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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.

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 3.4 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 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).

NOTE: 1. 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).
2.  Avoid using the airport's public telephone to make out-of-the-country calls. Rates are not posted, but are exorbitant!
3. Have your bags wrapped in plastic to avoid theft;  when using a taxi, insist on having your bag inside (not in the trunk). 
4. Reading current passenger feedbacks, it seems scoundrels don't miss a beat to rip off travelers any way they can!

Connecting flights and International Arrivals:
1. Connecting passengers
should contact their airline personnel by using the airline phones in the terminal.
2. 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 two terminals under one roof - TM & TS.
The new International terminal is the Main Terminal and the Domestic Terminal is the Sansa Terminal). Arriving and departing passengers are divided by glass walls.  (The Airport's map only shows the basics of  the ground level).  As per Wiki, the airport has 17 gates and has three waiting rooms on level 1, used for regional & domestic flights.
A VIP lounge is on the lower level of the main terminal, near Gate 4A. VIP Lounge Costa Rica is for business/first class passengers of selected airlines, travel companies, banks, Priority Pass program members, and for any paying passengers. Rental car desks are located in the Arrivals area of the International Terminal.

Parking options at San Jose Santamaria Airport include short- and long-term parking opposite the terminals.

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

Present and future Airport developments:  The Airport is to undergo refurbishment work, starting November 2013.

  • Address:

    El Coco - Alajuela Province
    Costa Rica
  • Website for San Jose Santamaria:
  • Phone: (506) 2437 2400

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