Whether you are visiting or residing in Costa Rica, it’s important to remain aware of the main Costa Rica international airports.
The region has two airports and it’s essential to learn more about them and what makes them unique. This can often dictate the airport you choose to arrive at too.
We have had experiences at both Costa Rican airports and can shed light on what they have to offer. This can make it easier for fliers who are hoping to go to the right international airport in Costa Rica.
Here is more on the international airports in Costa Rica.
Main Costa Rica International Airports
In general, you are going to have two Costa Rican international airports to consider.
- Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport (Liberia International Airport)
- Juan Santamaría International Airport (San Jose International Airport)
They are not too far apart from each other.
It simply comes down to where you are hoping to land in Costa Rica and the route you are taking. This will often dictate the airport you end up choosing to arrive at as an expat or traveler.
San Jose International Airport
The San Jose International Airport is noted for being the most popular airport among travelers.
It’s home to the most flights and tends to have the most foot traffic at any given moment during the day. This is why it’s common for the average traveler or expat to only focus on the San Jose International Airport.
This is located in the Alajuela province and tends to be close to various parts of Costa Rica.
It’s important to note that most international airlines are going to have the SJO Airport at the top of their list. This is where most of the traffic is going to go, so airlines such as American Airlines, Delta, Jet Blue, Iberia, Condor, British Airways, Air France, Air Canada, and others are going to go through here.
If you are coming from one of these countries then the only option you are going to have will be the SJO Airport in Costa Rica.
Liberia International Airport
This is a secondary airport in Costa Rica and it’s common for local flights to go through here.
While it is not going to have the same level of foot traffic as the San Jose International Airport, it is still a commonly chosen airport among locals.
If you are going between cities, you will often end up going with this airport.
This is an airport that is close to Liberia in Guanacaste and is an ideal option for those who are looking to end up in that part of Costa Rica. A lot of people who are heading out to Guanacaste or the Northern Lowlands will often land here.
Tips For Flying To Airports In Costa Rica
Be Prepared For Turbulence
Based on our experience, it’s common for flights coming to these airports to deal with turbulence. There is no reason to worry.
This is normal and it happens with a lot of flights.
The reason has to do with where the airport is set up. Locals will often talk about the amount of airflow that is in the area due to where it is situated. This causes turbulence to become a part of flying around the Costa Rican airports.
We have found this to be more of a thing at the San Jose International Airport.
Be Ready For Long Customs Process
San Jose International Airport is a busy airport.
So many flights go through this airport from around the world, which means you are going to notice significant foot traffic.
When this happens, you are also going to see an increase in the length of the customs process. It’s not as easy to get through and you are going to be waiting in long lines to get through.
Be prepared for this and remain patient.
It’s the only way to get through.
Save Money At The Liberia International Airport
Let’s assume you are thinking about choosing an airport and want to save a bit of money.
You should be able to at the Liberia International Airport. This is a smaller, local airport, which makes it easier to save money on most things that you would need including a shuttle, car rental, or anything else.
If the goal is to save money as soon as you land, you will want to go to this airport in Costa Rica.
Of course, this is assuming you can get a flight out to the airport.
Check The Schedules Beforehand
It’s important to be prepared when you are taking a flight to or from Costa Rica.
This is going to make sure you can prepare for immigration and ensure the customs process does not cause you to miss the next step in your journey.
We always take the time to go early as things are busy at the airport. If you don’t do this, you are not going to manage the situation well and it is going to cause you to miss your flight.
These are the top airports in Costa Rica.
Both airports are good but most people are going to be heading to the San Jose International Airport. Keep this in mind when you are looking at getting a car rental or booking a hotel.
You will want to consider this when it is time to schedule everything.
Amanda Harper is a travel enthusiast with 10+ years of traveling experience across the planet. Her passion for writing and travel makes her a walking bibliography on modern-day tourism.