San Jose to Ciudad Quesada - Costa Rica

Transportation Services


From San Jose downtown and from San Jose Airport to Ciudad Quesada, we have Private Services.

Please find right below complete information. You will be able to make reservations and pay online right away by clicking on the "BOOK NOW" button or if you have questions and comments please send them all by clicking on the "INQUIRE" button.


Private VIP Service (departing any time of your election)

Private Service Rate:

$200 for the service from 1 up to 6 passengers / 2 hrs drive

Service Description: (Private Service San Jose to Ciudad Quesada)

This is a private service with your own driver and own vehicle door to door. At the time of your election our driver will go to the location of your preference to pick you up from there you will be assisted. If needed we will stop in a restaurant, supermarket or drugstore.

Rate for the service, not person. from 1 up to 6 passengers. Rates vary depending on your drop off location and if the service is operated between 6pm and 6am.

You will be drop off directly at the location of your preference. Advance reservations required




Other Popular Routes from San Jose:

San Jose to Manuel Antonio

San Jose to Jaco

San Jose to Nicoya

San Jose to Puerto Viejo

San Jose to Tamarindo

San Jose Monteverde

San Jose to Santa Teresa

San Jose to Montezuma

San Jose to Papagayo


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Ciudad Quesada 
(San Carlos)

POP 29,900

The official name of this small city is Ciudad Quesada (sometimes abbreviated to ‘Quesada’), but all the locals know it as San Carlos, and local buses often list San Carlos as the destination. It’s long been a bustling ranching and agricultural center, known for its talabaterías (saddle shops), where a top-quality saddle can cost US$1000. Get a sense of that at Feria del Ganado (a cattle fair and auction), which is held every April and accompanied by carnival rides and a tope (horse parade).

Although San Carlos is surrounded by pastoral countryside, the city has developed into the commercial center of the region – it’s gritty and quite congested. Fortunately, there’s no real reason to enter the city, except to change buses. The hot springs and resorts are located about 8km east of town, heading toward Aguas Zarcas.

As it’s the regional market town, you’ll find plenty of ATMs, internet cafes, groceries and shops around Parque Central.

Termales del Bosque

(Tel 2460-4740;; hot springs incl lunch adult/child US$21/19; p) Luxury here is low-key, with therapeutic soaking available in seven natural hot and warm-water springs. The stone pools are surrounded by lush greenery and built into the riverbank, in a forested valley populated by morpho butterflies. It’s a welcome antidote to the overdone, overpopulated springs in La Fortuna.

In addition to the springs, several airy cottages are arranged around the junglelike grounds at this recommended resort (doubles including breakfast US$95).

El Tucano Resort

(Tel 2460-6000;; spa admission US$75; p) This posh but ageing resort is set amid gorgeous primary forest. The thermal springs are tapped into three warm pools of varying temperatures – perfect for soaking away your ills. The most unique feature is the spring-fed river that streams through the property, creating warm rapids and hot holes to delight local swimmers.

The spacious, colonial-style rooms (doubles US$120 to US$136, suites US$145 to US$200) enjoy forest views from the terrace.

Getting There & Away

The Terminal Quesada is about 2km from the center of town . Taxis (US$1) and a twice-hourly bus (US$0 .50) make regular runs between town and the terminal . walking there is fine if you don’t mind hauling your luggage uphill . Popular bus routes from Ciudad Quesada:

La Cruz and Peñas Blancas US$7, six hours, 6am (Transnorte) and 2pm (La Cañera) .

La Fortuna US$2, 11⁄2 hours, 12 daily between 5:15am and 9:30pm .

Los Chiles (Chilsaca) US$5, two hours, 12 daily from 5am to 7:15pm .

Puerto Viejo de Sarapiquí (Transportes Linaco) US$4, two hours, eight daily from 4:40am to 6:30pm .

San José (Autotransportes San José-Venecia) US$4 .50, 21⁄2 hours, 11 daily from 5am to 6pm .

Upala (Empresario Unidos del Norte) US$5, three hours, 5:30am, 10am, 1:30pm and 4:45pm .


