Air Travel, San José
We flew in to Juan Santamaria International Airport on Sunday 1996 Feb. 18. We did not have to pay for our tickets because we got passes from our daughter who was then a flight deck officer at a major airline. That made the trip very affordable. The central location of this airport is perfect, as from here once can reach almost any part of the country within a span of 6 hours.
Monday, Feb. 26th we flew in a tiny (7 passenger) plane to Palmar Norte (Pacific Coast). Thursday, Feb. 29 We returned to San Jose in the same manner that we went, although we had a long wait for the plane because one of the pilots got sick, and they had to send two planes for the 6 of us because each held only two persons (one of each group sat in the co-pilot's seat).
Our daughter called and advised us that we should fly home Friday because the planes were full Sat. and oversold, so we came back a day early.
Currently, you have to be in the airport 3 hours before of the departure time for every international flight. In our case we got there as early as possible because we were flying on a pass and there were so many people flying that we weren't sure we would get on the plane.
Keep in mind that you have to pay $29 exit taxes. You can pay this tax inside the airport terminal. You can also pay the tax before in one of the offices of Banco Nacional de Costa Rica which is a Public bank. Or you can have some hotels pay it for you, but they will charge you $2 to $10 for the privilege. You could pay this tax in dollars or in colones. You need to take your passport with you when paying this tax, since the cashier will require to see it. You can do it about two weeks before you leave and in that way you can avoid the line of tax payers which may be quite long sometimes.
At the airline front desk you must have: passport, airport taxes, the flight ticket and all baggage that you want to register.
We flew in again in 2015 in August. The airport was much bigger and fancier. And when Bob went to pay the exit tax (which was only $1 more than in 1996), they filled out the forms for him.
Nice enough airport. Arrivals is nice, bank services, quick customs etc.
Going home, we had a long wait. You must pay departure tax ($26) then join very badly organised que systems. Get here early, there are plenty of bars and shops once you get through security.
A taxi to downtown is $12. The meter seems to be rising very quickly, but that is only becasue it goes up in 1 pence intervals.
There is a cheaper bus service, but unless you are on a very tight budget, just get a taxi as the city isn't easy to navigate until you get your bearings.
it can be silly but at first I didn't know exactly which flying companies go to Costa Rica and the one I found less expensive was Martin Air.
still about silly things: in case you have been given one of those headset by a flying companies, bring it with you, the Martin Air doesn't give it for free, even if they ask a little nothing for them...
Apart from international flights, there are also domestic ones for those who want to go from San José to anywhere in the country or to the beaches. They are fast and comfortable. Some airlines that offer this service are Sansa (tel. (506) 221-9414) and Travelair (tel. (506) 232-7883)
I flew there, directly from Los Angeles International Airport, it took aproximately 4 and half hours.
San Jose its an easy city to get around, since it is not that big, and the downtown area is quite compact.
Taxis are plentiful and reasonable.