The domestic airports of Costa Rica represent easy access to some of the more remote areas such as Corcovado or Tortuguero, and also quick transportation around the country generally.
The domestic airports in Costa Rica and their codes are as follows:
- Carrillo Airport (RIK)
- Coto 47 Airport (OTR)
- Drake Bay Airport (DRK)
- Golfito Airport (GLF)
- Guápiles Airport (GPL)
- Nosara Airport (NOB)
- Palmar Sur Airport (PMZ)
- Puerto Jiménez Airport (PJM)
- Punta Islita Airport (PBP)
- Quepos La Managua Airport (XQP)
- Pérez Zeledón Airport (ICAO: MRSI)
- Tamarindo Airport (TNO)
- Tambor Airport (TMU)
- Tortuguero Airport (TTQ)
- Buenos Aires Airport (BAI)
- Finca 63 Airport (ICAO: MRFS)
- Laurel Airport (ICAO: MRLE)
The domestic airports are operated by charter airplanes and some daily flights by the domestic airlines of Sansa Air and Nature Air. The more popular destinations such as Tamarindo and Quepos offer daily flights, but for others you will have to request a charter. Be sure to check the websites for availability.
Carrillo Domestic Airport
Carrillo Airport on the coast of Nicoya serves a number of great beach locations on the Pacific Coast including Playa Samara, Playa Carrillo and Playa Camaronal.
Chartered Flights & What’s Nearby
Carrillo Airport is served by the domestic airlines of Sansa Air and Nature Air. The airport doesn’t maintain regular flights, but chartered trips can be scheduled. It is quick outlet to the areas of the Nicoya Peninsula such as the aforementioned Playa Samara, Playa Carrillo, Playa Camaronal and also Playa Buena Vista, the Barra Honda National Park and many others.
Resorts, hotels and hostels are all available in the area, and some of the best include Villas Playa Samara, Hotel Punta Islita and Hotel Flying Crocodile which operates Ultra-light Flight tours. The area is well-known for its spectacular beaches where you can take part in all kinds of watersport activities, tours or just generally lounge about beside the hotel pool or on the sand next to the sea.
Tours Around Carrillo
There are several good tours in the area including the Barra Honda caves, Isla Choras kayak tour, horseback tours and more, and Carrillo Airport is your best bet for getting into the action as soon as you hit the ground in Costa Rica.
Attractions: Barra Honda National Park, kayak tours, snorkeling, surf lessons, beaches, etc.
Hotels: Villas Playa Samara, Hotel Punta Islita, Hotel Flying Crocodile
Flights: Charter Service Only
Coto 47 Domestic Airport Costa Rica
Coto 47 is the domestic airport that serves locations around the Gulf of Sweetness (Golfo Dulce) such as Pavones, Playa Zancudo, Neily and it is close to the border of Panama.
A Strange Name
The airport in Coto 47 sounds more like the clandestine military locale of some secret government funded organization, but it’s really just the closes operating airport to Pananma in the province of Puntarenas. Coto 47 does not have regularly scheduled flights in Costa Rica, but chartered flights can be arranged through the airport. Flights can be chartered through both Sansa Air and Nature Air, and many use this airport when coming back from Panama to Costa Rica in order to fly to the international airports in San Jose and Liberia.
There are plenty of great places to stay near to Coto 47 Airport which include Playa Cativo Lodge, Hotel Andrea, Casa Roland Marina Resort Hotel and Hotel Palmeral Dorima. Some hotels are located near Pavones and Playa Zancudo while others are closer to La Amistad International Park which lies in the middle of southern Costa Rica and northern Panama.
Other points of interest near Coto 47 include Piedras Blancas National Park, the Osa Peninsula and the Corcovado National Park. You can choose to go surfing off of Playa Zancudo or traipse through the forest in La Amistad or Piedras Blancas. The area is profuse with biodiversity, and adventures await you as soon as you step off the plane at the Airport in Coto 47.
Hotels: Playa Cativo Lodge, Hotel Andrea, Casa Roland Marina Resort Hotel, Hotel Palmeral Dorima
Attractions: Piedras Blancas National Park, the Osa Peninsula, the Corcovado National Park, Pavones, Playa Zancudo, Neily
Flights: Chartered Flights Only
Drake Bay Domestic Airport Costa Rica
The Airport in Drake Bay is the easiest entry point to the bay famous for its visit by Francis Drake in 1579, its modern water related activities and its exceptional biodiversity.