East of Muelle de San Carlos and Ciudad Quesada, the highway traces the northern limits of the Cordillera Central as flowering vines scramble down the mountains and threaten to overtake the road. In the distance, the northern lowlands appear as a patchwork quilt of cane fields and rice paddies. The road momentarily straightens out as it enters the affluent rural town of Venecia. There’s a lively square and a maze of almost suburban streets stretching into the surrounding hills.

If you’re looking to break up the driving, spend the night here in a ‘medieval castle’, Torre Fuerte Cabinas (Tel 2472-2424; s/d US$24/28; p a W ). It’s a sweet, kitschy hotel, family run, with lots of homey touches like silk flowers and plants. It’s a perfect roadside cheapie. And yes, there’s a turret.

About 3km from downtown, set 700m down a steep dirt road in a seething rainforest is Recreo Verde (Tel 2472-1020; www.; pools adult/child US$12/8, cabins adult/child US$30/20), a family-friendly lodge with mineral baths. This is a Tico favorite; and though it’s not exactly luxurious, it is affordable and fun. It has three pools set just above the roaring river, as well as hiking trails and a campground. Spacious polished wood cabins have full kitchens and a pair of rockers on the porch.

Boca Tapada Area

Here’s an off-the-beaten-track destination for adventurous souls. The rocky roads and lack of signage (even less than usual!) could mean a few unintended detours, but it’s worth the effort for a glimpse into the ecological extravaganza of pristine rainforest. On the roads that pass pineapple fields and packing plants, your fellow travelers will be commuting caballeros (cowboys) and campesinos going about their day-to-day business. And at the end of the road, you’ll be rewarded with a luxuriant bit of rainforest replete with the song of frogs and rare birds, and an inkling of the symbiosis that can happen when humans make the effort. Local lodges offer rainforest tours into the Refugio Nacional de Vida Silvestre Mixto Maquenque.

Sleeping & Eating

Laguna del Lagarto Lodge (Tel 2289-8163;; s/d/tr US$51/75/80; p W ) Surrounded by rainforest, this German-run lodge is legendary among bird-watchers. Rustic screened rooms share large, hammock-strung verandas. It’s not fancy, but it’s wild and lovely, with chances to get up close and personal with wildlife. There are 10km of trails, and canoes to explore the surrounding lagoons, where caimans dwell and Jesus Christ lizards make tracks across the water’s surface.

Mi Pedacito de Cielo (Tel 2200-4782, 8308-9595;; s/d/tr US$65/75/85; p W ) Perched above the Río San Carlos, Mi Pedacito de Cielo (‘my little piece of heaven’) is a rustic retreat, with 14 wooden bungalows offering river and rainforest views. Guests can swing in the hammock-chairs to watch the sunset and listen to the rainforest come alive. The super-friendly service and excellent home-cooked meals are perks, as is the attached rainforest reserve with hiking trails.

Maquenque Eco-Lodge (Tel 2479-8200;; r incl breakfast from US$106; p W s ) S Set on 60 glorious, bird-filled hectares, 14 unique and lovely bungalows overlook a lagoon and tropical garden. The place is a birders’ paradise, with countless species flocking to feeders and fruit trees on the grounds. There’s also an onsite restaurant, which serves excellent home-cooked food, primarily using ingredients from the ‘green garden’ on the grounds.

Prices include a guided morning rainforest hike, a student-led tour of a local school and use of canoes on the lagoon. The lodge also offers guests a chance to support sustainable tourism by planting a tree in the rainforest.

Getting There & Away

getting to Boca Tapada is an adventure in itself . The nearest town of note is Pital, north of Aguas Zarcas . After passing through Pital, turn right after the church on the right and soccer field on the left, and continue through the village of Veracruz . At the del huerto pineapplepacking plant, hang a left and continue along the paved road . About 10km later, where the pavement ends, turn right at the intersection . when you come to the gas station, turn right again and follow the signs to Boca Tapada . it’s slow, rough 40km, but worth it .

Buses reach Boca Tapada on a two-hour
trip from Pital, departing Pital at 9:30am and 4:30pm . You can reach Pital on frequent buses from Ciudad quesada (US$2, 11⁄2 hours) or four daily buses from San José (US$4, 21⁄2 hours) . Leaving Boca Tapada, the buses to Pital depart at 5:30am and 12:30pm .

The lodges can also arrange transfers from La Fortuna or San José .

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