Embarking on a journey to Costa Rica‘s enchanting landscapes requires more than just packing a suitcase; it starts with choosing the right airline. After extensive research and analysis of routes from 150+ airports, including the US, UK, Canada, and Australia, we’ve curated this guide to spotlight the best airlines to fly to Costa Rica, ensuring your adventure begins the moment you board!
Raring for a tropical paradise? Costa Rica is a tropical haven where the lush rainforests meet pristine beaches, and adventure is just a zip-line away. If you’re reading this, you’re probably daydreaming about sipping a piña colada by the ocean or trekking through the cloud forests. But before you pack your bags and put on your adventure hat, there’s one crucial decision to make: which airline will whisk you away to this Central American jewel?
Choosing the right airline can make or break your trip. Whether you’re a budget traveler looking for the most affordable options or a luxury seeker wanting to start your vacation the moment you step on the plane, we’ve got you covered. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the best airlines to fly to Costa Rica, taking into account factors like comfort, cost, and unique offerings.
So, fasten your seatbelts and prepare for takeoff as we navigate through the skies to find you the perfect airline for your Costa Rican escapade!
Quick tips on how to find cheap flights to Costa Rica
Looking for cheap flights to Costa Rica right now? Before diving into all the airlines that fly to Costa Rica, I first want to share a quick tip on how to save money on airfare.
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Now without further ado, here are the best Costa Rica flights in 2023.
1. United Airlines
When it comes to the best airlines to fly into Costa Rica, United Airlines is one of the most popular choices. With its hub located at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston, this airline offers a plethora of options for travelers. You can jet off to either San Jose or Liberia, giving you the flexibility to start your Costa Rican adventure wherever your heart desires.
United Airlines sets itself apart with its Polaris Business Class, offering lie-flat seats and gourmet dining that’ll make you forget you’re 30,000 feet in the air. If you’re someone who can’t compromise on comfort, this is the airline for you.
Looking for a deal? Keep an eye out for their seasonal promotions, which often include discounted fares to Costa Rica. While not the cheapest option out there, United offers a balanced mix of comfort and cost, falling in the mid-range price category.
United Airlines was one of the first to resume flights to Costa Rica post-pandemic, showing their commitment to keeping the travel dream alive. So, if you’re eager to explore the Pura Vida lifestyle, United Airlines could be your ticket to paradise.
If you’re searching for an airline that combines luxury with extensive reach, American Airlines is your go-to. With its main hub at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, this airline offers direct flights to both San Jose and Liberia, making it a top pick among the best airlines to go to Costa Rica.
American Airlines serves more than 350 destinations worldwide, including North America, Europe, Asia, and Latin America. So, whether you’re flying from New York or London, chances are American Airlines has got you covered.
The airline’s Admirals Club lounges are a haven for travelers. Complimentary snacks, beverages, and shower suites are just a few of the perks. If unique amenities are on your checklist, this airline ticks all the boxes. When it comes to cost, American Airlines leans towards the higher end. Savvy travelers, however, can find great deals during their frequent promotions. It’s not the most budget-friendly, yet the level of comfort and service justifies the price.
Before you even board the plane, you can indulge in a fine dining experience at select airports, thanks to American Airlines’ Flagship First Dining. For a premium flying experience, American Airlines is among the best airlines to fly to Costa Rica.
Delta Airlines is synonymous with reliability and top-notch service. The airline provides a seamless connection to San Jose and Liberia with its primary hub at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. The airline serves over 300 destinations globally, including key cities in North America, Europe, and Asia. If you’re planning a trip from a major city, Delta is one of the best airlines that fly to Costa Rica.
Delta’s in-flight experience is a cut above the rest. The Delta One suite in their business class offers full-flat beds, direct aisle access, and a dedicated in-cabin flight attendant. You’ll also enjoy complimentary chef-curated meals paired with wines selected by a master sommelier. Talk about flying in style!
Price-wise, Delta falls in the mid to high range, but their SkyMiles program offers opportunities for discounted or even free flights. Keep an eye on their frequent flyer promotions, and you might just land a great deal.
One unique feature of Delta is their commitment to sustainability. They’re the first U.S. airline to voluntarily cap greenhouse gas emissions at 2012 levels. So, if you’re eco-conscious, Delta stands out as the best airline to fly to Costa Rica.
For those flying from the United States, JetBlue is one of the best airlines from the US to Costa Rica. The budget airline makes the list for its exceptional service and affordability, easily ranking as one of the best airlines to travel to Costa Rica.
