San Jose Santamaria (SJO) Airport

San Jose Santamaria SJO Airport Overview

San Jose Santamaria International Airport SJO (officially named 'Aeropuerto Internacional Juan Santamaria' or 'AIJS') is Costa Rica's primary airport, managed by AERIS Holding. Costa Rica is a small Central American country bordering to the east & west on the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean, and to the south & north on Panama and Nicaragua.  With steadily-increasing passengers, SJO now ranks second among Central America's airport (Panamanian Tocumen ranks first).

The Airport is located in El Coco, northwest province of Alajuela, and is 16 km or a 20-minute drive from the capital city of San Jose, in central Costa Rica - The Bernardo Soto highway runs west to the Pacific coast and the General Canas highway runs east to San Jose city.
From the Airport you can reach most parts of Costa Rica within a 6-hour drive (see listing below)..

With a long runway and an estimated 3.7 million passengers a year, Juan Santamaria Airport is served by a good number of domestic and international airlines offering direct and connecting flights to all parts of the globe.
As most US and other international carriers land at Juan Santamaria International, the airport also offers domestic flights for travelers wishing to get to other parts of Costa Rica (see below*).

- Costa Rica charges a departure tax of US $28 on all international flights leaving the country (best to pay local or US currency to avoid scams).
- Avoid using the airport's public telephone to make out-of-the-country calls. Rates are not posted, but are exhorbitant!
- Have your bags wrapped in plastic to avoid theft (baggage wrap stations are near entrances A, B & C;  when using a taxi, insist on having your bag inside (not in the trunk). 
- 24-hour food & drink availability:  The Italian 'LavAzza' cafe offers gourmet food & beverages (

Connecting flights and International Arrivals:
- Connecting passengers
should contact their airline personnel by using the airline phones in the terminal.
- International Arrivals: (You can make a purchase at duty-free store prior to getting to immigration). Follow signs to the immigration area with your passport (and Visa, if applicable) in hand; retrieve your baggage where indicated; and go through customs & border control handing them your completed customs declaration.

Juan Santamaria International Airport complex has an new integrated passenger terminal
. Arriving and departing passengers are divided by glass walls.
Entrances A & B on the street level lead to the Departures / check-in.
Between B  C is a Mini Market and a station for exit permits to minors. 
Entrance C on street level leads to passport control, security check & departure gates.

    The Arrivals level of the Terminal  has immigration checkpoints, an Information counter,  transit passengers point, leading to  baggage carousels 2 to 5, Customs, Information counter, Lost Baggage Claim; with bank branch, ATM & currency exchange, tourist information,and rental car counters.
    The Departures level of the Terminal has a check-in area with baggage wrap, ATM cash machines,  a departure tax area at right and Information counter & escalators/elevator to the mezzanine level at left, with airline counters & their offices in the back.
Boarding Area leading to gates 2, 3 & 4, has a food court, ATM machine, stop, first aid, mail drop, duty-free stores and VIP Lounges on 2 levels.
The Boarding Area leading to gates 5, 6 & 7  - reached by the main entrance - offers duty-free, currency exchange & ATM, restaurant, stores & fast-food, and has a Transit passenger station near gate 5 entrance. 
The Boarding Area leading to gates 8, 9 & 10 offers a bar, duty-free, shops & fast-food.
VIP Lounge Santamaria  with access through gate 4 is available for passengers of the Star Alliance airlines, TACA business class or Life Miles; Iberia (with coupon), & American Express cardholders). Tel: (506) 2442-9192 /8786; email-
Parking options include short- and long-term parking opposite the terminals.

* Other areas in Costa Rica can be reached from the following Airports (Domestic flights are priced at about $80 one way, but cost more in peak tourist season):
    The smaller international Airport to the North - Daniel Oduber Airport near Liberia - is closer to the beautiful beaches on the Nicoya Peninsula (Tamarindo is one hour away) and the National Parks of  Santa Rosa and Guanacaste.
    Other domestic Airports in Costa Rica include:
- Limon, Barra del Colorado and Tortuguero - all at Limon;
- Nosara, Punta Islita, Tamarindo, and Carillo Samara - all at Guanacaste;
- Carate, Coto 47, Drake Bay, Golfito, Palmar Sur, & Puerto Jimenez - all at South Puntarenas; 
- La Fontuna at Alajuela;
- Pavas at San Jose;
- Quepos and Tambor - both at North Puntareans.

  • Address:

    El Coco - Alajuela Province, 200-4003
    Costa Rica
  • Website for San Jose Santamaria:
  • Phone: (506) 2437 2400 /fax 2424

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