Flying in to Costa Rica – The San Jose Airport
Friday, October 30th, 2009
Note: This page was written to help you get around the airport at San Jose all by yourself. In addition, through my GUIDE SERVICE, I can pick you up here and help assure a great start to your Costa Rica visit.
Two years have gone by, since I moved to Costa Rica. I went back to the States for a few months, debating whether I would return and I wrote a book about it, “If She Can Do It, So Can I !”. I did return. I am back in Costa Rica and so happy to be here. This is my fourth time flying here and by now, I know the drill. Nevertheless, I remember what it was like the first time. I was nervous flying into a foreign country, very nervous. What if I didn’t know where to go – I couldn’t speak Spanish. What if I had problems in customs? Well, if you happen to be in the same situation, I gotcha covered. That’s right. On this trip I flew, with you in mind and I took pictures. I am going to walk you through the whole process. And believe me, it’s not bad at all. It’s much easier than flying back into the United States.
Most people fly into the Juan Santamaria airport (SJO), which is in Alejuela, just outside of San Jose. It is a small but modern airport, easy to get around. First we’ll start with some photos from the air.
This is the east coast of Nicaragua,
approaching Costa Rica.
Now we can see Costa Rica,
as beautiful from the sky
as it is from the ground.
This is where the planes land.
Walkway into the gate.
Overview of main waiting area.
Make a right at the “Migracion / Immigration” sign.
This is customs. You walk through the line until you come to the desk. You must show your passport and the papers they gave you to fill out on the plane. Most of the customs officials speak very little English. They will ask you if this is your first time in Costa Rica and where you are going. Don’t be concerned, just answer the best you can. Simple.
After that you go downstairs to baggage claim. You can change your dollars to colones here but you’ll get a better rate at a bank. Then you go through another line. You put your baggage on the conveyor belt so the guys with the x-ray machines can look inside. They don’t make you put your purse through. It goes fast and easy.
Go out through the exit door.
And look to your left to see the taxi window. Tell the clerk where you want to go and you can pay in advance if you want, but you don’t have to. If you are having a communication problem just ask for someone who speaks English. (Necesito hablar Ingles.) One of the cab drivers will find someone for you.
They pack your luggage in the trunk. Everybody gets a tip. A dollar is fine.
There’s lots of cabs waiting. There are also the “pirate taxistas,” but if you get into an orange cab (order it from the window inside) you will be charged a fair rate and be just fine.
Now you are happily on your way to your Costa Rica adventure. Pura Vida!