Destinations > Central America > Costa Rica

Transportation in Costa Rica

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Getting there by Air

International Airports

Juan Santamaría (SJO) - located 23km (14 miles) northwest of San José. Transportation to and from the airport by coaches, shuttles to/from some hotels, buses or taxi. Airport facilities include: duty-free shops, ATM, bank.

International airlines with regular flights to San José include: Air Canada, Air Caraibes, Air Panama, American Airlines, Continental Airlines, Delta Airlines, Frontier Airlines, Iberia, Thomas Cook, LTU, Mexicana Airlines, Spirit Airlines, United Airlines, US Airways.

Daniel Oduber International Airport (LIR) - located 8 km (5 miles) west of Liberia. Transportation to and from the airport by buses. Airport facilities include: bank, ATM, car rental.

International airlines with regular flights to Liberia include: Delta Airlines, American Airlines, United Airlines, Continental Airlines, Air Canada.

Approximate flight times: New York to San José/Liberia - 5 hours 25 min, London to Liberia - 11 hours 30 min.

There is a $26 departure tax that has to be paid in cash at both San José and Liberia airports.

Getting there by Road

The easiest way to enter Costa Rica by road is on the Panamerican Highway that runs through the country from Nicaraguan border on the north to the Panamanian border on the south. The border post in the north is Peñas Blancas and in the south Paso Canoas.

Getting around by Air

There are two main airlines operating domestic flights in Costa Rica: Sansa and Nature Air. Both of them have services between San José and provincial towns and resorts: Bahía Drake, Barra del Colorado, Golfito, Liberia, Coto 47/Neily, Palmar Sur, Playa Nosara, Playa Sámara/Carrillo, Playa Tamarindo, Puerto Jiménez, Quepos, Tambor and Tortuguero. Travelers should keep in mind that due to weather conditions domestic flights are often delayed. Also, the airlines use small aircrafts (14 to 35 passengers) and this limits the luggage allowance.

Getting around by Bus

Bus transportation is convenient and inexpensive. There are many bus companies operating regular services between major cities, towns and tourist destinations. Booking in advance is advisable.

Getting around by Car

Road conditions in Costa Rica vary a lot, sometimes depending on the season and the weather. There are frequent potholes and generally you shouldn't expect too much. Also Costa Rica has a pretty high rate of deaths by car accidents.

You can use your home country's drivers licence in Costa Rica for up to 90 days and the minimum age for car rental is 21. Car rental is not cheap, mostly due to high cost of the insurance. Purchasing full insurance is recommended, as the road conditions are unpredictable. There are many competing car rental agencies, but generally the offices at airports have much higher rates. Other than major international agencies, there are local ones that often give better rates: Adobe, Dollar, Toyota, Poas or Solid.


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