Getting there


There are no direct flights to Costa Rica from the United Kingdom or Ireland. Flights will take from 14 to 22 hours depending on the connection. You will have to make at least one stopover.
American Airlines
United Airlines
connect through Miami, or any of their direct services from the US. Alternatively you can link through a European agency.
flights connect through Madrid. The low season price corresponds roughly to the winter months in the northern hemisphere.

Daily flights leave various locations in the United States and Canada for Costa Rica, taking three to eight hours. Flight
vary but seasonal offers get as low as US$200 from Miami.

Regular daily flights are available from Panama and Nicaragua with
Grupo Taca
. Further afield there are daily connecting flights with every Latin American capital with Grupo Taca.


Travelling overland to Costa Rica is possible and distinctly enjoyable from North America and all countries in Central America. Whether travelling by bus or private vehicle, you should allow plenty of time for the journey, however. Although you could do the journey in a manic week, taking a few weeks to travel slowly through Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua would be a far more rewarding experience. Changing money at border posts may seem risky, but it is rarely that bad. Try to get an idea of what your money is worth from another traveller before asking a money changer. Given that you are in a buyer's market, you are unlikely to get the best deal, but at least you can avoid being totally ripped off.

By private vehicle

Travelling overland is fairly simple with a degree of advance planning and a vehicle that can make the journey. You will need vehicle registration documents, your driver's licence and an international driver's licence (not essential but can be useful) and insurance. On entering Costa Rica you will be required to buy compulsory insurance and road use tax. Although there are no charges for entering any Central American country with a vehicle, it would be wise to check with embassies before setting out.

The journey itself is certain to involve wildly varying experiences. Drive with caution: pot-holed roads, hazards, animals - domestic and wild - and people are some of the many problems that may stop you in your tracks. Avoid driving at night unless totally essential and take utmost care when choosing when to pull up and where to park your car.

By bus

The bus journey is equally challenging. You can drift through the countries one by one using local buses or take an international bus and see the countries through the window - missing opportunities all over the place, but needs must when someone else drives. The most direct service is with

This is edited copy from Footprint Handbooks. For comprehensive details (incl address, tel no, directions, opening times and prices) please refer to book or individual chapter PDF
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