Juan Santamaria International Airport
The airport is 16km from San Jose.
There is an airport tax of US$26 for departing flights. This may be paid in advance at many hotels in San Jose, which can save some time at the airport.
Facilities and amenities
- Local or public bus to town
- Express or private bus to town
- ATMs accepting international cards
|Air Canada||American Airlines||Condor|
|Delta Air Lines||Iberia||jetBlue|
|Spirit Airlines||United||US Airways|
Fly for less - check for budget airline flights from Juan Santamaria International Airport.
Buses running between San Jose and Alajuela stop at the airport. The fare to San Jose is about 500 colónes.
Orange airport taxis charge about U$20 for the trip between the airport and town, which takes up to 30 minutes.
Other nearby airports
Tambor Airport, Tambor (TMU), 93km (58mi)
Tortuquero Airport, Tortuquero (TTQ), 99km (62mi)
Upala Airport, Upala (UPL), 126km (79mi)
Limon Airport, Limon (LIO), 130km (81mi)
Palmar Sur Airport, Palmar (PMZ), 141km (88mi)
Or, view all airports in Costa Rica.
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I was traveling on Alaska Airlines from San Jose Costa Rica to LAX on March 3rd on flight 221. I went through security and took off my silver bracelets and put in a small bin and forgot when I cleared security.
Please could you assist me in re-connecting with these two items?
These are not small bracelets, but are two inches wide. One is of a Beaver and the other is of an Seal. One has no stones; the other has two small inlayed shell flecks. Examples of the sort of bracelet are depicted above to give you an idea of size and large-ness.
Please let me know what further I might need to assist in helping you locate. These were my grandmothers and have great sentimental value.
Thank you. -Kate
Cannot understand why they refuse to staff immigration services at the airport. Very frustrating - very, very long lines. More tourist means for airport fees, etc. Poor services = less tourism, less airport fees. Very much unable to resolve a common sense issue.
My bag was accidentally send to this airport. It was not returned back for 5 days already. It's just went missing there. Also I spend all my allowance on calling to them and listening signals. Guys just do not pick up the phone. Or if they do they hang up immediately. Service is terrible.
This phone number:
did not work. It seems to need and extra digit. I think this one works:
how can I talk to a English speaking person in regards to a reservation change on their part of spirit airlines. I have a local phone without long distance.
I am an American who now lives in Costa Rica and has traveled all over the world. The San Jose International Airport is not as bad as many comments make it seem. It is pretty much an average airport.
I've had luggage, as well as individual items, stolen from my luggage at many airports in the US - it is not a Costa Rican thing - it happens everywhere. Exercise some common sense, and you won't have any problems. Whenever I go to the airport (SJO or otherwise), if I have a questionable item, I ask the security supervisor if the item will be allowed through security. If no, then I put it in my check on - this eliminates any problems.
As far as the airport departure tax, THIS IS NOT A COSTA RICAN SCAM AS MANY PEOPLE SEEM TO THINK. MANY, MANY, MANY countries charge a departure tax that must be paid before you can check in and is separate from the taxes paid in your ticket. The US and many European airports have it included in the ticket. Central American countries, some Caribbean countries, and several South American countries charge it as a separate fee. DO A LITTLE RESEARCH ABOUT THE COUNTRY BEFORE YOU GO AND YOU WILL FIND THIS OUT VERY EASILY. It takes five minutes to research if a country requires a departure tax. Some countries (Nicaragua for one) even require an entrance AND an exit tax. If you also read the terms and conditions of your airline ticket, you will see they instruct you that additional taxes may be required at the destination or departure airports.
Also, with regard to the cash advance fee - there are SEVERAL small signs located underneath the payment windows that specifically state that all card transactions will be processed as a cash advance. People just do not bother to read the signs when they are standing in line.
