International Flights

International Flights

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Costa Rica has two main international airports, with flights coming in mainly from North and Latin America, bringing travelers from all over the world. Juan Santamaria Airport, just 14 miles from San Jose downtown, is the second busiest airport in Central America, with over 15 international airlines that serve over 4 million passengers annually. Daniel Oduber International Airport has smaller capacity, but is located in Liberia, capital of one of the most popular vacation destinations in Costa Rica, with numerous accommodation options—Guanacaste region.

In 1930, during the administration of president Cleto González Víquez, the first international airport was inaugurated in La Sabana Metropolitan Park, in San Jose. This airport worked for the next 44 years getting flights mainly from Central America until “El Coco” Airport was inaugurated in 1958. “El Coco” later became the “Juan Santamaría International Airport”, named after the Costa Rican hero who died in 1856 defending his country.

The other international airport in the country is Liberia (LIR) – although the airport was inaugurated back in 1995, its demand increased considerably until 2006. The airport was named after former Costa Rican president Daniel Oduber Quiros.

Both airports receive international flights from South, Central and North America as well as from Europe. Here is a list of the main airlines that fly to Costa Rica:

Airline Airport Flights from
Aeromexico SJO Mexico DF
Air Canada SJO/LIR Toronto / Montreal
American Airlines SJO/LIR Miami / Dallas / NYC
Continental /United SJO/LIR Houston / Newark
Copa SJO/LIR Panama
Central America
South America
Delta SJO/LIR Atlanta
Frontier SJO/LIR Phoenix
Iberia SJO Madrid
Jet Blue SJO/LIR Orlando/NYC
Spirit Airlines SJO Ft. Lauderdale
Los Angeles
San Francisco
Central and South America
US Airways SJO/LIR Phoenix / Charlotte

Seasonal flights

Most airlines offer flights on a seasonal basis to Liberia. One example is Frontier which offers flights to Liberia from Phoenix only between November and April. You will have to check directly with the airlines about fares, specific days of operation, etc. etc.

Another important thing to keep in mind are prices – high season in Costa Rica lasts between December 15 and April 30; airline tickets usually become more expensive during this time, specifically over Christmas week, when Costa Rica hits its peak vacations season. Low season lasts between May 1 and December 14th, and even though tickets are considerably less expensive, the frequency of the flights also decreases.

One recommendation is to check on weekday arrivals if you are looking to save some money, or keep an eye open for weekend specials, usually available depending on the demand of a specific flight.

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