How to Find Cheap Flights to Costa Rica: Helpful Tips & Tricks
If you’re planning a trip to Costa Rica from the United States, you’ll be pleased to learn that Costa Rica is a relatively affordable destination to visit. Compared to other destinations around the world, you can find lodging, food, and fun things to do in Costa Rica for a reasonable price. However, one of the most difficult things to find at an affordable price when planning your trip to Costa Rica is cheap airfare. Fortunately, we have a few tips & tricks about how to find cheap flights to Costa Rica, so you can enjoy a fun, relaxing, and adventurous vacation in Central America’s most popular tropical destination!
How to Find Cheap Flights to Costa Rica: Best Search Engines to Use
One of our best tips for finding the cheapest flight to Costa Rica is to use travel search engines to look for the cheapest flights from your destination. These are a few of the most popular:
Skyscanner is a website (& app) that allows you to compare the prices of flights, hotels, and rental cars from hundreds of providers. Simply type in your departure and destination city (or airport), select your dates (or a whole month, if you are flexible), then you can view flights on a calendar, chart, or graph to find the cheapest direct flights to Costa Rica.
Google Flights is an easy-to-use search engine to help you find the best flight to Costa Rica. It offers tons of great features, like a calendar-based fare view, map-based search, and multiple airport search, so you can compare which airport is cheapest to fly to and from to Costa Rica.
However, Google Flights works with online travel agencies, like Expedia or Orbitz, and because of this, they may not always find the cheapest prices. Google Flights also doesn’t display flights from all airlines, including Southwest Airlines, which is known for its cheap flights.
Other Search Engines
There are several other search engines you can use to find cheap flights to Costa Rica. Airfare Watchdog, KAYAK, and Momondo are a few popular ones you can browse when looking for a round-trip flight to Costa Rica.
Best Airlines that Fly to Costa Rica
Most airlines offer flights to Costa Rica—however, finding the most affordable flight will depend on where you are flying from. These are some of the airlines you may want to consider when looking for flights to Costa Rica.
Budget airlines, like Spirit, Frontier, and JetBlue, are known for low-cost flights, but they may not offer the same amenities as other airlines, like free luggage, in-flight entertainment, or flexible changes for a missed flight.
However, if you’re looking to save a buck, Spirit Airlines offers nonstop flights to Costa Rica from Fort Lauderdale and Orlando. Frontier offers flights from Denver, Orlando, Atlanta, and Miami, and JetBlue from New York City, Fort Lauderdale, and Orlando.
Southwest Airlines is a beloved airline for domestic flights in the United States, but they’ve recently added a few international destinations to their roster, including Aruba, Belize, Mexico, Cuba, Jamaica, Turks and Caicos, and Costa Rica!
This is great news for travelers hoping to cash in their Rapid Rewards Points to fly to Costa Rica! You can book flights to the Liberia International Airport from Baltimore-Washington, Denver, or Houston or to San José from Baltimore-Washington or Denver.
Other domestic airlines, like United, American, and Delta, fly to Costa Rica from the United States. While finding flights cheaper than what Southwest Airlines offers may be challenging, flying these airlines may be favorable depending on your departure location or rewards points.
American Airlines offers nonstop flights from Austin, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth, New York City, and Miami. United Airlines offers nonstop flights from Chicago, Newark, San Francisco, and Houston, and Delta Airlines offers seasonal flights from Atlanta, Minnesota/St. Paul, and Los Angeles.
Travel Hacking Tips
Travel hacking is a way to travel “for free” using points, miles, and rewards accumulated by using a travel credit card, being loyal to a certain airline, or other money-saving strategies. These are a few of the ways you can “travel hack” your trip to Costa Rica.
Credit Card Points
Many credit cards, like Chase Sapphire or Southwest Rapid Rewards, offer sign-on bonuses of 60,000 – 100,000 points just for spending $1,000 – $12,000 within the first month, six months, or year of opening your card. Just by opening a travel credit card for your regular expenses, like groceries, gas, and utilities, you can earn your flights to Costa Rica for “free” by booking them with points!
You can learn more about travel hacking using credit card points from credible sources, like the Travel Hacking Mom. You can even read this post about how to visit Costa Rica on points and miles for inspiration.
If you live in a U.S. city without a direct flight to Costa Rica, chances are, you’ll be able to find a much cheaper flight from one of the cities with frequent flights to Costa Rica, like Orlando, Houston, Denver, or New York City.
Consider driving or flying to one of these airports on points and miles, and then book a nonstop flight from this airport to Costa Rica for a cheaper price. This strategy is called “airport positioning,” and it’s a great way to get a steal on your flight to Costa Rica or avoid long layovers in San Salvador or other cities in Central America.
If you often fly, joining a flight subscription service, like Scott’s Cheap Flights, may make sense for you. For a small membership fee of $49 per year, Scott’s Cheap Flights will send you frequent emails with incredible flight deals from your chosen airport.
Most flights recommended by the company are between 40%–90% cheaper than average prices. If you’re willing to be flexible with the dates you book your trip to Costa Rica, Scott’s Cheap Flights may be able to secure you a great deal!
General Tips for How to Find Cheap Flights to Costa Rica
In addition to the tips listed above, consider these general travel tips for saving money on your flights to Costa Rica.
Check Both Airports: San Jose & Liberia
Costa Rica has two airports: San Jose International Airport (SJO) and Liberia International Airport (LIR). When looking for flights, search for both airports to find the best deal.
However, it’s also important to factor in transportation when choosing a flight. For example, if you find a flight into San Jose that’s $100 cheaper than Liberia, but you’ll need to pay $120 for a private shuttle to take you to your vacation rental in Guanacaste (versus a short, inexpensive taxi ride from the Liberia Airport), the cost difference may not be worth it.
Fly at the Right Time
The cheapest time to fly to Costa Rica is during the rainy season from May–November. Flights are usually $50–$100 less expensive during this time (sometimes even cheaper), and you’ll also be able to find accommodations and tours at a discount.
Have Flexible Dates
As we mentioned earlier, having flexible dates is key to finding cheap flights to Costa Rica.
If you’re willing (and able) to fly on off days when the airports are slower, like Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and are content waiting to book your flight until the best deals come around, you’ll be sure to find a steal on a flight to Costa Rica!
Stay with Special Places of Costa Rica During your Costa Rican Vacation
If you’re still looking for somewhere to stay during your trip to Costa Rica, we have hundreds of cost-effective accommodations, including condos, houses, and villas, which you can book to enjoy during your trip. Who knows—you may save so much on your flight that you’re willing to splurge on a beachfront property or luxury mansion to elevate your experience!