Skip The Boat Taxi
The airport in Drake Bay is the quickest route when trying to reach the area bypassing boat taxis through the Terraba Sierpe National Wetlands. Drake Bay has regular flights scheduled with both Sansa Air and Nature Air to and from Juan Santamaria International Airport in the high season from December to April. There are still scheduled flights to Drake Bay in the low season, but not as many.
Corcovado and the Osa Peninsula
Drake Bay is close to Corcovado National Park and the Osa Peninsula, Marino Ballena National Park and Playa Uvita, and many others, but there is so much to see and do in Drake Bay that you probably won’t want or need to venture elsewhere. Activities such as scuba diving, snorkeling, horseback riding, nature hikes, kayaking and many others all take place from Drake Bay and are hosted by a number of superb eco lodges.
Some of the accommodations that can be found in the area include Cabinas Jiménez, Finca Exotica, Drake Bay Wilderness Resort, Aguila de Osa and Vista Drake Lodge. Most of the resorts in the area are higher end luxury resorts and eco lodges, so the prices here will be slightly higher.
Hotels: Cabinas Jiménez, Finca Exotica, Drake Bay Wilderness Resort, Aguila de Osa, Vista Drake Lodge
Attractions: Corcovado National Park and the Osa Peninsula, Marino Ballena National Park, Playa Uvita, scuba diving, snorkeling, horseback riding, nature hikes, kayaking
Flights: to Juan Santamaria = 4, from Juan Santamaria = 4 (in the high season)
Golfito Domestic Airport
Golfito Airport is located in the midst of the Piedras Blancas National Park and to the north of Golfito Bay. It is also across the Sweet Gulf from Corcovado National Park.
National Parks & The Gulf of Sweetness
The airport in Golfito is the quickest entry point to the Piedras Blancas National Park, the Gulf of Sweetness and the southern areas of Puntarenas Province. There is some good surf to be had in Pavon Bay and Playa Zancudo, which is kind of like the last spot on the map before entering Panama, and it is also easily reached by Golfito.
Sansa Air operates two daily flights from Juan Santamaria International Airport to Golfito Airport, and it has three flights to the capital city and central valley area. Nature Air operates three flights to Golfito from Juan Santamaria International Airport, and two flights to Juan Santamaria from Golfito. You can also fly from Golfito to Puerto Jimenez, and make your way to the Corcovado National Park.
There are hotels, hostels, surf shacks and places to pitch a tent in the area. Some of the hotels that you can find around Golfito include Esquinas Rainforest Lodge, Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge, and the Agua Dulce Beach Resort. Any of these hotels will also be able to help you with touring the area, and some of the best guides will work through the hotels. You can look to do a few things in Golfito including sport fishing, hiking tours, kayak tours and more.
Hotels: Esquinas Rainforest Lodge, Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge, Agua Dulce Beach Resort
Attractions: sport fishing, hiking tours, kayak tours, Piedras Blancas National Park, Sweet Gulf, Pavon Bay, Playa Zancudo
Flights: to Juan Santamaria = 5 per day, from Juan Santamaria = 5 per day (in high season)
Gúapiles Domestic Airport
Gúapiles Airport is in the Province of Límon, Costa Rica, in the city of Gúapiles between the Braulio Carrillo National Park and the Tortuguero National Park.
Carrillo, Tortuguero & Barva
This airport in Gúapiles is thirty minutes from Braulio Carrillo National Park where you can hike to and camp near the dormant Barva Volcano and its crater lake. Tortuguero National Park, on the other hand, is not reachable by car, and you will have to take a boat to the wetland marshes of the park. There are plenty of water taxis in the area, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to make your way to the important nesting grounds for sea turtles.
Gúapiles has plenty of good lodging where you can find varying price levels. Some hotels are more expensive than others, but of the hotels in Gúapiles there is Hotel Wilson, Hotel Talamanca, Hotel & Country Club Suerre, Tortuga Lodge & Gardens and Hotel y Cabinas Lomas del Toro.
