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Information on SJO -- San Jose Costa Rica Airport

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Anchorage, Alaska
posts: 17
reviews: 14
Information on SJO -- San Jose Costa Rica Airport

Juan Santamaría International Airport (airport code SJO) is located 20 kilometers from downtown San Jose, Costa Rica. With over 4 million annual passengers, Juan Santamaría is the 2nd busiest airport in Central America. The airport has a Main Terminal serving international passengers while the Sansa Terminal, named for Sansa Airlines, handles domestic flights. Over 15 airlines serve the airport including non-stop routes from the US and Canada, a 3- to 7-hour flight. A bus route runs between the airport and San Jose and taxis, rental cars and shuttles are also available. The airport has a VIP Lounge for business/first class passengers, but available to anyone for a fee.

The above is boilerplate from the airport’s web site below:

http://www.flightstats.com/go/Airport/airportDetails.do;jsessionid=92A6DDB7A2A0379DFCDD8BE7F46B2111.web4:8009?airportCode=SJO

SJO is tiny by international airport standards. You can see the entire departure ticket area as soon as you walk in the door.

The area to pay departure tax is just to the right as you walk in from the taxi/car drop off area. They accept US$, CRC colones, or credit cards. The credit cards are run as a cash advance so it’s best to pay cash to avoid the bank fee. The fee was US$26 in February 2012. They happily made change for a US$100 bill.

SJO is about 15 minutes by taxi (not rush hour) from Alajuela.

We were there 2 hours before flight time on AA and were through departure and bag check within 30 minutes.

There are the normal security checkpoints but no official passport-stamping departure people.

There’s another security bag check on the jet way. They’ll take your water/drinks or send you back to empty the bottle.

The whole place seemed friendly and efficient.

Lake Havasu City...
Destination Expert
for Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
posts: 6,581
reviews: 4
1. Re: Information on SJO -- San Jose Costa Rica Airport

Muchas gracias!

Dallas, Texas
posts: 17
reviews: 4
2. Re: Information on SJO -- San Jose Costa Rica Airport

Can you tell me if everything is accessible from that one main terminal? For example, if I wanted to purchase duty free items, then go and buy a SIM, and then maybe use another service. Are shops and service desks very far apart? I would only have about 15 minutes or less to accomplish this.

Thanks

San Jose, Costa Rica
Destination Expert
for Costa Rica
posts: 39,150
3. Re: Information on SJO -- San Jose Costa Rica Airport

Is not a big huge airport...I think you will have just enough time to do what you are planning to do!

roadadivsor

Cahuita, Costa Rica
Destination Expert
for Cahuita
posts: 1,827
reviews: 7
4. Re: Information on SJO -- San Jose Costa Rica Airport

thanks for the details LH314! I'm sure that they'll be useful to lots of people planning their trips!

Grecia, Costa Rica
posts: 916
reviews: 15
5. Re: Information on SJO -- San Jose Costa Rica Airport

15 minutes total to shop at Duty Free then purchase a SIM at the Kolbi booth, then use another "service"?

What am I missing here, in the land of Pura Vida customer service takes a back seat to breaks, lunches, chats and checking Facebook on the old I-Phone.

I would NOT count on getting all this done in such a short window. You'll get a big smile and friendly "Hola" but count on at least 20-30 mins each stop plus the time needed to get to the stores. Have a great holiday, but you need to be realistic about service levels in CR.

Dallas, Texas
posts: 17
reviews: 4
6. Re: Information on SJO -- San Jose Costa Rica Airport

that's why i ask when i go to places i don't know. cleares things up actually and helps me decide on some things. i really appreciate the info. 15 minutes is plenty of time to pick up a bottle at duty free, pay for it at the counter go next door and get a $20 sim card. not even looking for customer service or to ask any questions. i know what i need. that's what i had in mind and didn't sound unrealistic to me since i could possibly do this in other places just fine. except like you said we are in CR and NOT in other places :).

thanks again for the info everyone!

Grecia, Costa Rica
posts: 916
reviews: 15
7. Re: Information on SJO -- San Jose Costa Rica Airport

You've got it right, just takes one traveler to be fumbling with their wallet or purse. If you know the airport, it's a 5 min walk duty free to Kolbi.

Good Luck

San Jose
Destination Expert
for California
posts: 8,370
reviews: 75
8. Re: Information on SJO -- San Jose Costa Rica Airport

"We were there 2 hours before flight time on AA and were through departure and bag check within 30 minutes."

I wouldn't count on that. We were there yesterday and from the time we entered the airport to the time we got through security was about 70 minutes. The line to check in for the flight was very long and slow. Once we got through that, security was a breeze and took no more than 5 minutes, but we spent an hour in the check-in line.

San Jose, Costa Rica
Destination Expert
for Costa Rica
posts: 39,150
9. Re: Information on SJO -- San Jose Costa Rica Airport

Of course it is enough time...!!!

roadadvisor

10. Re: Information on SJO -- San Jose Costa Rica Airport

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