Travel Information

Getting There

Passport

Citizens of all nations are required to have a passport that is valid for at least 6 months. (See the Costa Rica Embassy website for specifics.) When you arrive, your passport will be stamped for a period of 30 days at least or more. The law requires that you carry your passport at all times during your stay in Costa Rica.

Entering the country

A few people arrive in Costa Rica by sea, either on fishing or scuba charters or as part of a brief stop on a cruise. Others travel in by bus from neighboring countries. But the vast majority of travelers land at the airport in San José or in Liberia.

Entering Costa Rica is usually hassle-free (with the exception of some long queues). There are no fees or taxes payable on entering the country, though some foreign nationals will require a visa. Be aware that those who need visas cannot get them at the border.

International flights arrive at Aeropuerto Internacional Juan Santamaría, 17km northwest of San José, in the town of Alajuela and Daniel Oduber airport in Liberia also received international flights. Daniel Oduber airport is convenient for travelers visiting Guanacaste.

Costa Rica is well connected by air to other Central and Latin American countries, as well as the USA and Europe. The Federal Aviation Administration in the USA has assessed Costa Rica’s aviation authorities to be in compliance with international safety standards.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Getting Around

To get to most regions, you have to start from San José, which is the hub of public transport. It is often easier to go to one region and then return to San José to find transportation to another area. However depending on what part of the country you are in there are some local hubs you can travel to get to another city in that same region.

The majority of Costa Ricans do not own cars. Therefore, public transportation is quite good and you can get buses to almost any part of the country. Remote or small towns may be served by only one bus a day, but you can get there. Keep in mind that even though these buses may seem to run on a relaxed schedule they do leave on time to the minute and they will leave you behind even if you bought a ticket in advance.

Car rental is popular because a car can get you places you can’t get to by public transportation. It also gives you the freedom to travel when you want and to stop wherever you like. Because buses to remote areas are not very frequent, you can cover more ground in a shorter time with a car. However driving at night especially on mountain roads is quite hazardous, due to large trucks on small roads with a lot of blind corners, and I do not suggest doing this unless absolutely necessary.

The other alternative is flying. This is a great time saver if you have the extra money and don’t necessarily need a car at your final destination. Some of the internal carriers, either Sansa or Nature Air, do offer packages where you can have unlimited flights for one or two weeks for one flat price. There are about 15 or so airstrips that these airlines fly to and traveling to a remote part of the country it is much better to fly than to drive or endure the 8 – 12 hour bus ride. Depending on where you are staying you can arrange for a private chartered flight to other more remote airstrips, check with the lodge you are going to stay at for more info.

 

Getting Away

All the International flights leave from either Aeropuerto Internacional Juan Santamaría close to San Jose or Daniel Oduber Airport in Liberia. Everybody that leaves the country needs to pay a departure tax of $28. You can pay this at the bank at the airport (some airlines include it already on the ticket price).

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