Costa Rica is home to two different International Airports. The largest and is located 10 miles outside of the capital city of San Jose. It is called the San Jose Airport labeled SJO or the Juan Santa Maria (Juan Santa Maria is the national hero) Airport. The second international airport is located in the Guanacaste province and called the Liberia airport or the Daniel Oduber airport.
SJO San Jose Juan Santa Maria Airport
When confirming a Costa Rica Adventure Trip with us there is a good chance your itinerary will require you to fly in and out of the San Jose Airport. If you choose to design your own family trip and the itinerary requires you to arrive in Liberia that is not a problem but most of the trips we have begin with arrivals at San Jose Airport. The San Jose Airport is a beautiful modern airport located in the center of the country in the Central Valley at an elevation of 3,000ft. It is surrounded by the Poas Volcano and Irazu Volcano.
There are a number of different airlines that fly into San Jose for your Costa Rica Adventure Tour, Continental, USAir, Taca, JetBlue, Spirit, Frontier, and American. From what we have noticed over the years of experience is that JetBlue and Spirit offer the best rates on flights to San Jose. These flights arrive all during the day and are even some red-eye flights.
The San Jose Airport just expanded in 2010 and now is larger in size on the inside area and has a number of souvenir shops. Our personal opinion is that the souvenir shops are mostly a monopoly by the Britt Company which sells some great stuff but if you want variety of souvenirs or local crafts then your best asking your Costa Rican Adventure guide to stop before dropping you off on the last day.
One of the benefits to arriving to the San Jose Airport is that you are in the center of the country and it is sort of a hub for tourism companies and local transit. If you are joining us in one of our Costa Rica Spanish Schools and you chose to arrive on your own it is very easy to find buses and reputable taxis at SJO to take you where you want to go. The security is pretty strict at the airport and getting ripped off outside by some stranger is definitely a thing of the past.
Liberia Airport Daniel Oduber Quiros LIR
The main reason for flying into the Liberia Airport is that you would be les than an hour's drive from beautiful beaches in the Guanacaste area when you arrive to Costa Rica. Chances are if you sign up for a Costa Rica Family Tour then you will not be arriving to this airport but you could choose to end you stay at a beach and then fly out of Liberia.
It is a nice airport and it also was just expanded. The airport is located about 2 hours from the border of Nicaragua and just 50 minutes from one of the main developed beach towns called Tamarindo. Here you will notice a heavy real estate market and a very modernized part of Costa Rica.
Although our company operates tours in this area, we very seldom have clients fly into Liberia. To give you an example the Costa Rica Whitewater Rafting Pacuare River is around a seven hour drive from Liberia which nobody is ever up for. If you do fly into the Liberia Airport there are always options and things can be arranged just leave that up to us.