With its main hub at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, JetBlue offers direct routes to San Jose, connecting the East Coast to the heart of Costa Rica. The airline flies to over 100 destinations, primarily within the United States, the Caribbean, and Central America.
In-flight, JetBlue offers a unique experience with its Mint Class, featuring lie-flat seats, artisanal dining options, and a customizable entertainment system. You can even enjoy free high-speed Wi-Fi, allowing you to share your travel excitement in real-time.
While JetBlue is a budget-friendly option, it doesn’t skimp on quality. The airline frequently offers flash sales and discounted fares, making it easier for travelers to explore Costa Rica without breaking the bank. JetBlue also takes its environmental responsibility seriously. They’ve invested in renewable jet fuel and carbon offset programs, making them a great choice for eco-conscious travelers!
Alaska Airlines, headquartered in Seattle, offers a unique blend of quality and affordability. This airline provides direct flights to San Jose and Liberia with its hub at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, making it a top choice for those seeking the best flight to Costa Rica. The airline serves nearly 120 destinations, primarily in the United States but also in Canada, Mexico, and Costa Rica.
For travelers who prioritize comfort, Alaska Airlines doesn’t disappoint. Their Premium Class offers extra legroom, priority boarding, and complimentary snacks and beverages. You’ll feel pampered from takeoff to landing, without the premium price tag.
Alaska Airlines is known for its competitive pricing, often featuring sales and discounted fares. Their Mileage Plan also allows for earning and redeeming miles across various partner airlines, providing added value for frequent flyers.
One standout feature is Alaska Airlines’ commitment to sustainability. They’ve been ranked the most fuel-efficient major U.S. airline for seven years running. If you’re flying from the West Coast, Alaska Airlines is one of the best airlines to fly to Costa Rica.
Lufthansa is a name synonymous with luxury and precision. With its primary hub at Frankfurt Airport, this German flag carrier offers connections to San Jose, making it an excellent choice for European travelers. The airline flies to over 220 destinations worldwide, including major cities in Europe, Asia, and the Americas, making it one of the best international airlines to Costa Rica.
When it comes to in-flight experience, Lufthansa’s First Class and Business Class are the epitome of luxury. Think individual compartments, high-quality materials, and a culinary experience that rivals fine dining establishments. If you’re looking for the best business class to Costa Rica, Lufthansa should be at the top of your list.
Pricing for Lufthansa leans towards the higher end, but the experience justifies the cost. The airline frequently offers special promotions for its premium classes, so keep an eye out for those if you’re looking to indulge without emptying your wallet.
Lufthansa also has a strong focus on sustainability, with various initiatives aimed at reducing its carbon footprint. For those flying from Europe or connecting through Frankfurt, Lufthansa offers a luxurious yet responsible way to reach Costa Rica.
Air Canada, the largest airline of the Great White North, offers a seamless travel experience from Canada to Costa Rica. This airline provides direct flights to San Jose with its main hub at Toronto Pearson International Airport, connecting Canadians to the tropical paradise. The airline serves over 200 destinations, including cities in Canada, the U.S., Europe, Asia, and beyond, making it a strong option among the best airlines to Costa Rica.
In-flight, Air Canada offers a range of options to suit every traveler’s needs. Their Signature Class features lie-flat seats, premium dining, and a wide selection of entertainment options. It’s a class that redefines comfort and luxury in the sky.
Air Canada’s pricing is competitive, often featuring promotions and discounted fares. Their Aeroplan loyalty program also offers excellent opportunities for earning and redeeming miles. If you’re looking for quality and affordability, Air Canada ranks high among the best airlines to fly to Costa Rica. For travelers flying from Canada or connecting through Toronto, Air Canada offers a reliable and eco-friendly option.
For those flying from the United Kingdom or other parts of Europe, British Airways offers an elegant and efficient way to reach Costa Rica. With its primary hub at London Heathrow Airport, British Airways provides connections to San Jose. The airline serves over 180 destinations globally, including cities in Europe, North America, Asia, and Africa. If you’re looking for a seamless journey, British Airways is the best airline to fly to Costa Rica from the European continent.
British Airways is renowned for its Club World business class. This premium offering features lie-flat beds, a gourmet dining experience, and a wide array of in-flight entertainment options. The airline’s attention to detail and commitment to passenger comfort set it apart from the competition, making it one of the best airlines to fly into Costa Rica.
While British Airways leans towards the higher end in terms of pricing, their Executive Club program offers opportunities for discounted or even complimentary flights, making it worth considering for frequent travelers.
One more thing that sets British Airways apart is its exceptional customer service. The airline has won numerous awards for its attentive and friendly staff, both in the air and on the ground. If you value a personalized, high-quality service experience, British Airways is a top choice.
