Terminal Atlántico Norte (Terminal MEPE)

I am a little confused by this station.   I think it might have been a main station before Terminal 7-10, next door, was built so it appears to have a few names.  When I look it up on Google, it shows that Terminal MEPE and Terminal Atlantico Norte are both at this location.  MEPE is the main company here primarily services to the Caribbean side with a major hub in Limon.  I say all this so when you tell the taxi driver where you are going to remember both names in case he does not know one.


I am probably the wrong person for this since I am so naive (I often strike up conversations with drug dealers and prostitutes not knowing their occupation until my wife hits me on the head) but I thought it was important to make folks aware that the area around Terminal 7-10 and Terminal MEPE has a bad reputation. I have been walking around and through the area for a year no knowing its reputation for a year without incident (daytime). I hear the telltale clue to seedy areas is the number of hourly hotels.  I knew it was seedy but I have been and lived in worse so am clueless but I see the guide books suggest caution in these area which is why I suggest folks take a taxi in and out to make sure you are safe. Again, I walk through here all the time but I am not looking for drugs or prostitutes and look like I know where I am going and am on a mission and so draw little attention. I marked the “red zones” below according to the guide books which I am sure are approximate.


If you want to see backpackers, this is the terminal to see them.  I might guess, half the folks on my bus were backpackers.  I am betting many are on their way to Panama.

2016-10-19 09.27.07.jpg

MEPE has a pretty simple route headed to Cahuita, Puerto Viejo, Bribri and Sixola where you cross into Panama


The MEPE bus pulls into the middle bay next to the Central bus on the right.


I wanted to mention that I noticed this station is also the home for Central Line.  Central Line, SA is a Nicaraguan company  dedicated to international transport service (daily) between San Jose – Managua and Managua – San Jose. facebook and website

A few other points.  There is a public bathroom that costs c200 and a restaurant on site.  Also, the taxi drivers are aggressive so be prepared when you step off the bus.

Oh, we really enjoy the Costa Rica children who are curious, polite and full of fun as they investigate why us old gringos are on the bus.



  • Lisa Valencia

    12/29, 11:44am

    Lisa Valencia

    Hi Rob, MEPE is one of the bus companies that go to the Caribbean from San Jose. The other, Caribbeaños, only goes to Limon city from San Jose.

    Both used to leave from the bus station called Caribbeaños. About 2 or 3 years ago MEPE had a disagreement with the owner of the bus station Caribbeaños and changed stations. At that time they began and are still leaving for the Caribbean from the bus station called Atlantic Norte. Which also has buses to San Carlos, northwest of San Jose.

    The bus stations are not owned by the bus companies. The bus companies contract use of the bus stations. So the name of the station for the direct bus to Puerto Viejo, is Atlantic Norte. Atlantico Norte It is on Avenida 9, calle 12 in Barrio Mexico. The name of the bus company that leaves for Puerto Viejo from Atlantico Norte is MEPE.

    I always tell people the name of the bus station and the address, (above). I do not mention the name of the bus company, in case some uninformed taxi driver goes to the old bus station. I have heard of this happening.

    As for the Caribbeanos bus which leaves from the Caribbeanos bus station and goes to Limon. Their buses leave more frequently and are nicer and more comfortable buses. My husband prefers this one. He goes to San Jose once a month. But I do not tell most guests about this because this bus only goes to Limon and they would have to changes buses and bus stations in Limon, which may confuse them.

    Lisa Valencia



4 thoughts on “Terminal Atlántico Norte (Terminal MEPE)

  1. When we used Deldu to go to Nicaragua we used to walk through that area…there were a few people sleeping on the streets but we never had any bother either.

    People do go on about rough areas of San Jose – or assume that all of San Jose is rough – but as far a we can see it is no worse than some areas of London or Paris where equally there are places you wouldn’t mooch about in at night.

    Mark you, people have some funny ideas. The first time we wanted to visit Granada a North American neighbour told us – in all seriousness – to walk in the middle of the road to avoid being mugged…


  2. Terminal MePe and “change money” office,
    Is at the Terminal MePe office “change maney” ?. Is there beneficial U$ rate comparing with other one?? What about “change maney” at Airport San Jose Santamarina?.
    Thanks for your reply Janusz


    • Exchanging money at the airport is probably the most convenient and most costly place to do it so it depends on if you value time or money more. If you need a lot of money, there are exchange companies on the internet who will fedex colones. I suggest going to the ATM by the Airport exit and getting $50 at their terrible rate and fees to get started and than find a Banco National or BCR ATM and get what you need. Personally, I suggest you go to a real ATM attached to a real bank since skimmers pop up sometime to steal you ATM at unofficial ATMs. Bring more than one ATM (some cards don’t work here) if that is how you are going to get money and tell you bank you are going to CR. Many places take US$ so bring a few days worth in crisp $20. Many people won’t have change for anything bigger and any tears or marks on the bill freaks them out.


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