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I am aware of public buses, flights, and shuttle bus companies Grayline and Interbus

Do you have other suggestions? Are there easy ways to book shared cars or shuttles with other travelers? Do you particularly recommend or advise against any of these?

Our route will be San Jose ⇨ Tortuguero ⇨ Arenal ⇨ Monteverde ⇨ Manuel Antonio ⇨ San Jose. (So we will not take any flights most likely.)

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Remember you can only reach Tortuguero national park by boat (e.g. from Limón) or plane. Overall I'd recommend public buses in Costa Rica as they are pretty easy and very cheap. (I refrain from writing a proper answer as I didn't visit any of those places (except SJ), and only used normal buses.) –  Jonik Nov 30 '11 at 7:05
    
Costa Rican buses are indeed super cheap... if you're comparing to first world western countries. If you're coming from elsewhere in Central America you will be in for a rude shock since CR prices are orders of magnitude higher than elsewhere in CA! –  hippietrail Dec 17 '11 at 13:08
    
@hippietrail Expat gentrification effect, perhaps. –  Jonathan Van Matre Dec 20 '11 at 19:33
    
@JonathanVM: Indeed. I decided last time I was in CA to go all the way from Mexico to Panama strictly on the cheapest buses I could find, preferably all chicken buses and I remember waiting for hours with another guy at the border after crossing from Nicaragua for a cheap crappy bus to come. Finally we realized that CR was just more advanced/expensive across the board even than we expected and cut our losses and got on a not-cheap-by-our-standards bus. –  hippietrail Dec 20 '11 at 19:48
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This is not specifically for Costa Rica but just to mention the obvious:

If you can find a few people you could rent a car or share a taxi.

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