Aerial View of San Jose Santamaria Airport

San Jose Santamaria Airport SJO

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San Jose Santamaria Airport (SJO) Guide

Welcome to San Jose Airport, the largest and busiest airport in Costa Rica. Located just 20 minutes from downtown San Jose, this airport serves as a gateway to the country's stunning natural beauty and vibrant culture. Whether you're a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveler, this guide will provide you with all the information you need to navigate the airport with ease and make the most of your time in Costa Rica.

If you're flying in or out of SJO, this extensive guide has got you covered. From flight status and tracking to airline departure terminals and gate locations, parking options, terminal maps, and food and shopping directories, we've compiled all the essential information and tips to help you get from your door to your gate smoothly and stress-free. For more detailed information on other major commercial airports, you can check out the iFly's Airport Guide. So sit back, relax, and let us take care of the details so you can focus on enjoying your trip to Costa Rica.

Helpful Tips

When to Arrive

It is recommended that travelers arrive at SJO Airport at least two hours before their flight's scheduled departure time. This allows enough time for check-in, security screening, and any unexpected delays. The busiest times at the airport are typically early morning and late afternoon, so it is best to avoid these times if possible.

Getting to the Airport

The best way to get to the airport is by taxi or private car. There are also shuttle services available from various hotels in the area. It is important to factor in traffic when planning transportation to the airport, as traffic can be heavy during peak travel times.

Getting Oriented

Travelers can use iFly.com's interactive airport maps to get oriented at San Jose Santamaria Airport. These maps provide detailed information about the airport's layout, including terminal locations, gate numbers, and amenities. It is also helpful to familiarize yourself with the airport's signage and follow the directions provided by airport staff.

Avoiding Delays

To avoid delays at San Jose Airport, it is important to arrive early and be prepared for security screening. Make sure to have all necessary documents, such as your passport and boarding pass, readily available. It is also a good idea to pack your carry-on bag in a way that makes it easy to remove items for screening. Lastly, stay up-to-date on any flight delays or cancellations by checking your airline's website or mobile app.

Navigating SJO's Terminals

SJO has one main terminal with two levels. The terminal is divided into three concourses: A, B, and C. Concourse A has 6 gates, Concourse B has 8 gates, and Concourse C has 5 gates. Major airlines such as Delta, American Airlines, United, and Southwest operate out of Concourse A, while Concourse B is used by airlines such as JetBlue, Copa Airlines, and Spirit Airlines. Concourse C is primarily used by local airlines such as Sansa and Nature Air.

As you navigate the terminal, you'll find a variety of services and amenities available to you. There are several restaurants and cafes, including Starbucks, Burger King, and Pops. Duty-free shops are also available for those looking to purchase souvenirs or gifts. If you need to exchange currency, there are several currency exchange booths located throughout the terminal. Additionally, there are ATMs, a pharmacy, and a post office.

Use our interactive airport map to locate food, services, and airline departure gates.

Connecting Between Terminals

SJO Airport has only one terminal, the Main Terminal. Therefore, there is no need for passengers to worry about getting between terminals. Once you arrive at the airport, you can easily navigate through the Main Terminal to find your departure gate. The Main Terminal offers a variety of services and amenities, including restaurants, shops, and lounges. The airport also provides free Wi-Fi throughout the terminal, making it easy for travelers to stay connected while waiting for their flight.

Dining, Shopping & Enjoying the Airport

The airport offers a variety of dining and shopping options to make your travel experience more enjoyable. If you're looking for a quick bite to eat before your flight, check out Burger King or Dunkin' Donuts, both located in the main terminal. For a sit-down meal, La Pampa Argentina serves up delicious steak and seafood dishes, while Café Britt offers a selection of Costa Rican coffee and light bites.

When it comes to shopping, there are plenty of options to choose from. If you need to pick up some last-minute souvenirs or gifts, head to Pura Vida or Britt Shop. For electronics and gadgets, visit iShop or InMotion. And if you're in need of some reading material for your flight, stop by Libros & Libros.

The locations of all food, shops, and services at San Jose Santamaria Airport can be found using iFly's interactive map. For a complete list of restaurants, bars, shops, and news stands, check out the food and shopping page.

Airport Hotels

Are you in search of a comfortable and convenient place to stay near the airport? Our comprehensive list of Juan Santamaria Airport Hotels is here to assist you. Whether you're in transit, catching an early flight, or simply want to stay close to the airport, we've got you covered. From budget hostels to luxury accommodations, these hotels offer a variety of amenities to meet your travel needs. Several of these hotels are located within a short distance from the airport, making them ideal for air travelers. Some offer complimentary shuttle services, ensuring seamless transfers for guests. Others are situated near local attractions like the breathtaking Poas National Park and the Alejandro Morera Soto Stadium, perfect for travelers looking to explore the area. No matter what your preference, these hotels offer comfort, convenience, and easy access to your flight.

Picking Up and Dropping Off Passengers

San Jose Airport provides convenient options for picking up and dropping off passengers. If you are picking up a passenger, you can use the curbside parking area located outside the main terminal. However, keep in mind that parking is not allowed in this area for more than a few minutes, and vehicles must be attended at all times. Unattended vehicles may be towed away by airport authorities.

