How to get to the Airport

How to get to the Airport

The airport is located 11 miles west of the city of San Jose in the Pan American highway, near the city of Alajuela.

To get from the capital, follow the General Cañas Highway, this will take you directly to the airport.

Costa Rica SJO airport services:

  • Services at the Airport

The passenger will find in the Juan Santamaria International Airport, commercial facilities such as gift shops, book stores, clothing stores, pharmacies, electronics stores, duty free shops, restaurants, bars, cafes, money exchange, ATMs, VIP rooms, jewelry, so you can enjoy your waiting time and can make last-minute purchases in a comfortable atmosphere. In this section you will find a directory of shops and services the airport has for you.


?/Frequently Asked Questions

  • Departure Procedures

    How long before your flight should you arrive at the airport?

    It is recommended that you arrive at the airport three hours prior to your flight’s departure.

    How much is the departure tax from Costa Rica?

    The departure tax charge to exit the Costa Rican territory applies to all passengers, citizens of Costa Rica and foreigners, minors and adults. Currently this tax is US $ 29.00.

    Where you can pay the departure tax?

    It is important for the passenger to find out if the airline with which they are traveling has the departure tax included in the ticket price, if not the tax may be paid at the Bancrédito counter located in the lobby of the airport.

    List of airlines that already include the departure tax on the ticket.

    Inclusion of departure taxes

      • AeroMexico
      • Air Panamá
      • Air Canada
      • American Airlines
      • Grupo Avianca
      • Copa
      • Delta Airlines
      • VECA
      • Jet Blue Airways
      • Southwest Airlines
      • United Airlines
      • Alaska Air Lines
      • IBERIA (august 4)

        Exit Tax

        Starting in June 2015, this tax will be included in the Flight Ticket value.

        The following airlines already charged the exit tax amount into their tickets value:

      These airlines hasn’t yet include the exit tax value:


      • Cubana
      • Interjet
      • Spirit
      • Volaris
      • British Airways

    What are the requirements for traveling with a minor?

    Costa Rican minors who wish to leave the country must have a travel permit issued by the General Directorate of Immigration. The Minor Exit Permit must be requested by the minor’s parents and may be obtained either at the General Directorate of Immigration’s central offices in San José or on the day of travel at Immigration’s airport office. Both parent’s signatures and official identification documents are required.

    What are the requirements for a minor traveling unaccompanied?

    These requirements are regulated by the General Directorate of Immigration, which issues a travel permit on the prior authorization of both the minor’s father and mother. Once the travel permit has been issued, a parent or responsible adult must escort the minor to the airline counter. Airline personnel will take custody of the minor, until meeting with the adult designated with picking up the minor at the country of destination.

    Who should take the yellow fever vaccine, and when?

    People traveling from countries considered “high risk” must take the vaccine at least 10 days prior to entering Costa Rica. Anyone living in Costa Rica who is traveling to any of the countries labeled as “high risk” must take the vaccine 10 days prior to exiting Costa Rica.

    The areas labeled as “high risk” for yellow fever are:

    Sub-Saharan Africa: Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and Sudan.

    South America: Bolivia, Venezuela, Brazil, Peru, Colombia, and Ecuador.

    The Caribbean: French Guiana.

    What should be the weight and size of my luggage?

    Maximum luggage weight depends on the policies of each airline. Fees for excess or overweight baggage are also determined by the airline. If you have any questions, please check your airline’s baggage policies.

    I need to change the departure date of my flight, where do I need to go?

    You can make the change over the phone, by contacting the airline directly. For an airline directory.

    Arrival procedures

    Where can I ask for assistance for people with disabilities or for unaccompanied minors?

    You must contact and notify the airline operating the flight of the person needing assistance. The air carrier will take care of the required services. For the airline directory.

    Who needs a visa to enter Costa Rica?

    This information is available at the Central American Corporation for Air Navigation Services’ website, under the title “Entry, transit and departure of aircraft”

    If I land at the SJO airport as “transit”, can I leave the airport without losing my status, or should I pay the departure tax in order to re check-in?

    You can exit the airport, provided there is a minimum of 5 hours between your flights. If your citizenship requires a visa to enter the country, you will be asked to provide it.

    The maximum period of time you can stay as “transit” is twelve hours. During this period, you are exempt from paying the departure tax, unless you are returning to the same country of origin. For example, if your flight is coming from Panama, and you stay in Costa Rica for eight hours, and then return to Panama, you will have to pay the departure tax.

    Special Assists

    • Special mobility needs

      Sky Cap is the company authorized to provide wheelchair assistance for passengers with reduced mobility. This service can be contracted through the airline or directly with Sky Cap.

      The contact for the Sky Cap services is:
      Phone: (506) 8330 4903

      Older adults

      For seniors who need help to move within the airport or help with luggage, ask for the cooperation of Sky Cap, authorized company that provides this service 24 hours a day. Sky Cap provides services in exchange for a tip.

      The contact for the Sky Cap services is:
      Phone: (506) 8330 4903

      Wireless Internet access – Wi-Fi

      All the Juan Santamaria International Airport has Wi-Fi available. To use it connect to any of the networks:


      Connect without the need to enter a password and enjoy Internet service.

      Public telephones

      The airport has public telephones throughout the terminal. You can make local and international calls using your debit or credit card.

      Medical services

      The airport is prepared for medical emergencies of any kind as it has a Red Cross station open 24 hours. This post is staffed by a paramedic team and have constant connection to the Alajuela Hospital, one of the most modern in the country.

      In addition if you require medication for some temporary condition, there are two pharmacies, the first one located in the Green Trails Store at Gate 4 and the second is a kiosk located at gate 10. These pharmacies are open from 5am to 10pm.

      The airport has defibrillators at convenient locations.

      Luggage transport

      • Juan Santamaria International Airport offers porterage. Sky Cap Company is the only authorized company. It’s in operation 24 hours. There are staff located in the international departures and baggage claim areas. Sky Cap provides services in exchange for a tip.For Private or Shuttle transportation :
      • Costa Rica Transportation Services 24/7
      • Contact us 506-60924449

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