HOWEVER,all of that being said, the only problems I ever had at the SJO airport were with the Immigration Dept.. They are pushing people who live in Costa Rica to get residency. So if you are a person living in Costa Rica and are doing the 90-day tourist visa stay and then leaving for 72-hours, and then returning(90-days for US citizens, can be shorter for other countries), they are major jerks - many times not even giving people the whole 90-day time. They almost didn't let me back into the country twice, claiming I had not observed the 90-day rule and failed to leave, even though I had an official document from the Costa Rican government showing that my residency application was being processed and that the 90-day rule didn't apply to me. The immigration people are completely clueless to the applicable laws with regard to this.
So overall, I guess my comment is, don't blame the airport as thefts etc. happen everywhere, and it isn't any worse in Costa Rican than in the US or Europe (where I had many things stolen - and even intentionally broken by airport security).
And also remember that Costa Rica is a sovereign country and NOT subject to TSA rules (or our US Constitutional rights). And its national language is Spanish - so don't go to a Spanish-speaking country and complain that the people speak only Spanish. Like someone else said, if you want the comforts and familiarity of the US, stay in the US.
I left my cell phone on the plane in the seat pouch. I have no idea who to contact.the airline said since it was a international flight that airport has its own people clean the plane. Any suggestions?
Dear S Householder (USA)
This may come as a total shock to you, but the TSA doesn't operate in Costa Rica. Costa Rica is an independent country with its OWN RULES!!
One of the primary attributes of airline security is the unpredictability of what they search for and how they do it.
You should consider yourself very lucky you haven't endured some of the *really bad* airline security check points!
Since most of the comments here seem to be by people who had a bad time, thought I'd say I found the airport modern, efficient and comfortable.
Flew home from SJO a couple of days ago. Yes, you need to pay a tax on departure (now $29), but this process took 10 mins or so, the queue moved quickly.
Security was efficient - and flying to Europe there was only one set of security checks. The shops after security seem over-priced, but isn't that true at every airport?
Just returned home yesterday from San Juan International Airport. What a disorganized MESS!!!! Noone tells you that you have to pay the $28 per person departure tax BEFORE you can check in with your airline. Also, there are now signs posted at the tax desk that says that if you use a credit card, they will process it as a cash advance. Once you get checked in, you go thru security, which includes metal detectors. They were really unfriendly, but I was just happy to get thru with ALL of our things. We ate before boarding, and I made a special point of buying a bottle of water for the plane, as I always do. I struggle with motion sickness and water really helps me during takeoff and landing. Even though I specifically told the waiter why I needed the water, neither he, nor anyone else (gate attendants?) ever mentioned that they would confiscate my water. This was not a random check. They recheck everyone again, and you are not allowed to bring liquids on the plane, even though TSA says it's fine as long as it was purchased AFTER the security check point. They don't care. It's a scam. You have already been thru security once. Do not be fooled and buy a beverage after the first security check. They will just take it. United was wonderful though. I explained to the flight attendant what happened, and she gave me a bottle of water before take-off. I did not get the impression that this was new information for her. She just said she was sorry, and gave me a bottle of water. Good Luck!!! Keep all of your things near you, and in your sight. Noone around me had anything good to say about the airport staff either.
On Friday, June 13, 2014 we arrived at the Juan Santamaria Airport. Being from America you feel a little confused and overwhelmed because everyone is speaking Spanish. My husband and I stood in a line to get our tickets without our baggage. We could not get our hotel to print the boarding passes so we had to stand in a very long line. While I guarded our luggage (both the carry on ones and the ones we were checking) my husband stood in another line to get the boarding passes. We met an employee named Angie Castro ID# 2-671-510 whose English was perfect. She not only helped me with my luggage (all six pieces) from one point to another, but assisted in getting me in the line with my husband to check the appropriate bags and obtain our boarding passes. Without this wonderful girl helping us, we might not have gotten on the flight much less with all of our bags. This gal deserves a big fat raise. She was unbelievable. Kudos to the powers at be in hiring such a valuable asset.
Change may have occurred since the postings about using a credit card to pay the depart. tax, but I was clearly told, in English, in Apr. '14 that it was charged as a cash advance. So I used by check card instead of my credit card ... problem solved.
