The Best Airports in Costa Rica (Essential Guide to the Airports in Costa Rica)

Where Are The Best Airports in Costa Rica?

Airports in Costa Rica

International Airports in Costa Rica

Costa Rica has two international airports San Jose and Liberia. Both of the international airports in Costa Rica have daily flights from Europe, the USA and Canada.

San Jose International Airport (SJO): Also known as Juan Santamaria International Airport is located in Alajuela. Alajuela is 17 km northwest of San Jose.

Juan Santamaria International Airport is the main airport serving San Jose, the capital city of Costa Rica. The airport is situated in the municipality of Alajuela, about 20 kilometres away from downtown San Jose. The Juan Santamaria International Airport serves both domestic and international flights. It can be reached by taking a taxi or by public transportation. It is important to note that this airport was once called San Pablo Airport. In the early 1970s, it was named for the first President of Costa Rica, Juan Carlos Montserrat de Santamaria.

There are four terminals at Juan Santamaria International Airport. The busiest terminal, the West Terminal, is serviced by two long-distance and one local flight. The next two terminals, the East and South Terminals are serviced by local flights. The terminal area is served by the local bus system and by taxis. The last terminal, the Main terminal, is not serviced by the airline.

San Jose is close by and is easily accessible by road. The nearest train station is in Manzanillo. The city is also served by an international airport. However, San Jose is served by more international flights than the Juan Santamaria International Airport. The San Francisco International Airport (SFO) is situated about half an hour drive from the airport. Flights to these destinations fly into the San Francisco International Airport, which is close by.

Liberia International Airport (LIR): Also known as Daniel Oduber International Airport is located 10 km southwest of the city of Liberia. Daniel Oduber International Airport is among four major international airports serving the West coast of Costa Rica, which are San Pedro Sula, Liberia International Airport and Colon International Airport.

It serves specifically as a major tourism centre for those that come from the Western and Central coast of Costa Rica to the Pacific coast. The airport, like the rest of the terminals, is mostly air-conditioned and features many restaurants and other food outlets. It is a well-connected area, with the main airport servicing several major destinations in Central America and North America.

The airport has some medical facilities, including hospitals and clinics. There are some international flights to Liberia from the airport. The airport is served by several flights that fly daily into Liberia and from other major cities around the globe. There are direct flights to Liberia from the United States, Europe, Japan and South Africa. There are flights daily from the USA and Canada to Liberia. Flights that fly daily from other countries, such as China, India and the Middle East, serve other parts of the country.

The Liberian national football team is based at the Liberia International Stadium. This stadium is located at the city’s eastern end. There is a separate section which is accessible to players only. The venue is regularly used as a venue for soccer tournaments, including the Liberia National Cup. There is also an international cricket tournament that takes place here on several occasions. 

Domestic Airports in Costa Rica

There are also 14 domestic airports in Costa Rica that service every province of Costa Rica.

  • Barra del Colorado Airport
  • Playa Sámara – Carrillo Airport
  • Coto 47 Airport
  • Drake Bay Airport
  • Golfito Airport
  • Guápiles Airport
  • Arenal Airport
  • Los Chiles Airport
  • Nosara Airport
  • Palmar Sur Airport
  • Puerto Jiménez Airport
  • Punta Islita Airport
  • Quepos La Managua Airport
  • San Isidro de El General Airport
  • Tamarindo Airport
  • Tambor Airport
  • Tortuguero Airport
  • Upala Airport

Flying Into Costa Rica

Are There Any Non-Stop Flights to Costa Rica?

Yes! There are many destinations that offer a non stop service to Costa Rica. There are options from the USA, Europe and Central America.

Direct flights from San José to the US

Alaskan Airlines: seasonal flights to Los Angeles.
American Airlines: seasonal flights to Charlotte, year round flights to Dallas Fort Worth, Miami, seasonal flights to New York City & Phoenix.
Delta Airlines: year round to Atlanta with seasonal flights to Los Angeles.
JetBlue Airlines: year round to Fort Lauderdale, seasonal to Los Angeles, New York City & year round flights to Orlando.
Spirit Airlines: seasonal to Fort Lauderdale and Orlando.
United Airlines: year round to Chicago, seasonal to Denver, year round to Houston. Seasonal flights to Los Angeles, year-round flights to New York and seasonal flights to Washington.

Direct flights from San José to Europe

Air France: year round to Paris.
KLM Airlines: seasonal to Amsterdam.
British Airways: seasonal to London Gatwick.
Edelweiss Air: seasonal to Zürich.
Lufthansa: all year to Frankfurt.
Iberia (Oneworld): All year to Madrid.

Direct flights from San José to South America

Avianca Airline: All year to Bogota.
LATAM: seasonal to Lima.

Direct flights from San José to Canada

Air Canada: seasonal to Montreal & all year to Toronto.
Air Transat: seasonal to Montreal.
West Jet: seasonal to Toronto.

Direct flights from San José to Central America

KLMKLM: seasonal to Liberia.
Alaska: year-round to Liberia.
Sky Greece: all year to Quepos & Tambor.
Avianca: all year to San Salvador. Seasonal flights to Guatemala City & Panama City.
Volaris Costa Rica: all year to San Salvador, Guatemala City, Cancun and Mexico City.
Copa Airlines: all year to Guatemala City & Panama City. Seasonal to Tegucigalpa & Managua.
Air Panama: year-round to David, Chiriqui.
Aeromexico: all year to Mexico City.
Volaris: all year to Cancun.

Does It Really Matter Where You Fly To?

When it comes to getting to Costa Rica, im my opinion it doens’t really matter where you fly into. As you can see Costa Rica is very well connected internally and it is very easy to move around by plane. 

When is The Cheapest Time to Fly to Costa Rica?

High tourist season is December – April in Costa Rica. In December and Janurary flghts are the cheapest. When booking flights to Costa Rica we reccomend being flexible with your dates and looking for mid week flight for the best deal! 

Which airlines fly to Costa Rica?

Costa Rica is serviced by 

Which Airport is Cheaper?

Typically you will find that San Jose (SJO) is the cheapest airport to fly into in Costa Rica. This is because more airlines service this airport. 

Is it Better to Fly Into Liberia or San Jose Costa Rica?

Liberia is closer to some of the best surfing and leisure beaches in the world, but flights are typically more costly. San Jose is closer to nature activities and the excitement of the capital city. Flights into San Jose are generally cheaper, but with more expensive local transportation and accommodation. So it does depend exactly what you are after and what location you are coming from. 

Flying to Costa Rica From Nicaragua or Panama?

you can fly into San Jose international airport from both Nicaragua and Panama. From Nicaragua you can fly from Managua and from Panama you can fly from Panama City. 

What are the most popular destinations in Costa Rica?

  1. Arenal Volcano National Park & La Fortuna
  2. Corcovado National Park & Drake Bay
  3. Tamarindo, Playa Langosta & Playa Grande
  4. Manuel Antonio & Manuel Antonio National Park
  5. Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve
  6. Tortuguero National Park
  7. Santa Teresa & Mal Pais
  8. Matapalo
  9. Puerto Viejo & Cahuita National Park
  10. Nosara & Playa Guiones

Do I need a visa to enter Costa Rica?

Most countries do not require a pre approved visa before entering Costa Rica for less than 90 days.However, please check here on the Costa Rica Embassy before travelling to ensure that you do not need a pre approved visa before you fly.

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