Costa Rica’s dry season means it’s also high season, which can make cheap flights harder to find than a resplendent quetzal. However, with persistence and our best advice, you won’t have to pay over the top for a comfortable and convenient flight. AirFare Watchdog and Secret Flying are great online resources. If you are a frequent flyer member, check individual airline websites. Kayak, Hipmunk, Skyscanner, Expedia and others do some, but not all, of the comparison for you. Visit CheapAir.com’s blog for a list of best Costa Rica high season travel days. Be aware price quotes will vary from search to search, even for the same route on the same day on the same airline. Browse using the incognito feature: In Google Chrome or Safari, simultaneously press Command or Control, Shift, and “N.”. For Mozilla Firefox or Internet Explorer, press Command/Control, Shift, and “P.” For older versions of OS X, open Safari, click “Safari” in the menu bar, and select “Private Browsing.” Other booking tips:
- Know a great deal when you see one— $500 is a steal. Normal round trip coach rates tend to hover around $700 (deepening on where you’re flying from, of course) during busier times.
- Book early; except, there are sometimes last minute deals because the airplane hasn’t filled up.
- Be flexible about travel dates and days of the week.
- Use air miles.
- For checked luggage, book and pay when you choose the flight.
- Book (and pay for) disability assistance at the airport at booking.
- Read the fine print and know the rules.
Before you go:
- Contact the post office to place a mail hold.
- Stop newspaper deliveries or ask a trusted neighbor to pick them up for you.
- Be sure your passport isn’t going to expire in the next six months.
- Make copies of your license and your passport.
- Tell your bank/credit card company you are traveling.
- Book pets with the pet sitter.
- Pack lightly: one nice sundress/outfit, a couple of pairs of shorts and T-shirts and bathing suit.
- Be sure you have enough of your daily medications for the trip.
- Consider carry-on only; its cheaper and there is less to keep track of.
At the airport:
- Arrive at the airport early
- Don’t wait until the last minute to enter the airport security line.
- Don’t take drinks into the security line.
- No more than 3 oz. of anything liquid in Ziploc bags for screening.
- Remove your shoes, coat or sweater, jewelry and keys. Have your laptop, notepad or cell phone out and in its own bin.
Once you land:
- You can pick up a sim card for your unlocked GMS phone at the kiosk that is in baggage claim. This is highly recommended, as roaming rates will kill your vacation budget.
- If you have a lot of baggage (especially those on a staycation or those in big groups), get one of the baggage claim attendants to assist you; he’ll likely also whisk you through customs. Its customary to tip around c1000 per bag.
- There is a money exchange window in the baggage claim area. They will give you the current exchange rate and it’s a good idea to have some colones on you.
- Taxis will be readily available just outside, but you can also arrange for transport with the concierge team at HRG
- If you’ve rented a car, there will likely be a shuttle waiting for you to get you to the rental agency office. If not, a taxi or Uber can get you there inexpensively; its right around the corner, but not so close you can walk. Ask your rental agency for instructions before you arrive.
Flying Internationally can be stressful but forward planning can keep everyone relaxed and the budget healthy.