Southwest Airlines, known for its affordability and top-notch service, stands out as one of the best airlines to fly to Costa Rica. With its main hub at Dallas Love Field, Southwest connects travelers to the natural wonders of Costa Rica with direct flights to San Jose and Liberia. The airline serves over 100 destinations, primarily within the United States but also extending to the Caribbean and Central America, making it a solid choice among travelers.
For travelers who prioritize value without compromising on comfort, Southwest is the best airline to fly to Costa Rica. Their Business Select option offers priority boarding, extra Rapid Rewards points, and a complimentary premium drink. It’s a budget-friendly way to add a touch of luxury to your journey.
Budget travelers will be happy to know that Southwest is a champion of affordability. They’re famous for their flash sales and “Wanna Get Away” fares, which offer significant discounts for flexible travelers. Keep an eye on their promotions, and you could snag a fantastic deal.
The airline also offers a unique two-bags-fly-free policy, meaning your first two checked bags are included in the ticket price. This can be a game-changer for travelers who like to pack a little extra for their tropical adventure.
Qatar Airways offers an unparalleled experience for those looking to travel to Costa Rica in style. With its main hub at Hamad International Airport in Doha, this flag carrier provides connections to San Jose, making it an excellent choice for travelers coming from the Middle East, Asia, or Africa. The airline serves over 170 destinations worldwide, making it one of the best international airlines to Costa Rica.
In-flight, Qatar Airways is a cut above the rest. Their Qsuite in business class offers private suites with doors, lie-flat beds, and an on-demand dining experience that rivals five-star restaurants. It’s a luxurious way to travel that leaves a lasting impression.
Qatar Airways may be pricy, but the experience justifies the cost. The airline frequently offers special promotions for its premium classes, so keep an eye out for those if you’re looking to indulge without emptying your wallet. Among the airlines that fly to Costa Rica, Qatar Airways stands out for its exceptional service and luxurious amenities.
One unique feature of Qatar Airways is their extensive in-flight entertainment system, Oryx One. With over 4,000 options including movies, TV shows, and games, you’ll never have a dull moment on your journey to Costa Rica.
Looking to learn more about the best airlines to fly to Costa Rica? We’ve curated frequently asked questions from travelers like you to help in your travel planning!
What is the best airline to fly to Costa Rica?
The “best” airline to fly to Costa Rica often depends on your departure location, budget, preferences, and specific needs. However, several airlines are popular for their routes, services, and reliability when flying to Costa Rica. Here are some of the top options:
- From the United States:
- Southwest Airlines: Known for its budget-friendly fares and two free checked bags.
- Delta Air Lines: Offers multiple flights to Costa Rica from various U.S. cities.
- American Airlines: Has a strong presence in Latin America and offers several routes to Costa Rica.
- United Airlines: Another major U.S. carrier with regular flights to Costa Rica.
- JetBlue: Offers direct flights to Costa Rica from certain U.S. cities and is known for its in-flight amenities.
- From Canada:
- Air Canada: The flag carrier of Canada, offering direct flights to Costa Rica from major Canadian cities.
- WestJet: Another Canadian option with seasonal flights to Costa Rica.
- From Europe:
- Iberia: Offers flights from Spain, making it a good option for travelers from Europe.
- KLM: Connects Amsterdam with San José, providing another option for European travelers.
- British Airways: Operates flights from London to San José.
- From Latin America:
- Avianca: Based in Colombia, Avianca offers numerous connections between Costa Rica and other Latin American countries.
- Copa Airlines: Based in Panama, it’s a major airline in Central America and offers good connections to and from Costa Rica.
- Volaris Costa Rica: A low-cost option for travelers moving within Central America.
- Local Airlines:
- Sansa Airlines: A domestic airline that connects San José with other parts of Costa Rica, useful for travelers looking to explore beyond the capital.
The most convenient way to get to Costa Rica is by air. Several airlines offer direct flights from major cities in the United States, Canada, Europe, and even Asia. Among these, Southwest Airlines and Alaska Airlines are often cited as some of the best airlines to fly to Costa Rica due to their affordability and quality service.
Both airports have their advantages. San José’s Juan Santamaría International Airport is closer to the capital and offers more international flight options. Liberia’s Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport is closer to popular beach destinations like Guanacaste. Your choice may depend on your final destination in Costa Rica.
Flying to Costa Rica can be costly due to a variety of factors such as high demand, especially during peak tourist season, and airport taxes. However, some airlines offer competitive pricing and promotions, making it worth shopping around for the best deal.
Which European airlines fly to Costa Rica?
