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How to get to Costa Rica?

Snapshot of how to get to Costa Rica.

Entry requirements: Valid Passport. No visa for North Americans or eastern European countries required.

Juan Santa Maria International airport. Airport code * SJO Location: 20 minutes from San Jose Costa Rica.
Daniel Oduver International airport, Airport code * LIR, Location: 15 minutes from Liberia, Costa Rica.
Departure Tax is $29 u.s.d.
Most common airlines flying in to Costa Rica are:
American Airlines, Taca, United Airlines, Spirit, Delta, LTU and Air Canada.

Arriving by sea: Many cruise lines arrive frequently to the different ports of the coasts of Costa Rica.
Some Examples are: Royal Caribbean, Carnival Cruise lines, Princess Cruises.
Organizing your Costa Rica vacation: contact Expediciones Tropicales(Costa Rica Guides) for complete assistance on Hotel or complete vacation packages to Costa Rica. Toll free 1-877-281-8515

Expediciones Tropicales is a licensed travel company that was awarded the the price of the tour operator of the year in 2007. It is also a proud member of the National Association of tour operators and the Costa Rican tourist board. In 2010 it received special recognition for its commitment to sustainable tourism.

Entry requirements for Costa Rica;

Entry requirements will vary depending of your country of origin. Citizens from Canada and United States need valid passports and allowed to stay for up to 90 days. Adults and children need separate individual passports.

Most European countries do not require visas to enter Costa Rica. Irish, Australians and New Zealanders may have an initial permit to stay for up to 30 days in the country.
In Central America, only Nicaraguans require a visa to enter Costa Rica, due to the high immigration of Nicaraguans.

You can get to Costa Rica by air, land and sea.

AIR (International Airlines)

More than one million people visited Costa Rica last year. Prices vary depending on the season. Airline Tickets from United States or from Canada usually range from around $300-800 u.s.d. for a roundtrip ticket on coach class. From Europe the prices range between $800-1000. Prices may fall during low season and during high season you may get special prices on charter flights when available.

There are two international airports in Costa Rica:

Juan Santa Maria International Airport (SJO), situated near the city of Alajuela. Keep in mind that when booking a flight to Costa Rica this airport is known internationally as the San Jose Costa Rica airport do to its proximity to the Capital city. It is actually located in the province of Alajuela and very close to the city of Heredia. It is the country’s main airport as well as the most modern. This airport offers a great variety of services like fast food restaurants, bookshops, souvenir shops, duty-free shops, a small drugstore and several money changing services.

San Jose Costa Rica has daily flights provided by American Airlines, Continental airlines, Delta Airlines, Taca, Lacsa, Air Caribe’s, Mexicana, Spirit Airlines, United, U.S Airways, Frontier Airlines, Air Canada, LTU, Jet Blue, Thomas Cook, Copa Airlines . These airlines provide daily connections to different cities around the Americas and Europe. Some of the major cities that have flights to this airport are: New York, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, Newark, Toronto, Montreal, Mexico City, Madrid, Frankfurt, plus most of the major cities in South and Central America.

Daniel Oduber International Airport (LIR), in the province of Guanacaste. This airport is located ten minutes from Liberia, the main city in Guanacaste and close to beaches and resorts of the Northwestern pacific coast of Costa Rica, also known as the Golden Coast. This airport also receives flights from Several North American Airlines that we mentioned above, plus a couple of charters like First Choice. The airport is small in terms of number of flights and services but for those that want a beach vacation in Guanacaste this is a good alternative. Airport code (LIR)

The departure Tax is $26 per person. It may be paid either at the airport on your departure date or in different banks and hotels throughout the country. You may pay this tax in colones, dollars or with your credit card. It is highly recommended to get to the airport at least 2 ½ hours before your flight’s departure time. Baggage weight is limited to 70 lbs. (32 kg) per bag. This may vary depending on each airlines policies.