Guapiles Airport does not have regularly scheduled flights, but you can charter flights to the airport.
Hotels: Hotel Wilson, Hotel Talamanca, Hotel & Country Club Suerre, Tortuga Lodge & Gardens and Hotel y Cabinas Lomas del Toro
Attractions: Braulio Carrillo National Park, Tortuguero National Park
Flights: chartered flights only
Nosara Domestic Airport
The domestic airport in Nosara is the quickest access point to the well-known Playa Nosara and nearby surf communities of the province of Puntarenas, Costa Rica.
Yoga, the Beach & More
From the airport in Nosara to the beach it is about ten minutes by car, and an hour if you go by foot. Nosara is near many different interesting places and activities. The Nosara Yoga Village and Yoga Institute is found near the Sibu Wildlife Sanctuary. One of the most important nesting sites for the Olive Ridley Sea Turtle is nearby at the Ostional Wildlife Refuge. Olive Ridleys are known for their large synchronized nestings where thousands of turtles make landfall at the same time.
Accommodations & Other Beaches Nearby
There are plenty of higher traffic and lower traffic beaches near Nosara. The first of which being Playa Nosara where lots of different water related activities can be found. There is also Playa Guiones, Playa Pelada, Playa Samara and further to the north is the secluded Playa Azul. There are lots of different kinds of accommodations in the area including hostels, hotels and resorts. Some of these hotels include Lagarta Lodge, Nosara Beach Villas and Nosara Beach Hostel.
Nosara is one of the major tourist hubs in Costa Rica, so catching a flight from other popular tourist locations to Nosara can be done on a daily basis. The main hub of all domestic travel is Juan Santamaria International Airport. If you plan a flight from Arenal to Nosara, you will pass through San Jose’s main airport along the way. The regular flight from San Jose to Nosara is an afternoon flight, and it lasts fifty minutes.
Hotels: Lagarta Lodge, Nosara Beach Villas, Nosara Beach Hostel
Attractions: Playa Nosara, Playa Guiones, Playa Pelada, Nosara Yoga Institute, Ostional Wildlife Refuge etc.
Flights: Juan Santamaria = one per day
Palmar Sur Domestic Airport
Palmar Sur Airport is to the east of the National Wetlands of Terraba Sierpe on the banks of the Río Grande de Terraba and next to the Pan American Highway.
Attractions Close to Palmar Sur
Palmar Sur Airport is close to the Osa Peninsula, the Corcovado National Park and the Marino Ballena National Park where migrating humpback whales among other sea mammals and sea turtles come to visit periodically. The wetlands and Drake Bay are also nearby, and there are many water related activities that you can take part in near Drake Bay.
Hotels & Flights
Nature Air does not fly to Palmar Sur unless the flight is chartered, but Sansa Air operates one flight to Palmar Sur from Juan Santamaria daily. It also operates two flights to Juan Santamaria daily from Palmar Sur, but these flights are only during the high season. Hotels in and around Palmar Sur include Hotel Quebrada Grande, Shana Hotel & Residence and Rio Sierpe Lodge.
Playa Uvita & Drake Bay
Playa Uvita is where whales, dolphins and three species of sea turtles can be seen at various times throughout the year. Drake Bay is a water sports enthusiast’s dream location, and the Corcovado National Park on the Osa Peninsula has been sought after by scientists and nature enthusiasts with great alacrity. All of these locations are accessible from Palmar Sur, and this site is good place to find out about flights and more in the area.
Hotels: Hotel Quebrada Grande, Shana Hotel & Residence, Rio Sierpe Lodge
Attractions: Marino Ballena National Park, Corcovado National Park, Piedras Blancas National Park, Drake Bay, Terraba Sierpe National Wetlands, Playa Uvita, Playa Tortuga
Flights: Juan Santamaria = 2 flights to daily, 1 flight from (only in the high season)
Puerto Jiménez Domestic Airport
Puerto Jiménez Airport is perfect point of entry to Corcovado National Park and its many varied forms of flora and fauna, and to the beaches of the Osa Peninsula.
