From San Jose Airport, fly to Golfito. There are two domestic airlines that fly to Golfito. They both have high season (December to April) and green (low) season schedules. High season Sansa flights run at 5:35 am (arriving at 6:33 am), 10:15 am (arriving at 11:13 am), and 3:15 pm (arriving at 4:43 pm). Sansa baggage fees can be found here. Nature Air high season flights run at 6 am (arriving at 6:40 am), and 3:30 pm (arriving at 4:25 pm). Nature air baggage fees can be found here. The flight costs about $90 one way. You can book with them in advance from your home country. From Golfito, the easiest way to get to Pavones is by taking a taxi, which should cost about $80 one way. Make sure it is an official red taxi. Ask for a taxi with 4 wheel drive (quatro por quatro), which is not absolutely necessary but makes for a smoother ride. Most of the taxi drivers are helpful, honest and reliable. We recommend Alex (8826-0800).
**Be sure to watch your luggage as bus stations are known for crime and theft in Costa Rica**
From San Jose: When you get to San Jose ask a marked red taxi to take you to the Tracopa bus station and take a bus to Golfito. There are two routes, one leaving at 6:30 am that travels the Costanera (beach highway). If you want to save half an hour of sleep time you can take the 7:00 am departure that takes the twisty-turny Cerro de la Muerte (Death Mountain) route. The second route is a bit more dangerous, and you will want to pack a sweatshirt for the bus ride, since it passes through the chilliest parts of Costa Rica. The earlier departure is recommended, because it is faster and well, doesn’t contain the word death in the route’s name. It is advised to purchase your tickets a day in advance to ensure a spot on the bus. Be sure to check your ticket for the right time and date. Fare: 7,680 colones. Get off at the hospital bus stop in Golfito and cross the road to the bus stop. Get comfy for you will have to wait a couple hours for the 3 pm departure to Pavones. This first bus stop is especially recommended if you have a lot of luggage, since it guarantees sitting space for yourself and your stuff. There are always vendors outside the hospital selling drinks and snacks. If you want a beer, take a marked taxi to the nearest super market! There is an ATM nearby at the COOPALIANZA bank that you can walk to and another a bit farther up at the Banco Nacional . Be sure to visit it if you don’t already have ample cash. There are no ATM machines in Pavones!
From Panama: In the border town of Paso Canoas take a marked collective taxi (taxi collectivo) (1,000 colones) to Laurel. The bus stop is next to the Mega Super in Laurel. The bus leaves for Conte at 11:00 am and 4:00 pm. To be safe, leave Paso Canoas half an hour before the bus departure. In Conte you will switch buses to Pavones. There are ATM machines in Paso Canoas (Banco Nacional and Banco de Costa Rica) and Laurel (Banco Nacional). Be sure to visit it if you don’t already have ample cash. There are no ATMs in Pavones.
From San Jose:
Paso Canoas is the bustling border town of Costa Rica and Panama. Despite its seedy nature, you grow to love it when the taxed prices at the Pavones’ markets no longer fit your budget. This is a great place to load up on groceries if you plan on preparing your own meals while visiting Pavones. This is also where you can purchase duty free alcohol and cigarettes, if that’s your thing. Once you make it through migration with your vehicle, which seems to be more complicated these days, turn left. The Panamanian side is to your left, where the prices are considerably cheaper than the Costa Rican side. Some recommended stores where you can find a great variety of food products include City Mall, Jerusalem and El Descuento. Just ask. They are all to the right after crossing the border. Most duty free stores are to the left on your way out of town.