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Transport in Costa Rica

Getting There
The majority of people travelling to Costa Rica do so via the US as the flights from all the major cities only take between three and seven hours. Whether you fly directly or from the States you will, more than likely, be flying into Juan Sanatmaria International Airport which is located in the capital, San Jose and has regular buses departing for the city centre every fifteen minutes between 6.00am and 10.00pm. Although there are talks of a new international terminal in Liberia, this has not yet been finalised.

All the major American airlines fly to Costa Rica including American Airlines which flies daily from Miami and Dallas, United Airlines flying from L.A. and Washington, Delta which flies from Atlanta, Continental flies from Houston and Newark, Mexicana has flights from Chicago, Dallas, Denver, L.A., Miami, Montreal, New York and Toronto and Grupo Taca, the national airline, which is an amalgamation of several Central American airlines and offers connections to and from Houston, L.A., Miami, New Orleans, New York, San Francisco and Washington. If you are flying from outside the US, you will either have to fly to the States first or make a connection- usually Miami.

Getting Around
Due to its relatively small size – no part of the country is any more than nine hours by road from the capital – internal travel in Costa Rica couldn’t be easier. Flying as always is the most efficient way to get from one town or city to the next and because flights don’t take very long, they are not too expensive. Two domestic airlines are in operation – Sansa and Travelair – but the latter comes much more highly recommended. It operates from Tobis Bolanos International Airport in Pavas which lies just over 6km from San Jose or about ten minutes in a taxi which will cost you about $10. Sansa operates from the main terminal in San Jose but is often overbooked and prone to change which you will not be informed about in advance. During peak season it is advisable to book well in advance for both airlines.

For those of you who either have to or prefer to see some of the countryside, however, the bus system is perfectly fine. Cheap and cheerful they go to almost every corner of the country. There are three different types in operation. Local buses are the least expensive but also the slowest. Stopping every couple of minutes they are quite run down but if you’re not travelling too far they do the trick. Express buses run between the capital and the majority of major cities and beach resorts but services are much less frequent off- season. The third option is luxury coaches which travel from San Jose to areas visited by foreigners. As well as public transport, however, there are also a wide variety of tour companies offering excellent trips throughout the country.

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