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klam_chowder May 15th, 2010 07:36 PM

Help pls with logistics of Samara to SJO
I would like to go from Samara to SJO on a Sunday arriving at SJO as early as possible so that I can fly from SJO to Orlando (MCO) and then onward home. I have to fly to MCO first.

It doesn't appear that I can do this in one day and that I will have to stay overnite in the San Jose area. I'm really hoping to avoid this, not so much for cost but to save vacation time.

The Interbus travels from Samara to SJO from 9:00 to 14:45.
JetBlue seems to be the only ones with direct flights from SJO to MCO. It leaves at 13:54
Other airlines have flights that leave at 17:37 but don't arrive in MCO until midnite and I would have to wait until 8am the next morning for a flight out.
I was thinking of flying from Liberia to SJO but there are no shuttles from Samara to Liberia.

Is there some other way to get to SJO in time for 13:54 flight?

We were in Costa Rica for one port day last year and it was such a beautful place we're coming back to explore it some more this year.

Not sure if I've been flipping btwn all the webpages for so long that I have confused myself...but it seems I am stuck. Any suggestions much appreciated!


Jeff_Costa_Rica May 15th, 2010 08:32 PM

You don't say where your final destination is and why you have to connect at MCO. Are there other options for connecting airports you're not looking at?

I'm not sure you have any choice. If you do take that approx.-2 p.m. flight out, you're supposed to be at SJO by 11 a.m. (officially, that is). You can probably fudge that some, but not a lot.

Some wise person here (can't remember who it was) once pointed out that there are nice, distinctive places to stay in striking distance of the airport where you can come back to (Vista del Valle, Xandari, Finca Rosa Blanca ...) the night before you fly out and not feel like your Costa Rican vacation has ended. You can have a nice relaxing final evening and leisurely morning before you fly out. That's what I would do.

What you're proposing doing would be such a hectic morning that would have to begin WAY before dawn. Why end your vacation that way? :)

klam_chowder May 16th, 2010 07:09 AM

Thx a mint for your thoughts Jeff_Costa_Rica!

I woke up with the idea that we could rent a car and drive ourselves. Anyone driven Samara to SJO...are the roads reasonable? We would rent a GPS for the day. The online maps say anywhere from 3.5 to 5.5 hours - what seems reasonable?

Also noticed late last nite that there is a Carillo Domestic airport. Sansa apparently flies to SJO from it...anyone use this airport before? I can't seem to get flight info from Sansa on it and Nature Air only does charters there.

I didn't want to bog down the post with details of why I had to return to MCO so just put it in as a "constant". I'd done the research on it already: I live in Northeast small mkt. Because I am flying during snow/storm season and high season (around the Christmas holidays), I do not want to transit thru LGA/JFK/EWR. JetBlue seems to be the only airline that flies direct to MCO and MCO has direct flights to my market. Also we are heading to CR after a separate 9 day vacation in Florida so we might pick up our luggage from there rather than bringing it all to CR.

I might be stuck with an extra nite in the airport area and we'll do that if we have to but I am really looking for options to avoid that. Doing one more leg, packing and unpacking and packing, checking in and out, and coordinating one more form of transportation to the airport, etc. To each his own, to me that isn't very relaxing after 4 flake-out days in Samara; I'd rather just be on something and on my way home - I think the bus ride will be relaxing as I can just look at the scenery.

Any more thoughts on this appreciated.


Jeff_Costa_Rica May 16th, 2010 08:08 AM

My concern would be delays in getting back in time that Sunday morning. What if you have car trouble or a flat tire? What if there's a lot of traffic (suprisingly common on a Sunday as everyone heads back to San Jose from the beach)? If you don't make it to SJO in time, you're a no-show and your ticket is cancelled. You then have to fork out the money for a last-minute, one-way flight and that will be a lot more expensive than what you paid for your original ticket. That's assuming there's space on the flight the next day.

Coming back the night before your flight out do you really need to unpack everything again only to pack it the next morning? Keep what you need for that last night right on top and just take those things out of your bag. Leave the rest of your stuff packed. That's what I would do.

I understand why you want to maximzie your time at the beach. I just think you're setting yourself up for an exhausting, stressful day.

shillmac May 16th, 2010 08:20 AM

Totally agree with Jeff. It is a long drive back from Samara to SJO regardless of how you do it. Definitely check into flying from Carillo to SJO on Sansa, but if that doesn't work out, Jeff's idea of spending the last night near the airport is spot on. There are some absolutely beautiful places nearby; so gorgeous you may wonder why you didn't return even sooner!

hsmithcr May 16th, 2010 11:50 AM

Right now, the airport at Samara is closed because of problems with the runway. The closest airports would be either Punta Islita or Nosara. Check these for early am flights.

Totally agree with shillmac and Jeff. You never know what you will run into trying to get from one place to another. This holds true no matter where you are. It would be really ugly to have something happen to delay you and miss your flight. Even if you had trip insurance, you would probably have to get a copy of an accident report - or something similar - from the police to have it pay off.

I would just put the things you need for the night in your carryon or in the top of your suitcase, take an afternoon shuttle to the Alajuela area and stay at a comfortable Costa Rican hotel - (not Hampton Inn). Jeff has listed some great hotels and I would add - Pura Vida which is also a spa. This, instead of being a hassle, will round out your Costa Rican vacation and is a great way to say goodbye. Have a pleasant evening, sit on the porch and take in the view, have a relaxed, huge, delicious Costa Rican breakfast the next morning and head to the airport

Have you checked Ft Lauderdale for flights to where you live? Spirit Airlines flies out of SJO direct to Ft Lauderdale.

Jeff_Costa_Rica May 16th, 2010 12:47 PM

I think this is one of those things you have to find out for yourself. Costa Rica is a fantastic place to travel, but once you've been here, you see there are some real logistics issues to getting around. Go ahead with your plan for that last day, but I fear you'll regret being way out on the NW Pacific coast when you need to check-in at the airport late that very same the morning. It's going to be nowhere near as easy as you think it will.

That's just the way things are in Costa Rica. :)

klam_chowder May 17th, 2010 06:54 AM

Jeff_Costa_Rica & shillmac - thx a mint for your viewpoints. I came here to seek advice as I know Fodorites reply to give travellers the best trip possible. I really appreciate you taking the time to let me know I could be stranded...aaack! Yes, definitely not a good way to end a trip...LOL!

hsmithcr - great info on the airport - makes sense now! Thx a mint for the info on the other airports and airlines. I'd heard Spirit but have not flown with them before so know very little about them. I'll look into their routes (= And I see that the other airports are about an hour away so that might be a great solution!

I now know driving Samara > SJO on the last day will be stressful & too risky. I'll spend some time checking out my options, and will stay another nite if need be. Thx so much all!!


shillmac May 17th, 2010 06:19 PM

There you go--extend your trip. Now why didn't we all think of that?! Perfect.

I smiled at Jeff's remarks, remembering a few times at the airport when we have witnessed some very stressed families. I guess it is hard to say whether they were just tired of one another after a week of being together or if they were wrapping up their vacation with a frantic dash to the airport from the Pacific side. :D If you want paradise up to the very end, plan accordingly! No need returning to our crazy lifestyle until the plane lands on U.S. soil! :)

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