If you need to wait for your arriving passenger, you can use the cell-phone waiting area located near the airport entrance. This area is free to use and provides a convenient place to wait while your passenger collects their luggage and clears customs. Once your passenger is ready, you can proceed to the curbside area for pick-up. Please note that parking is not allowed in the cell-phone waiting area, and vehicles must be attended at all times.

Parking Facilities & Options

SJO offers a variety of parking options to suit every traveler's needs. Parking is available at both the main terminal and off-airport locations.

The main terminal offers both covered and uncovered parking options, with easy access to the airport. There are also cell phone waiting areas available for those waiting for arriving passengers.

For those looking for more economical parking options, off-airport parking is available with shuttle service to the airport. This option is a great way to save money on parking fees while still ensuring a convenient and hassle-free airport experience.

Handicapped parking is available at both the main terminal and off-airport locations, with designated spaces located close to the terminal for easy access.

Get details about SJO Airport parking options and rates, along with more economical off-airport parking here.

Transportation Options

The airport in Costa Rica offers a variety of ground transportation options to get you to your final destination.

If you prefer to rent a car, major car rental companies such as Alamo, Avis, Budget, Enterprise, and Hertz are available at the airport. You can find their rental counters in the baggage claim area.

Taxis are also available outside the airport terminal. The drop-off area for taxis is located in front of the terminal building. Fares are regulated by the government and are based on the destination zone. Make sure to confirm the fare with the driver before getting in the taxi.

Shared ride services such as Uber and DiDi are available at the airport. The pickup area for these services is located in the parking lot across from the terminal building. Keep in mind that some restrictions may apply, such as the number of passengers and luggage allowed.

Airport shuttles are a convenient option for travelers staying at nearby hotels. The service is available 24/7 and can be booked in advance or upon arrival at the airport. The pickup area for airport shuttles is located outside the terminal building. Fares vary depending on the destination.

If you prefer public transportation, buses are available outside the airport terminal. The bus stop is located across from the parking lot. The fare is affordable and varies depending on the destination.

Passenger Services

San Jose Santamaria Airport offers a variety of passenger services to make your travel experience as comfortable and convenient as possible.

For those who need to stay connected, free wifi is available throughout the airport.

If you have lost an item during your travels, visit the lost and found located in the main terminal.

Traveling with children? There are designated play areas for kids to enjoy while waiting for their flight.

Special-needs services are also available, including wheelchair assistance and accessible restrooms.

For banking needs, there are ATMs and currency exchange services located in the main terminal.

In case of a medical emergency, there is a medical center located in the main terminal, open 24/7.

Flight Status Info

As an air traveler, it's important to stay up-to-date with the status of your flight departure. Fortunately, there are several ways to get flight status information at San Jose Airport in Costa Rica.

One of the easiest ways to check flight status is by using the in-airport flight displays (FIDS) located throughout the airport. These displays provide real-time updates on flight departures, delays, and gate information.

Passengers can also be alerted about departure delays, cancelations, or gate changes via the use of airline mobile phone apps. Most airlines have their own mobile apps that allow passengers to receive push notifications, text messages, or emails about any changes to their flight status. It's a good idea to download the app for your airline before your trip to stay informed.

Another way to stay informed is by signing up for text, email, or push notifications through third-party flight tracking services like FlightAware or FlightStats. These services provide real-time updates on flight status and can send alerts about any changes to your flight.

Passengers can check the status of their flight departure at SJO by visiting the flight departures page on ifly.com, which provides real-time updates on flight departures, delays, and gate information.

Airport Facts & Stats

SJO Airport is the primary international airport serving Costa Rica, located in the city of Alajuela, just outside of San Jose. The airport has one main terminal, which serves both domestic and international flights.

The top airlines with the most daily flights at SJO include Avianca, Copa Airlines, and American Airlines. On average, the airport handles around 20,000 passengers daily and has approximately 200 daily flights. The airport serves over 30 destinations, both domestic and international, with the top 5 destinations being Panama City, Miami, Mexico City, Madrid, and Houston.

Several airlines use SJO as a hub, including Avianca Costa Rica and Volaris Costa Rica. Other major carriers that operate at the airport include Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, and Southwest Airlines.

Airport History

The San Jose Santamaria Airport, located in Alajuela, Costa Rica, has a rich history dating back to the early 1950s. Here are some significant events in the airport's history:

  • 1955 - The airport was officially opened as the Aeropuerto Internacional El Coco.
  • 1975 - The airport was renamed to Aeropuerto Internacional Juan Santamaria in honor of a national hero who died in battle.
  • 1982 - The airport underwent a major expansion, including the construction of a new terminal building and runway.
  • 1995 - The airport was privatized and became the first airport in Latin America to be managed by a private company.
  • 2002 - A new international terminal was opened, increasing the airport's capacity to handle more passengers and flights.
  • 2012 - The airport underwent another expansion, adding a new parking garage and more boarding gates.
  • 2015 - The airport celebrated its 60th anniversary with a series of events and activities.
  • 2019 - The airport began construction on a new cargo terminal, which is expected to be completed in 2021.

Today, the San Jose Santamaria Airport is one of the busiest airports in Central America, serving millions of passengers each year and connecting Costa Rica to destinations around the world.

Airport Contact Info

For more information about the airport, please use the following contact information:

Find more help here for your journey through the airport