Costa Rica is a country that recognizes and revels in the travel international and domestic travel that takes place each day. A large part of the economy, it is in the best interest of the country to make sure that tourist travel is available. There are several international airports, which make for great hubs for the big transfers. But for those that are doing smaller transfers, there are also domestic airports and airlines; you might be surprised to find how strong the domestic air travel infrastructure is!
Flying is a great and easy way to travel throughout Costa Rica, especially to the regions that are more remote. These off the beaten path areas, such as the Osa Peninsula
, might not even have developed roads – just dirt tracks! If you are looking for a convenient way to travel while you are in Costa Rica, consider using one of the two main airlines in the country that provide not only reasonably priced domestic air travel, but also offer scheduled daily flights.
Domestic Air Travel in Costa Rica
You’ll find that the two regularly operating airlines in Costa Rica are Sansa and Nature Air
. Between these two airlines, you’ll be able to travel to at least 12 different destinations across the country, all linked from the major hub, San Jose. While you won’t find a larger commercial airplane at these domestic airlines, you’ll discover that there are other ways to fly! These airlines operate a variety of small prop planes that are never too crowded since they can only carry between 9 and 25 passengers at a time.
With these airlines you can fly not only to major cities like Liberia International Airport or Quepos Domestic Airport, but you can get flights to remote regions such as the Puerto Jiménez
Domestic Airport in South Puntarenas or the La Fortuna / Arenal Volcano Domestic Airport in Alajuela. It is important to note that while Sansa and Nature Air operate from the Juan Santamaria International Airport
, many charters operate out of the domestic Tobias Bolanos Airport in downtown San Jose, a 20 minute drive away.
When planning your trip to Costa Rica, you should definitely consider whether you want to use domestic flights, since it will have an impact on your budget. Most of the domestic flights are moderately priced at as low as $100 one way; you’d likely need just a one-way for most of your flights, since a typical Costa Rica tourist itinerary will have you going to many new places and only back to your main travel hub when you are ready to leave for good. Keep in mind that, like with most things, the peak tourist season will cause more demand on these domestic airlines and prices will go up. Book in advance to secure your seat and lock in a great price.
Costa Rica Domestic Airline Map
Things to Consider
Some important things that you need to keep in mind when traveling by a domestic airline are;
Infants and children up to the age of 2 fly for free.
Nature Air permits between 15 lbs. and 40 lbs. of checked baggage per person, determined by the fare class purchased.
Sansa / Taca Regional permits 1 piece with maximum weight of 30 lbs./14 kgs and up to 45 linear inches / 114 cm. (length + height + width) Excess baggage has additional charges. The price of excess baggage is subject to change.
Surfboards are often treated as excess baggage, so it is best contact the airline before hand and find out. Make sure when you book to ask if they can take your surfboard, some flights don't have room.
Another great way to fly is to charter a flight to get to the destination of your choice, while they are slightly more costly, they are a great alternative to traveling on your own schedule.