Things to Know Before Flying From the United States to Costa Rica

Costa Rica, a mesmerizing Central American gem adorned with rainforests and volcanic landscapes, beckons travelers with its unparalleled biodiversity and breathtaking scenery. Renowned for its extensive protected jungles covering nearly a quarter of the country and a plethora of pristine beaches gracing both the Pacific and Caribbean coasts, Costa Rica stands out as a premier tourist destination in the region. In 2019 alone, it welcomed over three million visitors, cementing its status as the most visited country in Central America.

Accessibility is key to Costa Rica’s allure, with a myriad of airline options and nonstop routes facilitating travel, particularly for U.S. tourists. With flight times ranging from a mere three to six hours from the contiguous United States, reaching this tropical paradise is remarkably convenient.

Costa Rica’s Major Airports

Costa Rica boasts two major airports offering nonstop flights from the U.S.: Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO) in San José, centrally located and serving as the country’s largest airport, and Liberia Guanacaste Airport (LIR) in the north. While San José caters to domestic travel within Costa Rica, Liberia presents a convenient gateway for travelers venturing to Guanacaste’s pristine beaches and the luxurious Peninsula Papagayo, a mere 45-minute drive away.

Airlines and Routes to Costa Rica

All major U.S. carriers, including American, Alaska, Delta, JetBlue, and United, provide nonstop flights to both of Costa Rica’s major airports. Additionally, low-cost airlines such as Frontier, Southwest, Spirit, and Sun Country offer budget-friendly options, ensuring that a vast majority of U.S. travelers can easily access the country with just one connection.

Nonstop U.S. Routes to Liberia (LIR)

  • American: Austin (AUS), Chicago (ORD), Miami (MIA)
  • Alaska: Los Angeles (LAX)
  • Delta: Atlanta (ATL), Los Angeles (LAX), Minneapolis (MSP)
  • JetBlue: Boston (BOS), Los Angeles (LAX), New York (JFK)
  • United: Chicago (ORD), Denver (DEN), Houston (IAH), Newark (EWR), San Francisco (SFO)
  • Frontier: Atlanta (ATL)
  • Southwest: Houston (HOU)
  • Sun Country: Minneapolis (MSP)

Nonstop U.S. Routes to San José (SJO)

  • American: Dallas (DFW), Miami (MIA)
  • Alaska: Los Angeles (LAX)
  • Delta: Atlanta (ATL), Los Angeles (LAX)
  • JetBlue: Fort Lauderdale (FLL), New York (JFK), Orlando (MCO)
  • United: Chicago (ORD), Denver (DEN), Houston (IAH), Newark (EWR)
  • Frontier: Atlanta (ATL)
  • Southwest: Denver (DEN), Houston (IAH)
  • Spirit: Fort Lauderdale (FLL), Orlando (MCO)

Cost Considerations

Despite its tropical allure, Costa Rica offers relatively affordable airfare compared to other international destinations. Round-trip airfare in January 2024 ranged from $200 to $500, with prices typically influenced by the peak tourist season, spanning from December through April, characterized by dry weather and higher costs, to the more budget-friendly wet or green season from May through November.

Whether embarking on a journey to immerse oneself in the wonders of Costa Rica’s rainforests, lounge on its pristine beaches, or explore its volcanic landscapes, the country’s accessibility and diverse travel options cater to a wide range of preferences and budgets, ensuring an unforgettable tropical getaway for every traveler.

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