David, Panama to San Jose, Costa Rica on Tracopa
By Bus from San José, Costa Rica to David, Panama through Paso Canoas
We’ve heard that three different companies make the journey from David, Panama to San Jose, Costa Rica. Panaline, Ticabus and Tracopa.
However, we are not sure if Panaline is even in business anymore since their web site has never worked. They might just not have a web site… we really don’t know.
We also found a web site through the Lonely Planet travel forums. It aggregates the bus schedules into one place and has been very helpful (once we figured out how to use it).
it shows that Panaline is still in business (+507-314-6383), but we didn’t take (or even call) Panaline. We wanted to take TicaBus, but we discovered in David that the only place to get a ticket on TicaBus is at their office which is somewhere at a grocery store on the InterAmericana Highway.
Since we were at Hotel Madrid, just two blocks from the bus station, we took Tracopa. And we found the journey from David, Panama to San Jose, Costa Rica to be pleasant, if a little cramped.
From David to the border (Frontera) it should take 45 minutes to one and a half hours. It really depends on the speed of the bus and the flow of traffic.
Overall though, the bus journey from David to the border to San José can take from 6 – 9 hours. Why such a big margin? Well, the roads in Costa Rica aren’t that good. The highway was fine, but cities have lots of bumpy roads. Also, at the border, sometimes buses can run into huge lines of trucks in front of them.
Crossing the border can take from 1 – 3 hours because of bureaucracy (Panamanian and Costa Rican combined).
Our personal experience is that it took 2+ hours at the border, and the crazy goofiness of the whole thing (unloading bags just to reload them, and then 5 minutes per person just to get a stamp on the Panamanian side. The Costa Rican side was basically going through the motions of a bag check, which really seemed to be there just to hold people up on the Costa Rican side.)
It was rather amusing to do once, but not something I would want to do daily, or even every three months, as many expats do.
In my mind, the only way to look at it is with amusement. If you look at the border crossing at Pasao Canoas in any other way, you’re bound to be frustrated.
Roads in Panama are definitively better than their counterpart in Costa Rica.
Tracopa leaves from David to San Jose at 8:30 a.m. They stop at San Jose (as well as other places along the way. Tracopa’s phone number in David is +507-775-0585.
Apparently, (though we don’t have personal experience with Ticabus yet) Ticabus leaves from San José to Panama City at 12:00 p.m. noon and 11:00 p.m. Their buses from Panama City to San José, Costa Rica leave at 11:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. The daytime buses are nicer buses known as “Ejecutivos”. Their phone number in Panama City is +507-314-6385.
You can also look for a bus to the Costa Rican border, and buses from there to San Jose every hour or so.
But if you’re in David and wanting to get to San Jose, we can definitely recommend Tracopa.
Here’s a map with the Hotel Madrid and the bus station in David. Zoom out or zoom in to get better views.
Buy your tickets on Tracopa the day before (or get to the Tracopa office early on the day of your travel to Costa Rica).
Tracopa’s office at the bus terminal in David is easy to miss.
It’s a little storefront (little) between platforms 3 and 4.
Here’s a pic with people standing in front of Tracopa’s office (so you’ll know what to look for).
This article by Jonathan Kraft
If you found this helpful, please comment below.
November 21st, 2009
- November 28, 2013 12:28 AM : Poem: The River
- November 26, 2013 12:34 AM : Poem: A Maze
- November 25, 2013 02:52 AM : Poem: What Legacy?
- November 24, 2013 12:36 AM : Poem: Regarding Guilt
- November 17, 2013 03:55 PM : A downtown billboard
- November 16, 2013 04:55 PM : 25 More Places to Travel
- November 15, 2013 12:21 AM : Poem: True Beauty
- November 10, 2013 02:00 AM : Poem: The Shortness Of Life
- November 08, 2013 12:26 AM : Poem: To The Mouse
- November 05, 2013 09:31 AM : Scary Skydiving
- November 05, 2013 07:31 AM : Poem: Knowing I'm An Angel (To You)
- November 03, 2013 12:41 AM : Poem: Confused
- November 01, 2013 12:39 AM : Poem: There Is A Light
- October 31, 2013 12:18 AM : Poem: The Fog
- October 30, 2013 01:12 AM : Poem: Why Do I Run To Utopia
- October 29, 2013 12:35 AM : Poem: A Rose
- October 26, 2013 10:51 PM : Sprichwort (Advice): Pursue The Story In Your Heart
- October 25, 2013 05:30 AM : Denver in the morning
- October 22, 2013 06:39 AM : Love For A City: An Amazing Tribute
- October 18, 2013 12:15 AM : Poems: The Elements
- October 17, 2013 08:56 AM : Crazy Human Influence: Easier Thank You Think
- October 10, 2013 06:30 PM : Same same, but different
- October 01, 2013 12:37 AM : Poem: Touchdown In Memphis
- September 30, 2013 11:37 AM : Happy 6th Anniversary!
- September 29, 2013 09:08 PM : Super Slow-Mo First Time Foods
- September 27, 2013 12:52 PM : Happy Birthday Results
- September 27, 2013 11:18 AM : Happy birthday to me!
- September 26, 2013 07:00 AM : Poem: A Prayer For Growth
- September 24, 2013 01:43 AM : Poem: What New Thing?
- September 20, 2013 10:25 AM : Small Snails
- September 18, 2013 10:47 AM : Tiny Texas frog
- September 18, 2013 10:44 AM : Tiny Texas frog
- September 17, 2013 09:36 PM : A Beautiful Tribute to the Place I Call Home
- September 17, 2013 12:45 AM : A World of Pure Imagination
- September 15, 2013 01:41 AM : Poem: In My World Of Now