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Getting To & Around Costa Rica

Flights to Costa Rica

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Posted September 2015

Entering Costa Rica by air, car and cruise ship are all popular and convenient. By car, driving via Panama and Nicaragua is possible, usually through the Pan American Highway, the continent’s official north-south corridor. By port, the cruise ships main stopovers are the ports of Puntarenas (Puerto Caldera), on the Pacific side and Puerto Limon, on the Atlantic. However, by far, the most common gateways are Costa Rica’s international airports, which is the subject of this blog. Costa Rica has two busy international airports with hundreds of regularly scheduled flights by commercial airlines.

The busiest airport in Costa Rica is located in the capital, Alajuela, near San Jose, called the Juan Santamaría International Airport (SJO).

The other international airport and Costa Rica’s 2nd major tourist hub is in Liberia, Guanacaste, called the Daniel Oduber International Airport (LIR).

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LIR serves the "gateway" to the Costa Rican Riviera often called the Golden Coast, in the province of Guanacaste. These popular areas include the Nicoya Peninsula and north, to the beaches of Santa Cruz, inclusive of Rincon de la Vieja and the rain forest on the north side of the volcano (where Blue River Resort & Hot Springs is located). From the airport, its a 30 minute drive to Papagayo Gulf (Four Seasons Pagapayo, Hilton Papagayo, Occidental Papagayo) and about 90 minutes to other resorts like Westin Playa Cochal, RIU Guanacaste, Tamarindo Diria, Witch's Rock Surf Camp and JW Marriott at Hacienda Pinilla. To the north side of Rincon de la Vieja the drive is also 90 minutes from the airport.

Here is a list of airlines currently servicing the airports (sourced from the airport websites and Wikipedia):

Juan Santamaría International Airport San Jose (SJO)

Domestic Airlines
Lacsa
Nature Air
Sansa Airlines (owned by Avianca)

International Airlines
Aero Mexico (Mexico)
Aerovías de México (Mexico, aka Aeroméxico)
Air Canada (Canada)
Air France (France)
Air Panama (Panama)
Air Transat (Canada)
Alaska Airlines (USA)
American Airlines (USA)
Avianca (Colombia)
British Airways (United Kingdom)
Condor Flugdienst (Germany)
Copa Airlines (Panama)
Cubana de Aviación (Cuba)
Delta (USA)
Frontier Airlines (USA)
Iberia (Spain)
Interjet (Mexico)
Interjet Airline (Mexico)
Southwest Airlines (USA)
Spirit (USA)
Sunwing Airlines (Canada)
United Airline (USA)
US Airways (USA)
VECA (Salvador)
Volaris (Mexico)

Daniel Oduber International Airport
Liberia (LIR)

Domestic Airlines
Lacsa
Nature Air
Sansa Airlines (owned by Avianca)

International Airlines
Air Canada (Canada)
Air Transat (Canada)
American Airlines (USA)
Avianca (Colombia)
Condor Flugdienst (Germany)
Copa Airlines (Panama)
Delta (USA)
Frontier Airlines (USA)
JetBlue Airways (USA low cost airway)
KLM (Netherlands)
Southwest Airlines (USA)
Sun Country Airlines (USA)
Sunwing Airlines (Canada – charter)
Thomson Airways (UK)
United Airline (USA)
US Airways (USA)
WestJet (Canada)

There are airlines that cut back on the frequency of flights during the off-season and some airlines operate seasonally. Some airlines also offer to combine flights with all-inclusive hotel stays or combine flight, hotel and car rental for a better prices. When investigating online for yourself, a worthwhile first step is to check the airline's website to ascertain where flights originate from and what days of the week the flights are offerred.

Liberia’s Daniel Oduber International Airport (LIR)

The Daniel Oduber International Airport (LIR) is relatively new. Those who frequented the old terminal can wax nostalgic about its small outdoor appeal; but, in 2012 it was replaced with a new, larger airport terminal with all the modern features befitting an international airport. Direct flights to Guanacaste’s, Daniel Oduber International Airport (LIR), Liberia, continue to increase at the writing of this, in mid-2015. Already, there are future plans to build an additional terminal.

LIR is an environmental Blue Flag Program winner in the category of Climate Change. Amongst the achievements of the operators of the airport, they have significantly reduced the airports carbon-footprint, reduced annual usage of water, treated gray water for safe reuse for irrigation, and implemented a proper disposal of ‘blue water’ (water used for sanitation on aircraft) minimizing contamination of the soil. Inside the terminal building, air conditioned restaurants, refreshment centers, well maintained restroom facilities, a bureau de change, gift and in-bond shops, car rental agencies and all the other airport services expected in a western country. In their gift shops you can purchase genuine Baruca Indian artwork ‘legally’ to take home.

San Jose’s Juan Santamaría International Airport (SJO)

Located 20 km (12 miles) west of downtown San Jose, SJO is the largest and busiest airport in Costa Rica and second busiest airport in Central America. Since opening in 1958, the flow of passengers has steadily increased with the greatest boost coming from tourism. Avianca Ailines provides the greatest traffic, followed by Copa Airlines and then United Airlines. Cargo airlines also use SJO.

On to Your Destination

Both international airports in Costa Rica, offer a host of transportation choices to get your holiday underway, from buses, shuttles, rent-a-car agencies taxis and connecting flights. For passengers wanting transportation to Blue River Resort & Hot Springs’ Rincon de la Vieja destination, book ahead by filling in the Transportation Form and when you exit the baggage area, your driver will be there waiting, holding up a sign with your name one it.

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Whether coming for a 1-Day Tour or a hotel stay, for more information about Rincon de la Vieja and Blue River Resort & Hot Springs please read over this website or contact:

PHONE: (USA) 954-688-3646
               (Costa Rica) 506-2206-5000
E-mail:    info@BlueRiverCR.com

We look forward to helping plan your stay.

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