Overall, airport is a very nice facility for a relatively poor country. Americans must understand when you travel abroad, we're not in Kansas any more. If you you're not prepared to accept another country's way of doing things, stick to Florida.
Costa Rica & the people were great BUT once you are ready to leave, the airport experience can be a disaster. The TSA equivalent has gestapo like tactics. Having been checked thru security once, we had to go thru the degrading process again "at the gate". On the way to the aircraft, they (the gestapo) were pulling people out of line randomly and searching their carry on and persons in front of all to see. They were nasty, unfriendly and rude!! My wife was picked and here carryon had a TSA lock. She was so frazzled by the attitude she couldn't remember combo. They refused to let her get me and did not use the TSA key access. Instead they simple broke the zipper. Everyone on that Jet Blue flight yesterday 5/15/2014 had their bags researched. Terrible impression to leave Costa Rica with.
Do you need 6 months on your passport to leave the country. C.R. citizen?
The airport is nice and organized, but airport security are thieves! They take what they want while they are "searching" your suitcase "behind closed doors". Apparently no one is monitoring security personnel during bag searches, it gets worse every year and no one is doing anything about it. Be Cautious don't trust them.
We flew home from a great tour on Sunday, March 16, 2014. We had over three hours to wait at the airport and spent some of it visiting shops and vendors along the hallway. From one of the artist/vendors in the hallway I purchased two watercolor paintings. As I was pulling a few bills from my wallet, he put a blank card between the two of them (I thought for the protection of the bottom one), slid both into a tight plastic envelope and taped it shut. One was visible (macaw), one was not (butterfly). Imagine my surprise to open the bag at home and find that the one I couldn't see through the bag was NOT the one I purchased. Instead of a beautiful blue morpho butterfly, the painting had "morphed" into a mundane view of a wooden boat on a nondescript beach. I imagine the butterfly painting went back on the rack to be "sold" a few more times before someone caught on. What a sad way to end an otherwise wonderful vacation! What a shame that this affected our feelings about Juan Santamaria International Airport.
We have ben flying in and out of Costa Rica for years without many problems. This year my husband accidentally left his wedding ring in his checked bag and it was stolen by airport security. I don't know how they get away with this, isn't anyone monitoring these people. Are the officials thieves as well to allow this? I've heard of this happening to others, but now it has happened to us and we are pissed. There is no one to call to complain or report this, there is nothing we can do. Santamaria International, get it together!!! Stop robbing the people who come to your country, or we will stop coming!!!!!!!!
Recently departed SJO. At departure gate I realized that I had forgotten my gold cross pen in the security check basket.
I asked (in Spanish) a security person if it was at all
possible to enquire whether it was found by any of the agents. He took me to a very pleasant young lady who asked me to describe it, opened her desk drawer and handed it to me with a smile.
That experience spoke volumes about the honesty of that employee, as she could easily have kept it
My positive Tico experience.
I had chemoratioation to my neck and take prescription medication and am on an all liquid diet. How do I not get my meds confiscated at the security point and gate pat down?
I palnned on packing a full sized suitcase with the powdered ingredients to make my nutritional drinks in CR, (mix with milk). How do I get a suitcase full of white powder thru?
I am about to travel to CR and am amused by the complaints of USA citizens. They obviously have never been a foreigner travelling to USA airports., we are and I have threatened to divorce my husband if after this trip I ever have to travel via USA again, their airports are hell
Is there an answer to left luggage facilities at San Jose airport?
Lost and Found telephone: 2442-2139. I am Costa Rican, but not live there. Coming back, we lost a box worth several hundred dollars in purchases we made at the airport two days ago. I digged and found this phone (above mentionend). Called, and got connected right away. They located the box, and my family picked it up already. Maybe because I spoke Spanish, maybe a bit of luck but I received expedited service. Three emails in the last 3 hours to let me know that they received description of my items, then where to go and now that the box was picked up. I was not hopeful to find the box at all as it even did not have our names on it. I am sharing this as I understand the frustration of not finding a lost and found number right away.
We will have to take a local flight to go south, and a week later, north. A lot of gear won't be used when on the south.
