Juan Santamaría International Airport: everything you need to know

Juan Santamaría International Airport

Are you looking for a unique experience in a unique place?…. Then San José – Costa Rica is what you are looking for.

San Jose is the capital of Costa Rica and is known for being a place full of life, tradition, culture, and history… a Caribbean jewel waiting to be discovered by you.

Located right in the heart of the “happiest place in the world”, it is considered the perfect place to easily access all of the region’s tourist attractions.

There is nothing more pleasant than traveling t around a place trying to discover the treasures that are worth finding. Costa Rica is undoubtedly one of the best destinations to do this.

Costa Rica is a natural paradise and the perfect way to discover anything from beaches to beautiful mountains in just one trip. It is quite clear that planning a trip to this beautiful destination is the best way to ensure a successful vacation, however, there is one detail you should keep in mind before traveling.

When planning your trip it is important that you familiarize yourself about every important detail regarding your trip, such as knowing about the place you will arrive, the transport to use, etc..

The first place you will reach when you first set foot in Costa Rica is the Airport, it is important that you find out as much as possible about it to facilitate your passage through it and start your vacation adventures as soon as possible.

This is why in the following lines you will find information about Juan Santamaría Airport (Costa Rica’s most important International Airport) including everything you need to know about it if you travel to San José.

Juan Santamaría Airport.

Considered one of the best airports in Latin America, Juan Santamaría International Airport is the main air terminal in Costa Rica and is located approximately 17 km (19 m) from the capital.

It was Inaugurated in 1958, and bears the name Juan Santamaría in honor of one of the most recognized national heroes.

This airport was for many years the only international entrance to the country. Today there is also the Liberia International Airport, however, Juan Santamaría Airport has a greater international reach, it is available for North America, Central America, Europe, South America, and the Caribbean. No matter where you are coming from or going to, this airport will welcome you with open arms.

As already mentioned, Juan Santamaria Airport is quite internationally recognized, ranking among the three best airports in the Caribbean due to its beautiful facilities and good service.

This is practically the center of the local airline Sansa Airlines but has a lot of national and international airlines available for your comfort, among which are: AeroMexico, Air Canada, Air France, Air Panama, American Airlines, Avianca, among many others.

The services of this airport are available 24 hours a day and its facilities have everything you need to make your time at it a pleasant enough experience, which brings us to the next important point you must take into account:

What does Juan Santamaría Airport have in its facilities?

A renowned and recognized airport must have a great variety of services, boarding gates and commercial premises for the enjoyment of all its users.

Juan Santamaria International Airport is quite large, so it has a considerable amount of all of the above.

As soon as you walk in you will see the Lobby and behind it, a large counter where you must check in. After going through all the airport security measures, you will be able to go to the waiting area corresponding to the boarding gate that your plane ticket indicates.

On the way to these gates, you will find a wide variety of services available, among which you can find restaurants, spas, VIP areas, gift shops, etc.


The airport has a good amount of local food available mostly from 5:00 am to 8:00 pm, although some of these establishments provide a service 24 hours a day.

There are a total of 12 food venues among which you can find a Starbucks, some bars, pastries, an ice cream parlor and restaurants such as Malinche, Quiznos, and Lavazza.

Keeping this information in mind can be very useful when planning your departure from the country, as it will not be a problem to eat at the airport while you wait for your flight time.

Gift Shops

Time to go home and forgot to buy presents?…. Good thing there are gift and souvenir shops at the airports.

Juan Santamaría Airport will save you from arriving home without gifts, offering at least 10 different styles of stores.

You can get souvenirs and gifts from Costa Rican folklore, toy stores for children, technology stores, bookstores, clothing, among others.

The airport facilities are perfect to keep you entertained while you wait and at the same time allows you to make last minute purchases before traveling and, why not, when you arrive.


As if the wide variety of stores and restaurants weren’t enough, the airport also offers spa service.

You can get two Mioderna spas located in different areas of the airport (one near gate 15 and the other near gate 5) so you can have a relaxing time waiting for your flight.

VIP areas

Following the same tune of luxury, not only are the airport spas enough for a high altitude experience, but there are also two VIP access lounges.

The first lounge is the Santamaría VIP. It is an exclusive area for VIP passengers coming from TACA, Iberia (by invitation of the airline), American Express Card and any other passenger who cancels US $28.00.

This lounge has a la carte restaurant, sushi bar and a liquor bar. It also offers hot and cold drinks, as well as sandwiches and fruit as courtesy. It also has Wi-Fi, computers, cable television, and international magazines and newspapers.

What better way to wait at the airport than this?

The second one is the VIP Lounge. Available for business class passengers of United, Avianca, Air Canada, and Copa Airlines, MasterCard or Platinum and for any passenger who wishes to pay the cost of US $30.00 per day (includes a panini Homero or two drinks).

This room has cable television, high-speed wi-fi, and computers available, in addition to printers and scanners.

Cashiers or Exchange Houses

When you arrive or leave Costa Rica, you won’t have to worry about money.. Juan Santamaría Airport has a variety of ATMs and exchange houses that are available at all times (24/7).

These include: Global Exchange, ATM BAC and BAC San Jose.

Parking Area

The parking area has approximately 400 spots in 2 levels, available 24 hours a day. This area is adjacent to the terminal, so it is possible to get to the terminal with a few steps.

The upper level is used mostly for departing passengers, and the lower level for arriving passengers.

The cost of the service depends on the time used and must be paid at the airport facilities before boarding the vehicle. Rates are $2.48 per hour.

What to do when leaving or arriving?

The entry and exit protocol for Juan Santamaría International Airport is practically the same as any other airport.

At the time of departure, as usual, it is recommended by airline regulations to arrive 3 hours earlier than indicated on the plane ticket, this will give you enough time to check-in and pass through the airport security.

On the other hand, something to keep in mind is the departure tax fee. In the case of Costa Rica, this tax is US$ 29.00, however, some airlines such as Aeromexico, Air Canada, Air France, Air Panama, Alaska Airlines and American Airlines already include this tax.

The security process is the usual one. You will have to go through immigration and then the inspection of hand luggage and passengers through x-rays.

After this, you can quietly wait for your flight either in one of the VIP areas, in the Spa, in the waiting room or in one of the restaurants.

Upon arrival, we maintain the same protocol as any airport. The first thing you will do is go through immigration, then you will go to the area where you can claim your luggage and finally you will have to go through Customs.

As long as you have all your documentation up to date and maintain a positive attitude, this process will be quick and without any problem, allowing you to start your vacation as soon as possible.

And to finish, there is one more point of real importance that you must take into account so that the whole trip flows perfectly:

How do I get to San José?

Juan Santamaria Airport is only 17 km from the capital, so it is not a very long way to get to San Jose.

However, whether you’re going to the city or back to the airport, ideally you won’t leave the transportation you’re going to use at random.
In the area you can find public transportation, taxis, car rental, and private transportation services.

Clearly the first three options can solve the problem of transportation. However, a unique experience at the height of a dream vacation can only be given by a private transportation service.

In Costa Rica, you can count on Liberia Shuttle, the trusted transportation company for all travelers who visit this beautiful paradise.

If you book your transportation with Liberia Shuttle you will enjoy great service, clean vehicles, comfort, safety, at an affordable price. Liberia Shuttle is a great solution to plan your trip with time.
Considering all the information above, you can plan arrival and departure from the country that is worthy of a perfect vacation, this will ensure your vacation starts and ends the right way.

Do not miss the opportunity to get to know this beautiful destination and the happiness its residents radiate. Costa Rica and its beauty are waiting for you!

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