Flying around Costa Rica is one of the most efficient and economical ways to get from place to place. Flying within other nations is often a luxury and rarely a consideration if other transportation is available, but Costa Rica is a small country, gas is expensive, car rentals are difficult to come by, and roads are not evenly developed.
Some popular Costa Rica destinations are only accessible by small plane.
All of this makes flying around Costa Rica an excellent option.
To make sure your plans for flying around Costa Rica goes smoothly and without surprises once you arrive, book well in advance and then confirm right away once you arrive in San Jose.
Of the two domestic airlines, flying around Costa Rica on Nature Air is a little more user-friendly than depending on Sansa. Sansa is perfectly safe and affordable, but the Sansa has a reputation for overbooking and the reservation system can be unfriendly and sporadically reliable.
Sansa horror stories have emerged in past years involving people who booked in advance out of country only to find there was no record of their advance booking once they arrived on Costa Rica soil.
Sansa also sells one and two week passes that, in theory, allow unlimited use of the airline while inside Costa Rica. In practice the passes can become way less appealing when overbooking during the peak season leaves travelers with passes hanging around the airport waiting for open seats.
Sansa full-price customers are seated first during peak seaons, and those with passes are seated next, but the Sansa pass can still be a good option for students or backpackers on a tight budget.
On the other hand, Sansa does offer the advantage of offering the possibility of connective flights to major airlines out of the San Jose airport. So if you are looking to connect from a domestic to an international airline, Sansa is the better choice.
Sansa flies out of San Jose’s Juan Santamaria International Airport. Nature Air operates out of Tobias Bolanos International Airport in Pavas, four miles outside of San Jose.
A taxi ride to Pavas takes about ten minutes and costs about eight dollars USD. Oddly, standard cab fare to Juan Santamaria International Airport in San Jose costs more: generally around $10 to $12 USD. This is because cab drivers routinely double the fare to Juan Santamaria Airport, but not to Pavas.
All of these considerations might make flying around Costa Rica on domestic airlines sound complicated and intimidating, but it really is neither. Most flights take between twenty minutes and a little over an hour, depending on the destination, and once you give it a try it becomes familiar very quickly.
Flying around Costa Rica also leaves more time to enjoy the major destinations and less time waiting to get there. To make reservations, go to the Sansa or Nature Air websites. You can also set up in country flights through Groupo Taca (www.groupotaca.com) 800-400-8222.
As with most aspects of visiting Costa Rica, planning ahead really pays off when flying around Costa Rica. Don’t forget to conform domestic flights once you arrive, and most important of all, enjoy your stay!