Is there lockers, or safe space we can rent, to leave our extra luggage, and get them back one week later when we will travel north?
is it possible to pay the airport tax of 26$ with MasterCard Kreditcard too???
This airport follow their own "CETAC" regulations, none of which are listed online. It does not follow TSA regulations or any other regulations of major airports.
Thus, the security takes what they want, without any notice of what is allowed and what is not.
It is a very unjust procedure.
We flew into CR 8/4 thru Fort Lauderdale from BWI and arrived after midnight. To our dismay, only one suitcase made it. By 2:30 in the morning we were talking to lost a baggage representative. We filled out a form, got a claim number and were told they would deliver it to our hotel the next day when it arrived. He provided us with a phone number to call and check the next day. Next day, no suitcase. We call the numer given, it didn't work. Call the airport, no answer!?! Now panic is setting in. We go to Marriott staff (which are the greatest, most helpful people in the world!) and they can't find a live person to talk with about my luggage either. Both people who tried said no one ever picks up the phone when calling the airport. It is now day 3 and STILL no luggage. If anyone has suggestions, please we are desperate.
Soon I will be traveling into San Jose International.
I need to reach the North terminal or "Hangares de Norte" (Located inside International Airport.
Can anyone tell me about this? How do I reach this Hangares de Norte? How long will it take to get there on foot? And does anyone have a diagram of the SJO airport?
thank you so much.
You should respect the TSA rules.
Your security personnel has seized valuable items which went through many controls in the USA and in Switzerland. Could it be considered as a theft ?
How can you argue in such a situation ? Your personnel is very aware of this.
With all these comments, I feel it's worth my time to share something with you. My husband and I now live in Costa Rica from Northwest. We travel. With all these travels around the world, I have not lost anything, knock on wood. When I am in Security line, I never let go of my stuff unless I am actually ready to go through, so that I am aware where my things are, with these order; shoes, hand-carry luggage, tray of electronics and/or valuable things and my purse. I hand-carry all my electronics. CR airport is small; arrival and departing areas overlap. As for check security re liquids before boarding, it is annoying, but, it is a way to deter exchanging stuff between persons that may cause security breach, etc. It is unfortunate that you have bad memories of Costa Rica. Good luck on you next travels.
I'm glad I've found myself amongst the equally dissatisfied. I recently took a trip to CR and left my cell in the little back-pocket on the plane. Since then, I've accumulated almost "every" number at that airport trying to get to the Lost and Found. Every time I called . . . busy signal!!! Then I get back to the states and file a complaint. TWO WEEKS LATER I get a semi-canned response stating that they're sorry for my situation and to call the Lost and Found at that airport . . . and they give me the SAME NUMBER AGAIN!! Nice to know I've had two "round trips" to CR now! It's not even about the phone anymore since I had to buy another one. I just can't believe this type of service is actually allowed!!
Do not use your credit card to pay the departure tax! The airport deceitfully process the payment as a cash withdrawal without informing anyone. This means you will incur a cash fee and resulting interest. The tax charged also does not tally up to the details on the signs of how it is distributed which is telling.
Please, what is the name of the restaurant located outside the terminal,on your right as you exit the building.
i think is just pass the puclic phones!
My cell phone was stolen out of my carry on luggage, most likely as my bag was 'searched' going through security or out of the taxi I took. Don't let anyone touch anything you own that is of value or you can expect it to disappear. Sad.
i have traveled back and forth from San Jose airport to florida several times and I've never had any problems at the San Jose airport, all these reviews i've read about them stealing things, have never happened to me and I've brought over many things to CR. So i'm very happy with the airport until now, they have lost my daughers whole backpack after she volunteered to help out Spirit airline by taking a later flight, now her backpack is gone and no one has helped her in locating her backpack, i've called the airport and get a busy signal, no other phone number is available to call. This is just unbelievable this is all of my daughters belongings she has in her life and to lose this is priceless no compensation can replace what she's lost. So i'm very upset that i can't even get a hold of anybody at the airport. Please fix this problem because then you'd be the perfect airport.