Osa & Across the Water
Across the water from Puerto Jiménez is Golfito, the Pavon Bay and Playa Zancudo, which is known for its surfing, and the Piedras Blancas National Park is also found on the other side of the sweet gulf. The main attraction in the area is certainly the Corcovado National Park on the Osa Peninsula. This park has a strong reputation for its biodiversity, and many scientists and naturalists visit the park to get a better understanding of the natural world and its inner workings.
17 Daily Flights in the High Season
The Puerto Jiménez Airport has a total of 17 flights to and from Juan Santamaria International Airport daily during the high season. The two domestic airlines of Sansa Air and Nature Air share the workload in terms of transporting folks to and from Puerto Jiménez. Between the two airlines, Sansa has more flights than Nature Air to this destination.
At the end of the Osa Peninsula there is also a small beach community known as Cabo Matapalo. At Matapalo and near to Puerto Jiménez can be found a number of different lodgings. Some of these hotels, hostles and inns consist of Bosque del Cabo Rainforest Lodge, Casa Manglar, Inn Jimenez Bed & Breakfast and The Toucan Hut. The lodgings near Puerto Jiménez can accommodate most economic levels.
Hotels: Bosque del Cabo Rainforest Lodge, Casa Manglar, Inn Jimenez Bed & Breakfast, The Toucan Hut
Attractions: Corcovado National Park, Cabo Matapalo, Pavon Bay, Playa Zancudo, Piedras Blancas National Park
Flights: to Juan Santamaria = 8 flights per day, from Juan Santamaria = 9 flights per day (in high season)
Punta Islita Domestic Airport
The airport in Punta Islita lies on the Nicoya Peninsula where can be found a number of exceptional beach locations including Playa Bejuco, Playa Islita and Playa Corozalito.
Not So Many Tourists
Punta Islita is close to the final point of the Province of Guanacaste, Costa Rica, on the Nicoya Peninsula, and is a great place to relax without the large tourist population of Tamarindo or Tambor passing through the area. Punta Islita still sees foot traffic, and every other kind of traffic, but it isn’t in the same high numbers as some other locations nearby.
Some of the things you can look to take part in in the area include surfing, sport fishing and visiting the national parks of Diria National Park and Barra Honda National Park. You can also go horseback riding on the beach, hike through the jungles or just relax in the surf.
A flight from most places in Costa Rica to Punta Islita will run about 30 to 40 minutes as opposed to a three, four or five hour trip by car, bus or private shuttle. From Juan Santamaria International Airport in the Central Valley, there is usually one flight per day lasting forty minutes. There are regular flights to Punta Islita on Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday in the high season with a thirty minute flight.
The domestic airline operating daily flights from Juan Santamaria International Airport is Nature Air, but charter flights can be scheduled through both Nature Air and Sansa Air.
Attractions: Diria National Park, Barra Honda National Park, sport fishing, surfing etc.
Hotels: Hotel Punta Islita, the Flying Scorpion Hotel, Villas Playa Samara
Flights: Juan Santamaria=one per day, Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport=Wednseday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday (in high season)
Quepos La Managua Domestic Airport
Quepos La Managua Airport serves the city of Quepos and the fantastic Manuel Antonio National Park which is one of 12 of the most beautiful national parks according to Forbes.
Manuel Antonio National Park
The Airport in Quepos La Managua is a twenty five minute flight from San Jose versus a four hour drive. This translates as much time saved for you to get in all that Manuel Antonio National Park and the area of Quepos has to offer. There are four regularly schedule flights to and from Juan Santamaria International Airport with Nature Air, and there are five flights to and from Quepos and Juan Santamaria through Sansa Air.
Along with Manuel Antonio National Park, some other activities to consider consist of the Corcovado National Park and the Piedras Blancas National Park which are both nearby. The Terraba Sierpe National Wetlands could be a biologist’s wet dream (in so many ways), but they might not appeal to the less scientifically inclined. Costa Rica Monkey Tours has two tours that head to Manuel Antonio National Park being the Jewels Tour and the Coast to Coast Tour.
Accommodations in Manuel Antonio
The Manuel Antonio area is teeming with great places to stay and these include Shana Hotel & Residence, Hotel Parador, and Hotel La Mariposa. These accommodations can range from the luxurious to the backpacker friendly, and can work with all ranges of economical status.
