There are many different Costa Rican airports, but only four of them offer international flights. These include the Limon International Airport, the Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport, the Tobías Bolaños International Airport, and the Juan Santamaria International Airport. If you would like help in choosing which airport to book a flight with, read on to find out more about each airport’s pros and cons.
Limon International Airport
The Limon International Airport, one of the three international Costa Rica airports, is located in Limon, Costa Rica and is operated by the Dirección General de Aviación Civil. After having closed its doors to the public for nearly 20 years, it finally reopened on July 1, 2006. Within two hours of the airport (via ground transportation) are Puerto Limon and several towns of the Southern Caribbean area including Cahuita, Gandoca, and Puerto Viejo, as well as a number of indigenous communities including Bri Bri, Carbon 1&2, Suretka, Shiroles, and Hone Creek.
• Sansa Airlines flights are now being offered by the airport four times a week
• The Limon International Airport, despite being one of the international Costa Rica airports, is the least busiest of all four
• Only charter flights are available from the domestic airline Nature Air to the airport
• SANSA Regional Airline charter flights are only available upon request
• Ground transportation to Puerto Limon and the other above-mentioned areas take 2 hours
Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport
The Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport, also referred to as the Liberia International Airport, is one of the four international Costa Rica airports. It is found in the city of Liberia, which is situation in the Guanacaste Province. This public airport is operated by the Dirección General de Aviación Civil. It serves particularly as one of the country’s tourism hubs for vacationers who pay Western Costa Rica and the Pacific coast a visit. This airport was named for the 1974-1978 Costa Rica president Daniel Oduber Quirós. The Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport is considered to be the gateway to the country’s Riviera, which is often referred to as the Golden Coast.
• The airport offers a significant number of airline choices, including Air Canada, American Airlines, Sansa Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Nature Air, United Airlines, US Airways, and Sun Country Airlines among several others
• Destinations include Toronto-Pearson, Los Angeles, Dallas, Miami, Denver, San Salvador, San Jose de Costa Rica, Houston, and Charlotte among others
• New terminal building that encompasses 250,000 square feet and was opened on the 12th of January, 2012
• New operator – CORRIPORT, S.A.
• The Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport is only within less than an hour away from many of the country’s top hotspots, including the Papagayo Gulf (Occidental Papagayo, Hilton Papagayo, Four Seasons Papagayo), the Westin Playa Cochal, the Tamarindo Diria, the Hacienda Pinilla, and the JW Marriot
• The Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport is one of the busiest Costa Rica airports, having been ranked 9th of the busiest airports in Central America in 2012, with more than 650,000 passengers
• Since the airport serves primarily as a tourism hub, expect numerous tourists and long queues
• No clear solutions have been set yet in terms of future expansion and operation of the airport
Tobías Bolaños International Airport
Located in the downtown area of San Jose, specifically at the Pavas, San Jose district is the Tobías Bolaños International Airport. Again, this is one of the four international Costa Rica airports. It also ranks as the secondary airport that serves San Jose, the country’s capital. It has been named after Tobías Bolaños Palma, the man responsible for laying the foundation of aviation in the country. This particular airport is also Costa Rica’s main general aviation base. It also serves as the primary base for many of the country’s private flight operations, aviation schools, tourism, and charter flights.
• Nature Air, the air carrier that utilizes the airport as its hub, offers services to numerous destinations including Arenal, Drake Bay, Managua, Punta Islita, Tamarindo, Tortuguero, and Quepos among a number of other locations
• Considerably less busier compared to the Juan Santamaria International Airport
• The airport has a prime location, seeing that it is situated San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica
• Only one domestic air carrier, namely Nature Air offers regular air flight services to and from the Tobias Bolaños International Airport
• Other companies are offering services, but these are only for charter flights
Juan Santamaria International Airport
The Juan Santamaria International Airport is owned by the Costa Rica Government and operated by the Aeris Holdings Costa Rica. Out of all the Costa Rica airports, this is considered to be the primary one, as it caters to most of San Jose, the country’s capital. You can find the airport situated near Alejuala. The airport’s name is derived from the national hero of Costa Rica, Juan Santamaria, who died defending his own country in the year 1856 against the forces led by William Walker. For many years, the Juan Santamaria International Airport was the only international gateway of the country, prior to the international airport being established in Liberia.
• The airport is considered to be the leading international gateway of the country, even after the international airport in Liberia was constructed
• The airport offers direct flights to North America, Central America, and Europe
• Named as the 3rd Best Airport in Latin America – Caribbean, one of the Airport Service Quality Awards being handed by the Airports Council International
• Out of all the Costa Rica airports, the Juan Santamaria International Airport is the largest
• Offers two different VIP lounges, including the VIP Santamaria and the Copa Club
• Just outside the airport is a bus stop for both Alejuela – Heredia and Alajuela – San Jose routes
• Caters to many airline carriers
• Offer many different destinations
• The Juan Santamaria International Airport is the busiest of all the 4 international Costa Rica airports, having been ranked once as the busiest Central America airport
• All major operations will be ended by 2025 to make it Costa Rica’s secondary airport