Let the adventure begin
Day 1 arrived at Juan Santamaria airport at 7 am. We chickened out and took the $20 USD taxi to bus station 7-10
Day 1 bought bus tickets to La Fortuna on the top floor of the 7-10 bus station. I think the bus company was called Venecia and they had a 11:50 am bus to La Fortuna. Cost 2,380 Colones and took about 5 hours with lots of stops.
Day 4 did the jeep-boat-horseback-van tour around Lake Arenal to get to Monteverde. Cost $85 USD/person and the horseback riding was for about 10 km and took a couple hours. It was awesome! Road to Santa Elena was unpaved but not as bad as I thought it was going to be. I heard some horror stories from friends.
Charter bus from Santa Elena town to Santa Elena reserve was $4 round trip.
Day 7 Caught the 4:20 am bus from Santa Elena to Puntarenas. It picks up at the top of the hill near the Banco Popular and Sabor Tico not at the Banco Nacional as Lonely Planet said. We had a fun run up the hill with all our gear! Can’t remember how much this bus cost but it wasn’t much. I believe there was free wifi too. Took about 3.5 hours to get to Puntarenas.
Day 7 Last stop in Puntarenas is the bus station and we bought tickets for the 9 am bus to Quepos. Cost was 2305 Colones and there was free wifi. This bus broke down (the engine seized) so we had to wait until they sent another bus to pick us up. It was 36C with no A/C and it was a very long bus ride (felt like 3+ hours plus the delay). Didn’t feel super great once we got into Quepos. But free wifi – yay!
Bus from Quepos to Manuel Antonio was like 295 colones, super cheap!
Day 9 bus from Quepos to San Jose. We paid a little more to get a “directo” bus back to San Jose. Tickets were 4365 Colones and you can buy them from the main bus station in town. The bus was late because it stops in Manuel Antonio first but it only make one bathroom stop. There was A/C on this bus but no free wifi. Took about 3 hours I think.