I had to write this post.
I had to write this to let you know exactly what you are getting into when you are traveling through Central America by bus. I thought chicken buses were slow due to the fact they pick up every person who flags then down on the side of the road.
I was wrong.
Bus travel through some spots of Costa Rica makes molasses look like Speed Racer.
Example 1 – Day Trip to Tamarindo:
Locals say it is only an hour trip. I mean, it is only 33 kilometers away (~21 miles). Tamarindo is supposed to be a beginning surfer mecca and we were excited about renting a board.
What they don’t tell you is that is by car. If you rent a car, sure that is doable. But budget travelers like us, we bus it. We’re determined. We put ourselves through hell.
Four hours later we arrive in Tamarindo. I’m not kidding. What was supposed to be a day spent swimming, surfing, and picnicking the afternoon away became a two hour quick lunch and a jaunt along the beach.
Oh yeah, and don’t forget four hours back.
Example 2 – Moving on to Montezuma
As you can see on the map, Coco and Montezuma are both on the Nicoya Peninsula. You would think that the road to Montezuma would look something like this:
Oh, what the guides don’t explicitly state is that there is no bus/tourism infrastructure between these two points. I was scouring the internet trying to find some answers and asked Abby of The Jungle Princess (she lived in Coco, Costa Rica for a while!) how to get there.
Rent a car. Don’t go at night. Enjoy offroading.
Pura vida, right? The path to Montezuma is as follows:
Twelve hours later we arrive. Good thing we have started to embrace the Latin American way of transport and travel time. I can only imagine what a newbie traveler would think – or worse – someone on a time schedule! The whole thing really makes me reconsider getting a cheap flight.
This is one of the reasons why I’ll proclaim myself as a road warrior. Anyone who rides buses while traveling the world deserves the title as well. 8000 miles into our trip and we’re still pushing on, one bus at a time.
Disclosure: One of the links in this post was paid.