari (duration 45 minutes). Don't
forget you will need to be in Cariari before 3:00pm to be able to catch the last bus to La Pavona.
There are no accommodations in La Pavona. The closest comfortable lodgings
are in Cariari.
If you are only staying one night or want to do the turtle tour
on the night of your arrival it is strongly advisable to come here on any boat that is NOT the last boat of the day (4:30pm)
from la Pavona. This last boat often arrives too late to arrange the necessary permit at the national park office.
Public boats to la Pavona currently leave from the public dock 150 meters
south of Casa Marbella at 5:30am, 9:00am, 11:00am and 2:45pm every day all year.
Shared water taxis depart to Moin almost every day at 10:00am