How does one get to Parque National Barrio Honda by bus?

By John A. Davis

Ok here is the answer and some info. There is a bus that leaves Nicoya and will get you 800m from the park or Hotel Las Cavernas link.  It leaves from La Parada Municipal(Mercado) in Nicoya @ 11:30am & 4:30am. Make sure you tell them “Parque National Barra Honda” link and not just “Barra Honda” (the town).

There is a return bus at 7am & 12pm. Saturdays only morning bus and on Sunday no bus.

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Here is more info:

You will have to walk the 800m to the park entrance. If no car, then uphill another 2km to get to the trails and anther 2km to get to either the lookout(Mirada) or the big cavern. You pay for entrance and guide at the park entrance. Not sure you need a guide if you are going in the cavern, just hiking/backpacking. Bring items to wash the dirt off your hands if climbing down into the cavern. Dirt from the shoes somehow makes it onto everything you touch. More water and papertowels work, I luckily had wet wipes and water. More water the better especially if you are backpacking and camping out. There are 3 English speaking guides and high riding 2×4’s can make it the whole way, if not to just 50m from the top parking lot. Suzuki Swift type car might be too low and difficult to find place to park if such is the case. Cavern climb is tough but doable and they belay you on a strong rope should you slip. Bring something to wipe the sweat/fog off your eyeglasses. Go as early as possible, cavern is only open 8am-1pm. I noticed as backpacking option on the sign up sheet. Guide said monkeys weren’t a problem.

The hotel Las Cavernas cost me 10k Colones with aircon/breakfast. Was not fancy. Nice swimming pool and owners do not speak English. I made some new friends with them.
If coming by car look for signs for the park and DO NOT take a route instead that Google maps says, 8 minutes faster. Google blew it until I was actually there and heading out, and no, Waze couldn’t even find the place. No internet or phone service once you pass through town of Barra Honda. Best food options, restaurant/do your own are in Nicoya. Hwy 21 out of Nicoya, turn onto Hwy 18 and you will start seeking signs. Hope this helps.


John can be reached at: Facebook


Bus facts

It is estimated that there are 15,200 buses in Costa Rica, of which 31% are public transport and 69% of student transportation and special services. In its entirety, the buses are responsible for 14% of CO emissions. Source





The buses in Costa Rica range from old, recycled US school buses to modern, comfortable, air-conditioned coaches.  I have a collection of bus photos on Facebook (see the link below).  I particularly like the vintage photos below that show what people had to do to get to the Caribbean not so long ago and the effort the bus companies went to to get them there.

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Collection of bus pictures

For people who love the buses, here are some blogs which capture, identify, and categorize the actual buses used in Costa Rica.

Palmares, Alajuela

Getting to Palmares

Here is a map with all the destinations the buses in Palmares go.

Google Maps link to map below


There is one bus station and two bus stops.  The main station is modern and clean and is where the local buses leave from.  Across the street from the main bus station is the bus stop where the bus to Atenas departs.  Finally, on the west side of Palmares is where the local traveling to Buenos Aires departs.


Bus routes in Palmares (linked to schedules)

Palmares – San Ramon

San Jose – Palmares Autotransportes

Palmares – San Jose Autotransportes

Cocaleca – Palmares

Palmares – Esquipulas

Esquipulas – Palmares

Palmares – La Granja

La Granja – Palmares

Alajuela – Palmares

Athens – Palmares

San Ramon – Palmares

Palmares – Santiago

Palmares – Athens

Naranjo – Palmares

Santiago – Palmares

Palmares – Naranjo

Palmares – Cocoleca

Palmares – Hacienda Los Pinos

Hacienda Los Pinos – Palmares

Palmares – Calle Vargas

Vargas street – Palmares

Palmares – Calle Ramirez

Ramirez Street – Palmares

Palmares – Rincón de Zaragoza – Quebradas

Rincón de Zaragoza – Quebradas – Palmares

San Jose – Palmares Transp Palmareños

Palmares – San Jose Transp Palmareños

San Ramon – Naranjo

Naranjo – San Ramon

Photos of Palmares

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