What to Know About Flying to Costa Rica From the U.S.

From the best airlines to nonstop routes, here's everything you need to know about flying to Costa Rica.

<p>Paul Biris/Getty Images</p>

Paul Biris/Getty Images

Costa Rica, a rain-forested and volcanic Central American escape, is known for its lush biodiversity and jaw-dropping scenery. Nearly a quarter of the country is a protected jungle, not to mention the diverse selection of world-class beaches on both the Pacific and Caribbean coasts.

It should therefore come as no surprise that Costa Rica is the most visited country in the region, with more than three million tourists in 2019. With a variety of airline and nonstop route options for U.S. travelers, it’s a relatively easy place to reach. From the contiguous U.S., the longest flight time is about six hours; the shortest is about three.

Here's what you need to know about flying to Costa Rica, including the airlines and routes to transport you to this tropical oasis.

<p>MarcoDiaz2/Getty Images</p>

MarcoDiaz2/Getty Images

Costa Rica’s Major Airports

Costa Rica has two major airports with nonstop flights from the U.S.: the more central Juan Santamaria International Airport in San José (SJO) and the more northern Liberia Guanacaste Airport (LIR). While San José is the capital with the largest airport in the country, Liberia may actually be more convenient for some travelers. However, if you’re flying anywhere domestically within Costa Rica, note that San José is your only option.

Depending on where you’re headed within the country, one airport may be superior to the other. A general tip: If you’re traveling to the Caribbean, Central Pacific, or all of southern Costa Rica, San José is your best bet.

Meanwhile, if you’re making your way to Guanacaste's beaches or the stunning Peninsula Papagayo, you’ll want to fly into Liberia. The airport is just a 45-minute drive from Papagayo’s high-end resorts like the Four Seasons.

<p>Charles Wollertz/Getty Images</p>

Charles Wollertz/Getty Images

Airlines and Routes to Costa Rica

All the major U.S. carriers — including American, Alaska, Delta, JetBlue, and United — fly nonstop to both Costa Rican airports. In addition, low-cost airlines Frontier, Southwest, Spirit, and Sun Country serve at least one city in Costa Rica. The vast majority of U.S. travelers should be able to reach the Central American country with just one U.S. connection.

Here’s the full list of nonstop U.S. routes to Costa Rica for the winter 2023 season.

Nonstop U.S. Routes to Liberia (LIR)

American: Austin (AUS), Chicago (ORD), Miami (MIA)

Alaska: Los Angeles (LAX)

Delta: Atlanta (ATL), Los Angeles (LAX), Minneapolis (MSP)

JetBlue: Boston (BOS), Los Angeles (LAX), New York (JFK)

United: Chicago (ORD), Denver (DEN), Houston (IAH), Newark (EWR), San Francisco (SFO)

Frontier: Atlanta (ATL)

Southwest: Houston (HOU)

Sun Country: Minneapolis (MSP)

<p>Bkamprath/Getty Images</p>

Bkamprath/Getty Images

Nonstop U.S. Routes to San José (SJO)

American: Dallas (DFW), Miami (MIA)

Alaska: Los Angeles (LAX)

Delta: Atlanta (ATL), Los Angeles (LAX)

JetBlue: Fort Lauderdale (FLL), New York (JFK), Orlando (MCO)

United: Chicago (ORD), Denver (DEN), Houston (IAH), Newark (EWR)

Frontier: Atlanta (ATL)

Southwest: Denver (DEN), Houston (IAH)

Spirit: Fort Lauderdale (FLL), Orlando (MCO)

How Much Does It Cost

With such a wealth of route options and airlines serving Costa Rica, airfare is relatively affordable compared to other international destinations. A look at round-trip airfare in January 2024 shows prices ranging from $200 to $500. Note that, typically, the summer dry season runs from December through April and is the priciest time to visit. Winter, or the wet or green season, falls May through November and is usually more affordable.

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