I have been to San Jose many times and find the buses fine for my purposes. I will be flying in on Spirit next time and arriving a little after midnight. Do the buses run all night? Is there a schedule anywhere?
El sistema de verificar equipaje es uno super anticuado y ni las mismas personas que hacen la verificacion del equipaje antes de abordar entienden los requisitos.
En mi viaje mas reciente a Costa Rica, la persona verificando mi equipaje no pudo darme una razon por la cual no podia utilizar mi bolsa transparente donde guardo mis liquidos y gel de pelo. Solo decia que tenia que ser en una ziplock porque asi lo exigia TSA y que al llegar a los Estados Unidos tendria porblemas. Les recomiendo que se eduquen pues esto no es cierto. El ejemplo de la ziplock es porque es lo mas economico y todos saben lo que es.
La verdad que se complican muchisimo y no tiene sentido que luego de haber pasado por el chequeo de rayos x haya que verificar todo el equipaje al 100%.
Lamentable que en este tiempo tengan un sistema tan anticuado y mas aun, denigrante e incomodo.
Security check point is a joke. Why do they have to go through every single carry-on after you've gone through the x-ray machines and metal detectors. This makes no sense whatsoever. Furthermore, the "security" check does not gives you a valid reason as to why certain items are not allowed. It seems the security person liked my hand sanitizer and wanted to keep it. She told me it was only allowed in a ziplock bag, so I pulled one out to put the hand sanitizer in it and she told me it was too late, so she kept it.
Well done Costa Rica TSA.
My kindle was lost or stolen. I flew into San Jose on 1/25/13 and it has a purple case. Please contact me if found!!! Thank you!
Be very careful with luggage you bring from us to Costa Rica, security and whom ever is checking the luggage steal everything. I had new clothes for myself to wear over there that were stolen, red bulls that were in my check bags stolen, I have had my camera in my carry on and my daughters ds stolen. Be sure to wrap your suircases in plastic when going to costa rica and when departing. Also, be careful in san jose. I had a taxi pick me up in san jose and I seen them put my luggage in back trunk, but when I got to destination the suitcases were miracuoulosly gone when we opened the truck to retrieve my luggages. I was told that it is possible when at a stop light professional thieves can open trunk and steal them. Id advise keep luggage by your side at all times, locked and platic wrapped. This country is suffering and people there including airport will rob and steal anything they can, and there is never reimbursement or any answers. Just your loss for being stupid. Beautiful country , but most dishonest people. Can definitely not trust airport security. Number 1 thieves! !!
In looking at the recent comment by Matthew it seems that the new scam when paying the departure tax is to use the cash advance option. Not only was i charged a $10 cash advance fee, but I was charged $57 (for one person)when paying the departure tax with the cash advance. Who would I speak to in order to correct this?
Can any one confirm the cost of taxis to town, This page says abput $20.00 but cant tell how long ago that was.
The airport shops (Britt) run a scam where they swipe your credit card multiple times and then produce your payment receipt. Actually what they are doing is running multiple charges against your card and taking the extra funds. Trying to correct the situation is impossible once you discover the error. Avoid using a card when paying at the airport shops.
My wife and I recently departed San Jose. I paid for the departure tax with my credit card. The woman at the desk processed each person seperatley and then when I returned home I found a $5 charge for each of us as a cash advance. No one told me this, nor was there a sign or anyting to tell me I would be charged and additional $5 fee for using my credit card. The FEE Costa Rica charges is higher than anywhere in the world and adding this is insult to injury. I am extremely dissapointed in how this aspect of Costa Rica's tax process is handled and suggest you correct it immediately. In addition, we would like that $10 back as we did not authorize it.
This is by far the most backward airport in the world. You have to buy exit tax before check in so everyone is crowded by luggage everywhere. There is a fast line for creditcard but the sign does not tell you about the feesthat come with it. After being checked once you must be body searched at gate. No more food court but new stores selling overpriced crap.
I was encouraged by the staff-many people-to purchase small bottles of a tomato salsa instead of a large bottle.
