Pavas International Airport (Tobías Bolaños), San José

Pavas Domestic Airport Airplane
Pavas Domestic Airport Airplane

If you are visiting Costa Rica and looking for a convenient way to travel within the country, then you should try to fly out of Pavas International Airport (Tobías Bolaños) instead of using one of the bigger international airports that are used to fly in and out of the country.

Why Tobías Bolaños?

Though not one of the big two airports in Costa Rica, Tobías Bolaños is considered to be among the major airports in the country, and there are plenty of flights flying and in and out daily, on a regular basis. Tobías Bolaños annually serves in excess of approximately 105,000 passengers, which ranks it as not only the thirteenth busiest airport in Central America, but also the third most popular and busy airport in Costa Rica.

Tobías Bolaños is located in Pavas which is close to the Juan Santamaria International Airport – just about a 20-minute drive – and the US Embassy. The location is just a few miles from the city center of San José, which has made it the country’s main hub for chartered domestic air travel.

Tobías Bolaños is close to plenty of great activities, including shopping and restaurants, as well as popular and affordable overnight and extended-stay accommodations, so many of the domestic carriers use this as their main airport hub to transfer tourists in and around the country.

Local Destinations

The airport being situated in Pavas, so close to the San Jose City & Metro area and also so close to the major international airport, Juan Santamaria, means that it is able to cater to both domestic and international commercial flights, as well as several private international chartered flights.

From Tobías Bolaños, the airline operates service to Costa Rican destinations like La Fortuna, Tortuguero, Golfito, Palmar Sur, Puerto Jimenez, Drake Bay, Quepos, Tambor, Punta Islita, Nosara, Tamarindo and Liberia as well as Managua, Nicaragua, and Bocas del Toro in Panamá. Additionally, several smaller carriers based at Tobías Bolaños operate different domestic and international charter flights throughout the region, including Nicaragua, Granada and Panama.

The area of San José that the airport is close to is an upscale part of the city, which means that Tobías Bolaños frequently serves some of the most elite Costa Rican travelers. There are also many diplomats employed at the nearby US Embassy that use the conveniently located airport as their main hub and home base for travel around the country. Several governmental bodies also operate facilities at the hub, including the airport police, customs, meteorology, drug control, intelligence and security agencies.

As a Costa Rican traveler using Tobías Bolaños, you will have the option to take advantage of the shuttle service that is provided by Nature Air between Tobías Bolaños and the Juan Santamaria International Airport. Since Juan Santamaria is one of the main gateways through which foreign visitors enter Costa Rica, this shuttle service is really convenient. The carrier operates shuttles approximately every two hours, allowing passengers to travel within Costa Rica as soon as they arrive in the country and to easily make their international connections when they are flying home.

The airport was opened on December 21, 1975, replacing an older facility situated in La Sabana. The airfield was named for Tobías Bolaños Palma, the first plot in Costa Rica. Bolaños served in the French army during World War I, and he was given a lifetime pension from the government of France in recognition of his service.

People traveling through Tobías Bolaños will enjoy its modern facilities, which include domestic and international passenger terminals and a high-tech control tower. Additionally, the airport also features schools for aviation mechanics and airplane and helicopter pilots.

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Where to Stay near Pavas International Airport (Tobías Bolaños)

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Costa Rica Marriott Hotel San José
Starting at $195 / night
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Hotel Villa Los Candiles
Starting at $90 / night
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Hilton San José La Sabana
Starting at $165 / night
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Hotel Luisiana
Starting at $44 / night
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Casa 69 Bed & Breakfast
Starting at $40 / night
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Hilton Garden Inn San José La Sabana
Starting at $181 / night

Things to Do near Pavas International Airport (Tobías Bolaños)

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Cafe Britt Coffee Tour
Starting at $175 for 2 people (min 2 people)
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Vip City Bus Cultural Tour
Starting at $86.1 / person
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Intercultura Language School & Cultural Center
Starting at $35 /lesson