Bus Schedules

To get started riding the buses, the first thing you need is a schedule so you know where to stand and when. More and more online resources are becoming available, but many times you will need to seek out the elusive paper schedule. The paper schedules come in many forms and sizes and are found in many places. Here is the paper schedule I cut my teeth on when I first arrived in CR. It was given to me by our caretaker, and I guarded it jealously for fear I would lose the only copy in the world.


The first thing I did was take a picture of it with my phone camera so I would have it with me always.  I never thought to ask the bus driver for a schedule, but once when he thought I was confused, he handed me one.

One thing to note is that the bus may have different schedules depending on the day of the week. So my schedule above is for Monday – Saturday and below (on the reverse side of the paper) is the Sunday schedule.


The Sunday schedule (Domingos) also serves as the holiday schedule, though I am not always sure which holidays are schedule change holidays. For example, a fiesta that closes all the streets may not be an official holiday even though everything is closed.  Best to be aware and ask beforehand if you need to travel on a holiday.

Costa Rica Holidays & Fiestas

So, where are the schedules posted? It can be as easy as looking at a big board at busy bus stations or in the window of a shop for local buses. You may feel as if you are on a scavenger hunt as you walk around looking at all the shop windows where the schedules might be posted. Once I find them, I whip out my phone and take a picture.

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Here is where I found the schedule for some of my local routes in San Ramon. Note: these are not all the schedules and I had to look around a little more to find where they posted the rest.

Another place the schedules can be found is posted in the front of the bus. I find working with that one to be the most challenging. Typically, I am in line queuing up for the bus to get in and 1) don’t want to slow boarding down and 2) don’t want to draw any more attention to the fact I am a newbie gringo than I already bring on myself by the way I dress. So, for the front of the bus schedules, I typically try to capture them as I exit.

Here is the schedule posted behind the bus driver on the local bus from El Cajon to Grecia. You can see it is intense and would take a while to study which makes taking a picture more practical.

Many times the bus stops have the schedules posted like this one in Naranjo.  By the way, don’t trust the picture.  I think this bus is not blue anymore.

Here is the schedule posted on the bus stop behind the church in Naranjo for the bus to San Ramon and Palmares. It was posted along some “For rent” posts and could be missed.
Here is one of my favorite schedules since it has all the information and it has character.

The best ones are the big overhead signs at busy stations like this one in Alajuela. The only problem is there is nothing that cries tourist like staring up at the big board for a long time.  Note: the schedule tells you the time but not where to stand, so maintain your patience and sense of adventure.

At the busy Alajuela station, you can easily see this big board schedule which is clean and new but also has many manual alterations as things have changed.
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Big board bus schedule in Liberia local bus station

The most important thing to remember about the bus schedules is that they may change. (Although, I have been very surprised that the buses run on time given Ticos’ Pura Vida attitude to life. Perhaps because the buses are as essential for getting a majority of the population to work and to appointments, they take bus travel and schedules very seriously.) But if you absolutely, must be some place on time, factor into your plans the possibility of schedule changes, understand the alternate routes, and have the number for a taxi as a backup.

Finally, I am sure all these paper schedules’ and signs’ days are numbered by the advent of online resources which include internet bus schedules and phone apps to make the information easier to access.  For a list of online resources and phone apps for bus schedules, see the “Getting Started” link at the top of the blog.

Online schedules and phone apps found here

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Online thebusschedule.com site

Post Script

I learned this schedule is for packages not passengers.


2015-09-18 16.09.50

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