Hotels: Shana Hotel & Residence, Hotel Parador, Hotel La Mariposa
Attractions: Manuel Antonio National Park, Corcovado National Park, Piedras Blancas National Park, Terraba Sierpe National Wetlands
Flights: 4 to and from with Nature Air, 5 to and from with Sansa Air (SJO)
Pérez Zeledón Domestic Airport
Pérez Zeledón Airport in the downtown area of San Isidro, Costa Rica, is in the Province of San Jose, and it is near the Quetzales National Park named for its abundance of Resplendent Quetzales.
Attractions & Accommodations
Along with the nearby Hotel Brunca, Hotel Angelus, the Savegre Mountain Hotel and Hotel San Isidro, you’ll find the beach town of Dominical, Chirripo National Park and San Gerardo de Gran Dota. Dominical is a bit of a layback beach community where surfers flock to catch the northern and southern swells as they pull in from giant storms in the Pacific Ocean, and the Chirripo National Park attracts a number of people for the purposes of hiking and rafting.
The Airstrip has no facilities and all of the flights scheduled into the area are non-scheduled charter flights. The two domestic airlines will generally fly to any of the airports that have come into being at anytime in Costa Rica’s history.
Hotels: Hotel Brunca, Hotel Angelus, the Savegre Mountain Hotel, Hotel San Isidro
Attractions: Quetzales National Park, Dominical, Chirripo National Park, San Gerardo de Gran Dota
Flights: Chartered Only
Tamarindo Domestic Airport
Tamarindo is one of the more iconic tourist locations in Costa Rica, and the Tamarindo Airport is the quickest point of entry to the Nicoya Peninsula location.
What To Do
Just two minutes outside of one of the most bustling of the west coast towns of Costa Rica, the main attraction in the area is the beach city of Tamarindo itself. The Nicoya Peninsula, however, is also home to several other attractions including the Palo Verde National Park or the Ostional Wildlife Refuge where arribadas of Olive Ridley Sea Turtles land from around June to September. Heading north, you’ll find the Santa Rosa National Park which is adjacent to the more arid Guanacaste National Park.
Lodgings, Resorts, Hostels & Hotels
Tamarindo and the nearby beach communities have more than a few types of lodgings in te price ranges of the affluent to the moderate traveler. Some hotels, hostels and resorts include the Hilton Papagayo Costa Rica Resort & Spa, Hotel El Manglar, and Arco Iris Hotel and Restaurant.
If flying from Juan Santa Maria International Airport in San Jose, you will find multiple scheduled flights daily with both Sansa and Nature Air. Nature Air also operates one flight from Liberia and the Daniel Oduber Quiros International Airport daily.
Hotels: Hilton Papagayo Costa Rica Resort & Spa, Hotel El Manglar, Arco Iris Hotel and Restaurant
Attractions: Palo Verde National Park, Ostional Wildlife Refuge, Santa Rosa National Park, Guanacaste National Park
Flights: Multiple from SJO, One from LIR
Tambor Domestic Airport
Tambor Airport on the Nicoya Peninsula is a tourist location that also serves as a jumping off point to many adventures in the Gulf of Nicoya and on the Pacific Ocean.
National Parks & More
Tambor itself is a large town with many attractions, resorts and hotels. The beach is just a hop skip and a jump away after you deboard, but there is even more nearby. The first natural reserve of Costa Rica, Cabo Blanco Natural Reserve is found at the end of the Nicoya Peninsula, and as you make your way north you’ll find Diria National Park, the Ostional Wildlife Refuge and Palo Verde National Park.
It is quite easy to find lodgings in Tambor as soon as you step off the plane. Some nearby lodgings include Barcelo Tambor Beach, Ylang Ylang Beach Resort and Tango Mar Beach and Golf Resort.
Tambor has regularly scheduled flights from Juan Santamaria International Airport with both domestic airlines.
Hotels: Barcelo Tambor Beach, Ylang Ylang Beach Resort, Tango Mar Beach and Golf Resort
Attractions: Cabo Blanco Natural Reserve, Diria National Park, the Ostional Wildlife Refuge, Palo Verde National Park
Flights: SJO 3 Per Day to and from
Tortuguero Domestic Airport
The domestic airport in Tortuguero is on a strand of land that is at the mouth of the Tortuguero River which backs up to the Tortuguero National Park in Límon Province, Costa Rica.
