Private and Shared Shuttles

A more direct and timely way to travel

Reviewed

on: 15/04/22

by: Oliver Williams, staff

Private and shared shuttles are the best option to explore Latin America

Private and Shared Shuttles

Getting around Latin America by public transportation on vacation is a great choice for many travelers, but for others, it burdens them with complications they would rather not endure. For example, public transport users who don’t research and reserve online end up going to bus terminals far from the city, not finding available schedules to travel, calling transportation offices and being hung up on or getting non-sensible answers, and losing a seat for not making the purchase on time. These are some of the situations that any traveler would like to avoid.

For these and other reasons, many travelers are increasingly opting for private or shared shuttle transportation as a safe and more expeditious alternative. Private shuttles are cars, vans, or small buses whose only schedule and itinerary are that which the private passenger dictates. They free the private passenger from having to spend so much of their vacation time dealing with the logistics of transportation and instead let transportation adapt to their location, their schedule, and their needs.

Shared shuttles are also smaller vehicles than buses, but operate either on a fixed or fluid schedule on a popular route for a higher price per seat than a bus. A fluid schedule means that the shared shuttle won’t depart until enough passengers fill the seats, so it depends on the size of the vehicle. Shared Shuttles can be organized online by those willing to take on an organizer’s role through programs like the AndesTransit Shuttle Club. This is often a great option for a solo traveler who wants a more direct and quiet service to their destination but willing to recruit other travelers to share the cost on a seat-by-seat basis. When you are activated into the Shuttle Club, you gain access to a shared shuttle schedule where you can participate in organizing other people to sign up for the same trip until the quota of paid travelers is filled.

Both private and shared shuttles can be arranged through the AndesTransit platform in the same place you would reserve bus tickets, giving you all the tools and information to make a decision about which option is the best for your particular context, price, schedule, and itinerary.

Shuttles in Central America: domestic and international

Being in the center of Central America, Costa Rica is the best base from which to arrange shuttles to move you around inside the country and to the neighboring countries not so far away. The most popular route is National Route 1 (connecting the cities of San José, Punta Arenas, Guanacaste, and the Nicaraguan border). National Route 2 (linking San José, Palmar Norte/Sur, and south to the border of Panama) is also increasingly in demand, as it gets you a number of attractions and national parks like Piedras Blancas. The other route to the famous Bocas del Toro of Panama is going from San Jose to Caribe Sur on Route 32.

While each country imposes its own border and visa restrictions that have to be researched before you plan your shuttle trip, moving between Costa Rica and Panama tend to be the easiest, followed by crossing to Nicaragua. In the north, moving between Guatemala and Honduras and El Salvador are common, but can often be interrupted due to the ongoing conflicts inside those countries. Belize’s most common neighbor to visit is the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico, but it also has a main route to Guatemala.

All of these domestic and international routes are possible through private shuttle arrangements that AndesTransit can help you plan and reserve.

Shuttles in Colombia and Ecuador and cross-border

Moving around in charter transportation (as private shuttles are known in some countries of the region) will allow you to enjoy extensive green landscapes such as the Eje Cafetero, the cultural heart of Colombia and one of the most sought-after regions by tourists. There you will find countless botanical gardens, hot springs, and tourist-friendly towns such as Salento and Armenia, undoubtedly the strong cards of the coffee country.In Ecuador, shared shuttles are the most popular option for crossing the border between Ecuador and Colombia, and then inside the country to get to major destinations like Baños, Cuenca, Puerto Lopez, Mindo, and more.

A helpful site focused on Ecuador shuttle (and bus to some degree) transportation is ecuadorbuses.com, and there you can find a shuttle calculator to help budget your private shuttle trip. There’s also a guide of cross-border routes in Latin America for those interested in moving to other international borders.

Shuttles in Peru

Traveling by land in a shuttle within Peru is not as common as in other countries, but there are some important exceptions.

One centers around the Ica-Nazca-Paracas region, which is compact enough to pack in a lot of attractions and diverse experiences that would make the best use of your time in a private shuttle. For example, touring the Pisco producing cellars and vineyards, seeing the famous desert oasis of Huacachina, and then heading out to the amazing Paracas seashore, all while still making time for heading over to Nazca to encounter the legendary Nazca lines. A private shuttle can be arranged for you to fit all or part of these experiences of an epic Peruvian adventure so that you don’t go home empty-handed.

Another terrific area of Peru that is better for private shuttle transportation is beach-hopping along the northern coast of Peru. Instead of waiting alongside the highways for buses with your surfboards or even your gangle of beach clothes and gear, just get AndesTransit to arrange a private shuttle for you or your group to quickly move you back and forth along the string of pearls of beach towns that are Zorritos, Punta Sal, Mancora, Los Organos, and everything around and in between.

For getting from one major city to another, our bus service transportation options in Peru are a great choice with a range of prices and levels of comfort added. See our separate page, Peru Transportation.

Shuttles in Brazil and Argentina

The availability of shuttles in the largest countries in South America, Argentina and Brazil, is no exception to the rule. Like Peru, you may think that they are too large to be practical for shuttles, but the reason they are different is that they are so large that they have several small regions within them that are abundant in activities and recreation after you get there by long-distance bus travel. Long-distance buses or trains don’t serve the purpose well of getting you around an itinerary of activities inside of a recreational zone as good as a private shuttle.

For example, Bariloche is fantastic but is just a town at the epicenter of all manner of breathtaking parks and trail hikes and small surrounding villages that you can’t reach by foot or waiting for a bus. A private shuttle, however, can be arranged to drop you off at each place in a compressed amount of time and let you experience everything the region has to offer.

A similar example in Brazil would be the fascinating coastal region of Santa Catarina, where you have a number of towns within reach of each other that you want to visit all of them, not just one. Using buses would be fine, but not as efficient and time-saving as just reserving a private shuttle to take you from Balneário Camboriú to Itajaí or Blumenau and Joinville, Itapema, or Bombinhas. Don’t deny yourself the ease of accessing the best of them all instead of just one.

Other regions like these to consider well-suited for a private shuttle arrangement are Buenos Aires, Cordoba, and Mendoza in Argentina; and Porto Alegre, São Paulo, and Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.

Step by step: book your place on a shuttle now

With AndesTransit, booking a shuttle is a simple process of a few minutes where through its search engine you can explore different routes and design your itinerary, immediately being presented both public and private transportation options to meet your plans. If you can’t find a private shuttle for your itinerary, it’s still probably available by just inquiring our travel team through an appointment to look into it for you.

When ready to secure the private service, all you do is complete a short questionnaire in our shuttle booking center, and our team will go into action confirming the details of the trip, such as the pick-up location and the number of travelers in your group, and giving you an easy checkout process where you can finish reserving with a credit card or PayPal payment.

For your safety, a support team member will contact you hours before your shuttle trip to remind you of the details of the trip, how to identify the driver and shuttle, and then monitor the trip to your destination in case you need anything along the way. Once your reservation is confirmed by online payment, AndesTransit will also advise you of the name of the associated shuttle provider, who will be accompanied by a sign with the traveler's name on it for identification.

Tips and advice for your safety and comfort

Always remember to keep at least a copy of your passport on you if not the original. Police and military checkpoints are common, and identifying documents are always requested. Make a note of the name of the bus company or shuttle provider you booked and check the nearby places where you will be parking so that you can orient yourself to landmarks and points of interest, as well as where to return if you are taking the same shuttle elsewhere.

For other questions or to start working on a custom itinerary, feel free to make a complimentary 20-minute appointment with AndesTransit staff to guide you in your journey.

Private and Shared Shuttles Orientation Map

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