Once you have your airline tickets you may reserve the land portion of your Costa Rica Vacation. With Costa Rica Guides https://www.costaricaguides.com/costa_rica_multiday_tours_.html an online company by Expediciones Tropicales that has been providing custom made vacation programs for individual travelers and groups since 1993. Expediciones Tropicales is a licensed travel company that was awarded the the price of the tour operator of the year in 2007. It is also a proud member of the National Association of tour operators and the Costa Rican tourist board. In 2010 it received special recognition for its commitment to sustainable tourism.

Local Airlines of Costa Rica.

Local airlines operate through smaller airports. In San Jose they either use the Juan Santa Maria International airport or the Tobias Bolaños Airport located in Rhomoser on the west side of the Capital city. For local flights you are required to be at the airport a minimum of one our prior to the departure time.
There are four local airlines providing services throughout the country:

2- Nature Air.
3- Paradise Air.
4- Aero Bell.

Some of this airlines provide private flights for families or small groups.


If you are planning on driving in Costa Rica, you should be aware that many roads in Costa Rica are in poor condition, however, the natural attractions and amazing landscapes throughout the country, are worth the ‘rough’ ride. Many of the visitors that opt for a self drive vacation keep coming back to for this type of experience that gives them a deeper flavor of the country by having more interaction with the locals.

When you get to Costa Rica you will be able to remain in the country with your car for up to 3 months. If you’d like to stay in Costa Rica after 90 days, you may renew your visa and pay steep import duties or leave the country to another nearby country such as Panama or Nicaragua for at least 72 hours before coming back in to Costa Rica.


Renting may be expensive, depending on the season. Prices may start at about $40 u.s.d. per day and $300 a week for an economy class car. If you want a 4WD, prices go up to $50 per day or more depending on the vehicle type. For those looking for more freedom and adventure this may be an excellent alternative. If you are coming for business or prefer not to drive, contracting a private driver that may help you get around easily and help you with the language barrier is a great alternative. This may be done through several reliable travel companies or through some car rental companies.

Some of the car rental options in Costa Rica include:

1- Hola Rent a Car
2- Economy Rent a Car
3- Dollar Rent a Car
4- Adobe Rent a Car.
5- National Rent a Car.
6- Budget Rent a Car.

Some travelers prefer to go through a travel company that may handle their hotels, tours, transfers, and the car rental and normally at no extra cost.

4WD cars are strongly recommended. If you don’t want to rent a car, you can get around by bus. The cheapest buses are the public ones, and can take you anywhere in the country, although private buses can do the same for you but are more comfortable, safe and faster.

It is important to know that public buses usually take much longer to get from one destination to the next since they make several stops along the way.

Taxis can also be found almost everywhere. Sometimes it’s better to get a cab rather than walking around, especially during the night. It’s important to make sure that they turn on the meter (known as «La Maria»), which will guarantee you the correct fare.
It is important to know that illegal taxis are cheaper because they don’t use a meter. These cabs are normal

cars; they don’t have a specific color as the regular red taxis do. It is important to note that normally these illegal taxis do not have insurance so if an accident occurs there is nothing to claim.


Costa Rica is the perfect vacation destination. There are 4 ports in Costa Rica, one in the Caribbean side in the province of Limon, one in Puntarenas and in Caldera located in the central Pacific coast. More than 90.000 people visited these ports in the past few years.

There are 4 commercial ports:

1- Pacific Coast, Caldera
2- Puntarenas.
3- Golfito- southern Pacific Coast
4- Moin- north of Limon.

For those who like cruises, several cruise line visit Costa Rica each year through its different ports. This type of visit is usually too short since the cruise line only gives you one day to discover the country and this is definitely too short.


Hours of operation: 8 am to 4 pm.

1- North Pacific port: It is in Playas del Coco.
2- Central Pacific: It is located in the Marriot Los Sueños Hotel, in Puntarenas. These boats go to Caldera.
3-South Pacific: Located in Golfito. This is an immigration port, thus people must go through customs.
4- Caribbean Coast: It is in Puerto Limon, there are no formal yacht facilities but people still have to go through customs.