Activities at Tortuguero National Park
The main draw in Tortuguero is the Tortuguero National Park, but you can also find plenty to do within the park or on the sea around it. Some of the area activities include sport fishing, boat tours, sea turtle watching tours, snorkeling and scuba diving. Most people who venture to this part of the world are coming to see the giant Leatherback Sea Turtles that the park was created to help conserve.
Eco Lodges, Resorts & Hotels
Tortuguero has regular flights daily with both Sansa and Nature Air. The area is populated by a number of eco lodges, resorts and hotels such as Mawamba Lodge, La Baula Lodge and Laguna Lodge.
Hotels: Mawamba Lodge, La Baula Lodge, Laguna Lodge
Attractions: Tortuguero National Park, sport fishing, boat tours, sea turtle watching tours, snorkeling, scuba diving
Flights: regularly scheduled
Buenos Aires Domestic Airport
Buenos Aires Airport is not named for the famous capital of Argentina, but rather for the same named city of Buenos Aires, Costa Rica, in the province of Puntarenas.
Places To Go
From Buenos Aires Airport, you can make your way into Chirripo National Park to the Northeast, La Amistad International Park to the Southeast and the Osa Peninsula to the west. Buenos Aires, Costa Rica, is found along the Inter American Highway Route 2, and for the most part it is an agricultural town.
Flights & Hotels
The flights to this airport are not regularly scheduled, but you can charter a private plane with either of the domestic airlines. Nearby hotels include Hotel Perico Azul, Cabinas Fabi and Hotel Aires Del Sur.
Hotels: Hotel Perico Azul, Cabinas Fabi, Hotel Aires Del Sur
Attractions: Chirripo National Park to the Northeast, La Amistad International Park, Osa Peninsula (Corcovado National Park)
Flights: Charter & Private only
Finca 63 Domestic Airport
Finca 63 Airport is in the city of Río Claro, Costa Rica, next to route 14, but service to the airport is fickle at best due to the dilapidated state of the runway.
The airport is also near the port city of Golfito, Glofito Bay and thus the entry point into the larger Sweet Gulf (Golfo Dulce). The closest park and wildlife refuge is the Silvestre Vida Refuge of Golfito and the Piedras Blancas National Park. The airport may have served incoming visitors for a time before the new one was built in Golfito.
There are not regularly scheduled flights to Finca 63, but you can still charter a private flight to the area if you choose. There are several hyper light flight organizations in Costa Rica that might pass through the area occasionally, also.
If you should find yourself in need of a rest when in the area, there are a few lodges and resorts to be found near the airfield and more in Golfito. These accommodations include Hotel Papaos, Hotel Palmera Dorima, Hotel y Restaurante Mar y Luna and Banana Bay Marina.
Hotels: Hotel Papaos, Hotel Palmera Dorima, Hotel y Restaurante Mar y Luna, Banana Bay Marina
Attractions: Silvestre Vida Refuge of Golfito, Piedras Blancas National Park
Flights: Charter, Private & Hyper-light
Laurel Domestic Airport
Laurel Airport is on the border of Panama in the Province of Puntarenas, Costa Rica. It serves the city of Laurel, Costa Rica, as well as Pavones Bay and others nearby.
Next Door to Panama
From Laurel Airport, you could probably just walk right over into Panama if you felt like it, but it would probably be better to enter via Paso Canoas. Some nearby attractions include La Amistad International Park, the Bay of Pavon and the adjacent sleepy surf and fishing village of Pavones.
Accommodations Near Laurel
There are not regularly scheduled flights to Laurel, but you can get a charter or private flight through the domestic airlines. The closest hotels in the area include Hotel Residencial Las Canaries, Caza Olas (Pavones) and La Ponderosa Beach (Pavones).
Hotels: Hotel Residencial Las Canaries, Caza Olas (Pavones), La Ponderosa Beach (Pavones)
Attractions: La Amistad International Park, the Bay of Pavon, Pavones
Flights: Charter or Private