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We are planning a trip to Costa Rica and looking at taking the bus to get between places (e.g. San José, La Fortuna, Manuel Antonio, Sámara).

I'm looking for some advice on the best way to plan the journey. Is there a good site with accurate and complete bus schedules? Do we need to book ahead? Or just buy tickets when we get there? We'll also be travelling with a 10-month old -- anything else we should be aware of?

I know there are tourist shuttle bus companies Grayline and Interbus which we may use if necessary, but would prefer to use the public buses where we can.

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A few links:

Lonely Planet page about bus travel in Cost Rica

A PDF with bus schedules from all over the country including some information on how to use the buses. It is half in English, but some information is only in Spanish: 'Todos los dias' (every day) and 'Cada xx min.' (every xx minutes) and the names of the days: Lunes a Viernes (Monday to Friday), Sabados (Saturdays), Domingos (Sundays) and feriados (holidays)

I never planned or booked any of my bus trips in Costa Rica, I just went to the bus station. In the capital San Jose there is no central bus station, you need to find out where your bus leaves from. The PDF brochure mentioned above has the addresses of the bus companies.

The only thing I remember from buying tickets at a bus station in Costa Rica was that I yelled at an older woman for skipping a long line. It turned out that pensioners have the right to skip the line and she excepted my apologies.

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