The Best Ways to Get to Costa Rica

The Best Ways to Get to Costa Rica

Costa Rica is an incredible destination. Gorgeous landscapes, unique bio diversity, and more protected land than any other nation in the world mean your eyes will have plenty to feast on. A mix of European, indigenous, expat, and other citizens mean that culture, music, food, and celebrations are rich and varied. And the Pura Vida outlook makes for positive, friendly locals who welcome travelers with open arms. In 2016 alone, in fact, Ticos welcomed 2.6 million tourists.

Planning Travel to Costa Rica

International travel almost always involves more planning than trips within your native country do, and Costa Rica is no different in that sense. Luckily, Costa Rica Star Villas is here to help. Here’s our guide to getting to our beautiful country quickly, cheaply, and with as little stress as possible. Welcome!

By Plane

By far, the most common way to visit Costa Rica is by plane. The country has two international airports, each of which connects to local or regional airports to provide a network of flights that allow travelers to access most parts of the country fairly easily.


As with any destination, the cost of flying to Costa Rica varies by season. Since the high season here is from late November to April, flying will be more expensive during these times. Rates also depend on where your flight originates. The Christmas and New Year holiday season is the most expensive time to fly out of the USA, for example, but it’s one of the cheapest times to depart from the UK. Of course, mid-week flights are a bargain relative to weekend flights.

Flying to SJO

Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO) is located just outside Costa Rica’s capital city, San Jose, in Alajuela Province. This airport is the second-busiest airport in Central America and is more centrally-located than Liberia Airport. This is the best airport to choose if you are visiting Jacó, Dominical, Manuel Antonio, or Malpais Area.

From SJO, you can also visit attractions such as active Volcán Irazú to the east or Poas Volcano. It’s the best international airport for visiting the Caribbean coast of Cost Rica, but expect to face a considerable drive or add a domestic flight to your itinerary.

Flying to LIR

Daniel Oduber International Airport (LIR), also known simply as Liberia Airport, is another option for international flights. It’s located in the city of Liberia in the northern part of the country in Guanacaste Province. Choose a flight that lands here if you’re staying in Playa Hermosa (Guanacaste), Tamarindo, Papagayo Peninsula, Playa Flamingo, or any other of our Guanacaste Villas, since it’s a short drive from most. Some Guanacaste destinations may require a longer drive or a domestic flight.

From LIR, you can also visit world-class golf, Parque Nacional Marino Las Baulas, and some of the best snorkeling in the country. The Nicoya Peninsula in Guanacaste is a popular place for visitors from all over the world who seek great surf, sport fishing, yoga retreats, and epic sunsets.

Flying from the US

Compared to other countries, the USA has the most flights to Costa Rica, departing from the most cities.

Nonstop Flights to SJO leave from:

·       Dallas (DFW)

·       Miami (MIA)

·       Orlando (MCO)

·       Atlanta (ATL)

·       Fort Lauderdale (FLL)

·       Newark (EWR)

·       Houston (IAH)

·       Charlotte (CLT)

·       Denver (DEN)

·       Phoenix (PHX)

·       Los Angeles (LAX)

·       Washington DC (IAD)

·       Chicago (ORD)

Nonstop Flights to LIR leave from:

·       Dallas (DFW)

·       New York (JFK)

·       Atlanta (ATL)

·       Newark (EWR)

·       Houston (IAH)

·       Charlotte (CLT)

·       Denver (DEN)

·       Chicago (ORD)

The United States is also a popular stop for Costa Rica-bound passengers from other nations because flights from most US cities take reasonably short amounts of time.

Approximate Flight Times to SJO and LIR Airports, Costa Rica by US City


3 hours


3.5 hours


3.5 hours


4 hours

New York City

5 hours

Los Angeles

6 hours


Flying from Canada

Air Canada, Sun Wing and West Jet offer direct flights from Toronto.

Flying from Europe

There are two direct flights to Costa Rica from the UK: Thompson’s weekly services from Gatwick (LGW) to LIR and British Airways flights from LGW to San Jose. Iberia Airlines flies direct for Madrid (MAD), while Air France flies from Paris (CDG). Both Dusseldorf Airlines and Condor fly out of Germany, from Berlin (TXL) and Frankfurt International (FRA), respectively. You can also catch an Edelweiss flight from Zurich (ZRH) or a KLM flight from Amsterdam (AMS).

Other European travelers will need to fly into a US city to change planes on the way to Costa Rica.


If Costa Rica will part of a larger tour of Central or Latin America, traveling by bus is a great option. Travel will be far slower than with a flight, but you’ll get to see more of this part of the world.

Costa Rica’s international bus company, Ticabus travels from the following destinations:

·       Tapachula, Mexico (3-day trip)

·       Guatemala City, Guatemala (2.5-day trip)

·       San Salvador, El Salvador (2-day trip)

·       Tegucigalpa, Honduras (1.5-day trip)

·       Managua, Nicaragua (1-day trip)

·       Panama (1-day trip)

Once You Arrive

While we can’t do much to alleviate the stress of plane or bus travel to Costa Rica, we can make your visit easy and worry-free once you arrive. For starters, our dedicated transportation services make getting from the airport to your villa and any other travel you do while you’re here a snap. Once you climb into one of our luxury vans, you can relax. Your vacation begins now!

We’ll also provide personal concierge services so you don’t have to worry about anything else either. From booking tours and excursions to arranging spa services in your villa, to providing a personal chef or catering, we’ll handle all the details so all you have to do once you arrive is enjoy your trip.

Check out our many private, luxury, all-inclusive accommodations throughout Guanacaste and Puntarenas for the Costa Rica getaway of a lifetime.

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