SJO airport

Jun 18th, 2003, 07:55 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 11
SJO airport

Hi everyone. We're leaving for C.R. in July, for a week-long vacation. We're trying to fit in as much as possible, which means not spending any nights in San Jose or Alajuelo. So, on the last day of our trip, we're going to make the long drive straight from Tamarindo to SJO for a 12:45PM flight.

Do you have any advice about SJO? Are there long check-in lines? What about security lines? Do we really need to be there two-three hours in advance? And are the rental-car drop-off places close to the main airport? Any advice would be helpful. Thanks!
JMartin64 is offline  
Jun 18th, 2003, 08:10 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 228
I know this isn't the answer you want, but I think you need the full 2-3 hours. I know we did - granted it was in January (peak tourist season) but it was also prior to 9/11, so it may be worse now. I'm sure you'll hear from more recent travellers. Also I remember being on line for a while only to find out we need to pay our departure tax first, so you might want to check on that when you get there.
bd is offline  
Jun 18th, 2003, 08:11 AM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 324
Have you booked your flights yet? If not, you might want to look into flying in and out of Liberia, which is what I have done. The flight was 20% less than San Jose and we were able to stay at our resort in Hermosa Beach until the day of departure because it was so close. Good Luck.
ewesthoff is offline  
Jun 18th, 2003, 09:55 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
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I would give yourself the 2-3 hours just to be safe. The lines shouldn't be that much longer than in the US, but they will certainly check your bags thoroughly. The airport isn't all that bad - they have some places to eat and a few gift shops. Also, San Jose traffic might be busy at that time. Just my two cents.
steelers is offline  
Jun 18th, 2003, 11:29 AM
Join Date: Jun 2003
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My husband and I visited there before Sept. 11th also and the lines were very long. Also, before you get in line, make sure you go to the information desk and ask them about the a tax certificate to get out of the country. We didn't know about it and waited in line forever. We had to go back to the information desk to purchase the certificate then get back at the end of the line. CR made up for it though! It is one of the most beautiful places I've been to. If you get a chance, go to Playa de Jaco. We loved it there. Also, don't forget to see the rain forest.
THorton is offline  
Jun 18th, 2003, 12:28 PM
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Thanks everyone for the great advice, especially the departure tax info. You just saved us a lot of time!
JMartin64 is offline  
Jun 18th, 2003, 01:11 PM
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Don't forget to have cash when you pay the departure tax --- you can use either US dollars or CR colon. Think it's about $17 USD. I've been to CR post 9/11; really do need to get there in sufficient time to allow for security checks. I'm guessing that you're flying out on Continental ? or American? or maybe Delta? Each of those carriers has a flight out of CR back to the states around midday to early afternoon, and so terminal gets busy then.
JBX is offline  
Jun 18th, 2003, 07:53 PM
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Thanks again everyone!
JMartin64 is offline  
Jun 18th, 2003, 08:06 PM
Join Date: Jun 2003
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The departure tax has recently increased to about $26 US. Do arrive two to three hours in advance. Be sure to fill out the form you are handed when you pay your departure tax, and before you check into your airline.
Expect that your checked luggage is now hand searched before you reach the ticket counter. Your carry on is x-rayed and checked by screeners before you reach the secured area. Different rules apply there - for example you cannot carry on board folding umbrellas or corkscrews. I do not know about full size umbrellas, as I have not carried one.
MrsSoryu is offline  
Jun 25th, 2003, 08:09 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
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Be sure to leave very early for the airport, 4:30 a.m. would be best. It will take you about 5hrs to drive providing you don't get lost then you have to turn the car in and get to the terminal. You might be better off flying if at all possible if you want to spend that last night in Tamarindo.
The new terminal is pretty big. I had a terrible time trying to find out where to pay the departure tax. The place was a mad house because it was during the blizzard this winter and most of the eastern flights had been canceled so everyone was hanging around the airport trying to figure out what to do. After many years of traveling down there I knew it had to be somewhere. I asked at information..clueless. Asked at the bank...even more clueless. Finally asked one of the other tourists and was told it was in the entry corridor to the terminal..I had come in a different door. Once in line it didn't take too long. They did hand search my checked luggage. They seem to do that everywhere now, even in the states.
Suzie2 is offline  
Jun 27th, 2003, 01:16 PM
Join Date: Mar 2003
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If you haven't made plane reservations, you should look into flying Delta direct to Liberia. They fly Wed., Sat. Sun. direct from Atlanta. There are several car rental agencies available (Dollar, Economy, etc.). It'll save you a lot of time and headache and you'll be able to kick back and relax to the max. Pura vida, primo!
Miguelini is offline  
Jun 27th, 2003, 06:00 PM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 82
We did the Tamarindo to SJO drive in about 6.5 hours. We stayed at Marriott in SJO and caught our flight the next day at noon. This was pleasant and unrushed. That road is the main road, and it's only two lanes just about the whole way. I remember stop and go traffic for quite a ways into SJO. All the work trucks, business traffic, tourists etc. use the same route. It's busy!! That's a hectic way to end your trip
Anita_ is offline  
Jul 7th, 2003, 10:37 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 390
I just vacationed in CR. The lines in the airport at SJO are a nightmare. From Tamarindo to SJO is a long sketchy drive. If you avoid the numerous near head on collisions, slow trucks and road work(without traffic control)you might make it in 5 hours. I stayed in heredia at the hotel bouganville the night before I left. The hotel is awesome and cheap($60 a night) Its only a 15 minute taxi ride to SJO. A lot less stress before your flight.
koa is offline  
Jul 8th, 2003, 07:05 AM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 63
does anyone else have experince flying directly into liberia? I have been to CR several times, and i have always just used a ticket off of orbitz to san jose. I am now working a lot more now, and am crunched for time when i travel. I would love to hear more about these flights into Liberia, that would save me a ton of time, as I always head towards the beach.
sweet_thang is offline  
Jul 8th, 2003, 08:43 AM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 27
Long lines at the airport - both in and out of San Jose (March 03). I flew Continental through NJ. Try to take all carry-on luggage. I had two items ripped off (baggage handlers I suspect since the luggage was otherwise always in my possession!).
carolc is offline  

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