SJO Airport in San Jose, Costa Rica Transportation

SJO Airport in San Jose, Costa Rica

Costa Rica Transportation


Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO) is the main airport for San Jose, Costa Rica. Delta, United, American, KLM, British Airways, Air Canada, JetBlue, Southwest, Lufthansa, Sun Country, Volaris, Interjet, Alaska and Spirit Airlines fly non-stop to San Jose, Costa Rica. Most of their flights originate from Cancun, Dallas-Fort Worth, Atlanta, Houston, Los Angeles, Fort Lauderdale, Washington-Dulles, Miami, Toronto and Minneapolis. When estimating flight time to Costa Rica, it averages 3 hours from Houston and 5 hours from Washington, DC. Houston has the most direct flights from American to Costa Rica. SJO Airport amenities include WiFi, duty-free shops, money exchange, ATM, small cafe and gift shops.

If you plan to shuttle from SJO Airport with a tour operator, consider well-reviewed, but slightly pricey Tropical Tours Shuttles. Their website includes a convenient price estimator prior to booking Nature, Scuba, Snorkeling and Sightseeing Tours by them.

Ground Transport

Many visitors rent a car at the airport. If you are that type of visitor, you will need third party insurance, so have the rental car agency estimate the total costs with it before you book. Rental Cars at the airport are Hertz, Avis, Budget, Enterprise, Europcar and Sixt. Its a 15-minute, 11-mile ride from airport rental car depot to downtown San Jose.

It is highly recommended to have a navigator-wingman to watch the map while another person drives. Since many roads are unpaved and flash rains can occur anytime, a four wheel drive jeep is highly recommended for those who plan to explore Costa Rica national parks. Don’t drive through muddy water on unpaved roads, as that increases you possibility of getting stuck. Accuracy on Apple maps and Google maps in the country is spotty, so purchase a printed map for your navigator as a back-up.

Taxi fares to various places range from $18-$40. Negotiate up front, if they don’t show you an official fare schedule. Taxis will take your dollars if you offer them, but you will pay a higher “Gringo” price. Its better to estimate your daily budget and exchange U.S. Dollars for local CRC currency at SJO Airport money exchange.

After parking your luggage at the hotel and want to rough with the locals, pay a couple bucks for a short ride around downtown San Jose.

Puntarenas cruise port, Costa Rica Transportation

Puntarenas cruise port, Costa Rica; credit Mariordo

Cruise Ports

On the Caribbean side, passenger cruises arrive at Limon. Norwegian, Carnival and Viking make it a port-of-call. you will When you enter Costa Rica on the Pacific side, its the cruise port in Puerto Caldera, next to the seaside town of Puntarenas. Royal Caribbean and Celebrity cruise make Puerto Caldera a port-of-call. Upon leaving Puntarenas, you will see rainforests in San Luis Park. Discover tropical flora and fauna in Pos Volcano National Park. Looking for oceanside adventure? Take the short drive from Puntarenas to the Nicoya Peninsula, where there’s a wide array of beaches — relax on family-friendly Playa Guiones, or check out dramatic Playa Ostional, with its volcanic black sands and vibrant sea turtle population. Puntarenas cruises give you access to Playa Tamarindo, where you can find good surfing waves and local food.

For more information about cruise options to Costa Rica, visit

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