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With more than 300 spectacular beaches bordering the Pacific coast and Carribean Sea, Costa Rica is a real temptation for many tourists and travelers. Tropical dry forests, an indigenous spa, and four-season resorts near an amazing parade of white, pink, and black sand beaches are reason enough to start planning your vacation. One of the first steps is finding direct flights to Costa Rica, as well as the best airport to fly to.
So let’s get you prepared!
Which Destination Airport Should You Choose?
There are four international airports in Costa Rica, but only two of them should interest you. Why? Because they are serving international flights, which makes your journey a lot simpler. Because of that, we decided to give you all the info you need about them. The first one is San Jose International Airport (SJO airport code), and the second one is Liberia International Airport (LIR airport code).
Wondering about which one is the better choice to land on when visiting this fantastic island? Well, that depends on your budget and itinerary, but let’s take a look at the available options and take it from there.
Liberia International Airport – an Amazing Place to Land in Costa Rica
During 2018, almost two million visitors from all over the world chose LIR Airport as their initial touch point with Costa Rica. They had a good reason for doing so.
First of all, Liberia International Airport is the winner of 2018 ACI Best Latin America & Carribean award. Another reason is the services and facilities adjusted to accommodate all your needs. After a full renovation in 2010, the airport offers a clean and truly pleasant experience for tourists flying in and out. Also, the airport opened more restaurants and a new VIP lounge in 2019.
Yes, they want you to feel relaxed and classy while waiting for the flight, which makes Liberia Airport a smart choice when searching for direct flights to Costa Rica.
Even though there are arrivals from Europe and South America, outside of domestic and seasonal flights, the most frequent connections are between the Canada and the U.S. Today, LIR Airport is a hub for visiting Northern Lowlands, Guanacaste and the Nicoya Peninsula.
Why Choose LIR Airport?
Presuming this is your first visit to Costa Rica, we have made a list that will help you in deciding to pick a flight landing on LIR Airport. You should certainly choose it as your first option when going to Dreams Las Mareas, Langosta, Gulf of Papagayo, Avellanas, or Tamarindo. Cities like Conchal, Las Catalinas, Flamingo, Playas del Coco, Negra, Grande, Monteverde, and La Fortuna are on this list, too.
Here are some other pros for choosing LIR Airport for direct flights to Costa Rica;
- It’s only a 10-minute drive from downtown Liberia
- Because of a smaller number of flights, checking in and getting through security is fast and uncomplicated
- It’s enough to arrive at the airport 1.5 hours – 2 hours before your departure
- Liberia offers a few domestic flights, as well. San Jose and La Fortuna are the most common ones
- Renting a car is simple and quick; and you can always get picked up by an agency’s shuttle taking you to their premises
- Also, there is bus stop right outside the airport
Arrivals from Canada, US, and Europe
Because of frequent flight connections, many Canadians choose Costa Rica as their favorite place to visit on weekends or holidays. So, to save you some time, we have done the research on what airline company you should choose for direct flights to Costa Rica from Canada. Here’s what we’ve found.
There is a total of three non-stop flights to Costa Rica:
- Air Canada from YYZ to LIR
- WestJet from YYZ to LIR
- Sunwing from YYZ to LIR
If you are searching for a direct flight to Costa Rica from the United States, here is what’s offered to you.
- Houston, TX to LIR on United Flights – IAH TO LIR
- Atlanta, GA to LIR with one stop through United Flights
- New York, NY to Costa Rica – EWR to LIR
- Miami, FL to Costa Rica on American Airlines – MIA to LIR
- Minneapolis, MN on Sun Country airlines – MSP to LIR
- American Airlines – DFW to LIR
- JetBlue Airways Corporation – JFK to LIR
- Delta Air Lines – ATL to LIR
- United Airlines – EWR to LIR
- US Airways – CLT to LIR
- Frontier Airlines Inc. – DEN to LIR
- United Airlines – ORD to LIR
- Sun Country Airlines – DFW to LIR
San Jose International Airport as an Alternative Choice
What if you choose San Jose International Airport as your landing point to Costa Rica? First of all, you should know it’s the biggest airport there, with the most domestic and international flights. As a result, it’s the most crowded airport in Costa Rica, as well. During 2018, it received more than 800 flights. The numbers are expected to expand to up to 1000 flights in 2019.
