World Travel Guide > Guides > North America > Costa Rica

Travel to Costa Rica

Flying to Costa Rica

The national carrier is Avianca Costa Rica, based at the country's main airport, Juan Santamaría International Airport (SJO) in Alajuela, 17km (11mi) northwest of San José. Many international airlines also fly to Costa Rica; among them are Aeroméxico, Air Canada, American Airlines, British Airways, Delta, Jet Blue, KLM, Lufthansa, and Southwest.

In the north-western corner of Costa Rica, Daniel Oduber International Airport (LIR) in Liberia receives specific flights for tourists visiting the region, namely Guanacaste, Monteverde and La Fortuna.

Airport Guides

Liberia International Airport




The airport is 8 km (5 miles) west of Liberia.


Juan Santamaría International Airport




Juan Santamaría International Airport is located in Alajuela Province, about 18km (11 miles) northwest of San José Central Market. The drive from the city center to the airport may take an hour due to traffic congestion.


+506 2437 2400

AddressAlajuela Province

Río Segundo

Flight times

To Juan Santamaría International Airport (SJO) in Alajuela, near San José: from London - 11 hours; New York - 5 hours.

Departure tax

US$29. Many airlines include the departure tax in their fares, but if they don't, you pay at the Bancredito kiosk in the Departures area.

Travelling to Costa Rica by Rail

Driving to Costa Rica

Costa Rica borders Nicaragua to the north and Panama to the south. Accordingly, you can drive from these neighbouring countries to Costa Rica, especially via the Carretera Interamericana (Pan-American Highway), a network of routes that stretches from Laredo in northern Mexico to Buenos Aires in Argentina and conveniently runs through Costa Rica.

From Nicaragua, the primary land crossing is at Peñas Blancas, while from Panama, the main land crossing is at Paso Canoas.

If you plan to enter Costa Rica by using a long-distance coach service, check out Tica Bus ( and TransNica (

Getting to Costa Rica by boat

Cruise ships

Costa Rica borders the Caribbean Sea to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. Hence, both Caribbean and South America cruises call at Costa Rica. Celebrity Cruises, Norwegian, Royal Caribbean are just three major operators that include the country on their itineraries.

Puerto Limón is the main port on the Caribbean side, while Puntarenas is the main port on the Pacific side.

A digital image at

Book a Hotel