Interbus in Costa Rica


Over a year ago my daughter, Lisa, and I planned a 2-week trip to Costa Rica after I read of such an adventure in ITN (Aug. ’05, pg. 80).

In the original plan, we were going to do our own driving and thought this would be a fun way to experience the country with its wide variety of offerings. As time passed and we read of some of the weather conditions, crime, poor quality of roads and lack of direction markers, we asked for input from readers and then decided to seek an alternative to our driving. We took our trip Nov. 11-15, 2006, and here are our experiences with Interbus in Costa Rica.

To see what alternatives might be possible, I contacted Veronika (e-mail veronika.sicher@adventure-costarica.com), our travel agent in Costa Rica with Tierra Verde Adventures (Apdo.198-6100, Ciudad Colón, Costa Rica; phone 011 506 249 2354, e-mail tverde@racsa.co.cr or visit www.adventure-costarica.com).

Veronika suggested we use Interbus (phone 011 506 283 5573, fax 011 506 283 7655 or visit www. interbusonline.com), a private shuttle service, to get from one hotel to the next.

Veronika booked all of our Interbus trips. Here is a breakdown of the trips, the driving times and the per-person prices we paid: transfers (taking the two of us in a 9-seat van from the airport twice [one of those times after our flight from Sámara to San José] and to the airport once), $30; from San José to Fortuna (eight people in a 9-seat van for four hours), $29; from Fortuna to Monteverde (nine in a 12-seat van for 3½ hours), $39; from Monteverde to Rincón de la Vieja (six in a 9-seat van for 3½ hours), $39, and from Rincón de la Vieja to Sámara (just the two of us in a 9-seat van for four hours), $110.

Since we had prepaid, there was no money handled. We had been given a booklet of vouchers with times of departure, and each time I just handed a sheet to the driver and we were off.

The drivers were always on schedule and sometimes early. We always had a stop of about 20 to 30 minutes along the way.

For us, it was “the way to go.” We watched the marvelous scenery, chatted and thoroughly enjoyed our ride. It was stress-free and dependable.

One of the very nice experiences we had was enjoying the company of the other riders in the vans. Since there were just the few of us, we talked and even became friends, as we seemed to keep running into one another.

A consequence of using such a service is that, from the moving van, it is hard to take pictures. Also, since we had no car, we did use a taxi to get to Tabacón Hot Springs. On the local tours, pickup service was an option which required a few dollars.

Our trip from Rincón de la Vieja National Park to Sámara at the coast was a “custom” trip because it was not on their schedule; therefore, we were the only passengers. We actually had the driver stop and wait while we bought our groceries for the week, as we were staying at a time-share.

The expensive leg from Rincón de la Vieja to Sámara made the cost of our all-Interbus trip very close to that of a similar trip made by rental car; otherwise, Interbus is cheaper.

If anyone has questions, I will gladly share specific information.

JOAN STEVENS

Portland, OR