San Jose International Airport might seem like the right solution for getting direct flights to Costa Rica from Europe. Mostly because of the continually growing number of European airline companies landing there. Also, SJO Airport should be your choice when going to Central and South Pacific, to the Caribbean, North Zone, and South Zone, or the Osa Peninsula.
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Why Choose SJO Airport?
The San Jose International Airport is the biggest airport with the most direct flights to Costa Rica. Still, there are some aspects you should consider before landing there.
You want your trip to be comfortable, right? Maybe you should give a second thought while choosing SJO Airport to have that. Because of the mountain area surrounding it, flying into San Jose airport usually comes with intense turbulence.
Also, the airport is located in Alajuela- a city about an half an hour drive from San Jose. Now, you’re probably wondering how to get to downtown San Jose after landing? One option is getting a taxi from the airport. Another way is taking a private shuttle, waiting for you right outside the airport. You can also walk down the main street to get to the bus stop. Whatever your choice is, one thing is for sure – the traffic in San Jose is nasty. As a result, reaching the downtown of the city from the airport can take a lot of time and patience.
Here are some other facts you should know:
- SJO Airport has a new terminal for domestic flights and airline companies like Sansa Airline or Skyway Costa Rica
- The airport is near the active Turrialba Volcano, so it’s not unusual if your flight gets canceled because of the erupted ashes in the air. Sometimes, it stays closed for several days even
- San Jose Airport has the most significant number of domestic flight connections. Most of them are only to Tobías Bolaños International Airport
- Checking in takes time because of the many flights
- Consequently, you should arrive 3 hours before your departure
San Jose International Airport Arrivals from the US and Europe
Recently, several major airlines have started offering weekly direct flights from the United States to Costa Rica. Because of that, we’ve created a complete list of flights for you from different cities landing at SJO Airport.
- American Airlines – DFW to SJO
- JetBlue Airways Corporation – MCO to SJO
- Delta Airlines – LAX to SJO
- Frontier Airlines Inc. – DEN to SJO
- Delta Air Lines – ATL to SJO
- American Airlines – MIA to SJO
- United Airlines – IAD to SJO
- US Airways – CLT to SJO
- Lineas Aereas Costarricenses – MIA/CLT to SJO
- US Airways – MIA to SJO
- JetBlue Airways Corporation – FLL to SJO
- United Airlines – ORD to SJO
- Lineas Aereas Costarricenses – PHX to SJO
- Spirit Airlines – FLL to SJO
- United Airlines – EWR to SJO
- US Airways – PHX to SJO
- United Airlines – IAH to SJO
Maybe you are searching for direct flights to Costa Rica from Europe. Here are some available options:
- Air France offers two flights per week departing from Paris and landing directly at San Jose.
- Also, Delta flights, United Flights, WestJet and British Airways travel directly to SJO airport from London (2 flights per week)
- Another company on this list is Condor airlines departing from Frankfurt to San Jose every Monday or Thursday
- Iberia Airlines in Spain departure from Madrid to San Jose International Airport.
Start Your Amazing Vacation With the Right Flight to Costa Rica
When traveling to a fantastic place like Costa Rica, make sure your journey is pleasant, too. So, go through our lists one more time, book any of these direct flights to Costa Rica, and discover the best places to visit; from volcanoes and jungles to beach and surfing.
You can explore Tenorio National Park, the sky-blue waters of the Río Celeste or Arenal Volcano National Park. A guided wildlife night hike or volcano hike, a waterfall trek, and whitewater rafting excursion will blow your mind. After that, it`s time for the beaches, surfing, and relaxation. Certainly, Costa Rica is a country that will fulfill all your expectations.