Several European airlines operate flights to Costa Rica, primarily landing at Juan Santamaría International Airport (SJO) in San José. Here are some of the main European carriers that offer routes to Costa Rica:
- Iberia: This Spanish airline offers direct flights from Madrid to San José. It’s one of the primary European carriers connecting Europe with Costa Rica.
- KLM: The Dutch airline operates flights from Amsterdam to San José, providing another direct connection between Europe and Costa Rica.
- British Airways: BA operates flights from London (Gatwick) to San José, offering a direct link between the UK and Costa Rica.
- Lufthansa: The German airline has introduced routes connecting Frankfurt with San José, expanding the options for travelers from Central Europe.
- Air France: This French carrier operates flights from Paris (Charles de Gaulle) to San José, providing a direct connection between France and Costa Rica.
- Edelweiss Air: A Swiss airline that offers seasonal flights between Zurich and San José.
- Condor: A German leisure airline that occasionally offers flights from Frankfurt to San José, especially during the tourist season.
- TUI Airways: This UK-based charter and scheduled airline occasionally offers flights to Costa Rica, especially during peak travel seasons.
Generally, flights into San José tend to be cheaper due to the higher volume of flights and competition among airlines. However, this can vary depending on your departure city and the time of year.
What is the main airline in Costa Rica?
The main airline in Costa Rica is Avianca Costa Rica, formerly known as LACSA (Lineas Aéreas Costarricenses S.A.). LACSA was Costa Rica’s national airline until it merged with TACA (Transportes Aéreos del Continente Americano) in 2009. Later, in 2013, TACA’s operations were fully integrated into Avianca, a Colombian airline, and the brand TACA ceased to exist. As a result, LACSA began operating as Avianca Costa Rica.
In addition to Avianca Costa Rica, Sansa Airlines is a significant domestic airline in Costa Rica. It operates regional flights within the country, connecting San José with popular tourist destinations such as Quepos, Tamarindo, and Tortuguero, among others. Sansa Airlines is a subsidiary of Avianca Costa Rica and primarily serves travelers looking to explore different parts of the country without long road journeys.
The best time to fly to Costa Rica is during the dry season, which runs from December to April. This is also the high tourist season, so it’s advisable to book your flights and accommodations in advance. Some of the best airlines to fly to Costa Rica offer special promotions during this period.
Which countries fly direct to Costa Rica?
Costa Rica is well-connected with many countries through direct flights. Here’s a list of countries with airlines that offer direct flights to Costa Rica:
- North America:
- United States: Multiple cities including Los Angeles, Houston, Dallas, Miami, New York, Atlanta, and others.
- Canada: Cities like Toronto and Montreal.
- Mexico: Mexico City.
- Central America:
- Panama: Panama City.
- El Salvador: San Salvador.
- Guatemala: Guatemala City.
- Honduras: Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula.
- Nicaragua: Managua.
- Belize: Belize City (seasonal or less frequent).
- South America:
- Colombia: Bogotá and Medellín.
- Peru: Lima.
- Venezuela: Caracas (though flights can be less frequent or seasonal).
- Chile: Santiago (seasonal or less frequent).
- Argentina: Buenos Aires (seasonal or less frequent).
- Spain: Madrid.
- Netherlands: Amsterdam.
- France: Paris.
- Germany: Frankfurt.
- Switzerland: Zurich (seasonal or less frequent).
- United Kingdom: London (seasonal or less frequent).
- Cuba: Havana (though flights can be less frequent or seasonal).
Yes, several budget airlines like Southwest and Spirit offer flights to Costa Rica. These airlines often have promotions and discounted fares, making them an affordable option for travelers on a budget.
Amenities vary depending on the airline and the class of service you choose. Premium classes on airlines like Lufthansa and Qatar Airways offer lie-flat beds, gourmet dining, and extensive in-flight entertainment options.
Yes, many airlines offer direct flights to both major Costa Rican airports. It’s worth checking the routes and schedules of different airlines to find the most convenient option for your travel needs.
Choosing the right airline can make all the difference in your travel experience, especially when you’re heading to a destination as breathtaking as Costa Rica. Whether you’re looking for luxury, affordability, or a blend of both, there’s an airline that fits your needs. From the opulence of Qatar Airways’ Qsuite to the budget-friendly options of Southwest Airlines, the best airlines to fly to Costa Rica offer something for every traveler.
Remember, the best time to visit Costa Rica is during the dry season, but great deals can be found year-round if you’re flexible with your dates. Always keep an eye out for promotions and special offers, as airlines frequently run sales that can make your dream trip more affordable.