(I had a recipe from a chef in Atenas that used this salsa.) The bottles were too big, the security said as I was about to
board the plane. I believe the amount ub tge bittke was 135 ml. I don't know how I could damage a plane with salsa. I think there should be no checks at boarding if you've already gone through security.
I loved the country, but the airport security needs a mediator at the boarding station.
with the remodeling of the CR airport to look more "western" has come the rude security people that we suffer through in the US. They also have no food available except the crappy fast food we try to get away from when leaving the US. SO SAD for Costa Rica.
I am disappointed and concerned. Upon check in yesterday I had my 2 nice travel umbrella confiscated. They were in my carry on and supposedly not allowed. Who travels CR in the rainy season without rain gear! Security web sites say umbrellas are allowed after bring inspected. TSA states that umbrellas - allowed in carry-on baggage once inspected to ensure prohibited items are not concealed. This should not have happened.
Security in the airport is very poor. In the regardes that they do not tell you why they take something. I tried to ask but the man did not know any english and I tried the semi spanish I knew. He took a bag of shells and some glass pebbles I bought from a local vendor. The shells I come to find out are not allowed to leave the country by law. But when I asked about my glass he just gave me a "oh-well" look and walked away. The shells I could live without but the glass I bought I should of been able to carry it on. Why should I put money into their country if I cannot buy and take my goods home?
I always have been proud of my Country because of their coordiality and consideration for the elderly, the pregnant women but this time around ,being 7 months pregnant I had to stand over an hour to check in my feet were killing me, my belly was hurting and still they did let me go thru to a faster lane , but they did let families with young children in their strollers to go to a faster lane.
Why is that? they are in an stroller any ways? they are not getting tired?.
This time you guys really dissapointedme
Telephones are a big rip off in San Jose International airport! Our plane had mechanical problems and was delayed for 48 hours. I had to call home from the airport to notify my babysitter. They do not post the rates on the phone! When I returned home 2 days later, a 5 min phone call to Florida was $85.00!! I had made a few calls, all $85 each. Do not use these phones. Shame on the airport for letting the vulnerable tourists be ripped off!
Need a contact for lost and found - my daughter left her Nintendo DS on American Airlines flight end of February and I am told by airline this would have been left at the arriving airport? Thanks!
I lost my wallet in the area of Juan Santamaria Internetional airoport on my back travel home on th 13th of december. I was notified that i can request it back, since it was found by airport administration. How can i get it back? There was cash, two credit cards,(citybank and lumibank), driver license, padi diving sertificate. Can you send it back by plane? I am ready to pay any mean you will provide.
We have a group arriving at different times of the day. Is there a secure place to lock up our baggage in the airport so we can explore while waiting for the rest of our group?
How do I get a phone number for lost and found at the security check-in station?
i brought a skateboard into costa rica, the security in america let me take as carry on, which is correct procedure, a skateboard is not listed as a banned item for carry on.
When leaving costa rica, the security man said that i was not allowed to take my skateboard as carry on luggage. so i do my best to put it in my back pack. when i get home and and unpack my things, my skateboard is cracked. this skateboard is a work of art, that took many hours to create. So because of the Security of SJO, i have a broken skateboard. I don't blame Spirit, they handle bags rough, obviously. That is why it i wanted my precious item on as carry on. please get this right with your security, and me if you "live pure".
It was nice, when I arrived, but I desperately need to find out the taxi fare from calle 6 avendia 5y7, 45 metros sur Iglesia, De fatima-Heredia. to the airport, I want to be sure I have enough colones to pay for the taxi, can anyone help me.
The only thing that you do not provide is a customer service phone number...the reason is I am in need to locate a person at the airport and there is no phone number for contact.....
Costa Rica travel facts
|Diplomacy||65 Costa Rican embassies and consulates|
|Currency||Costa Rican colón (CRC)|
|Euro exchange rate||€1 = CRC788.0|
CRC1000 = €1.27
|US dollar exchange rate||US$1 = CRC547.9|
CRC1000 = US$1.83
|International dialing prefix||00|