Juan Santamaría International Airport is the primary airport serving San José, the capital of Costa Rica. It is located near the city of Alajuela, 20 kilometres (12 miles) west of downtown San José. The airport is named after the country’s national hero Juan Santamaría. It is owned by the Government of Costa Rica and operated by Aeris Holdings Costa Rica, under ADC & HAS and Andrade Gutiérrez Concesores. It serves San José, Alajuela, Heredia, and Cartago. It is the hub of Sansa Airlines, and the focus city airport for Copa Airlines and Avianca. The airport’s been the sole international gateway for years, until an international airport in Liberia, Guanacaste opened; only Juan Santamaría International Airport also serves cities in South America and the Caribbean. According to the Ministry of Transportation, the airport will end all major operations in 2025 to become a secondary airport; its substitute will be the new airport in Orotina.
What to see & do
San José is the capital and the hub of Costa Rica. It is surrounded by lush green mountains and valleys and is located on a plateau in the Central Valley at 1200 metres (3,700 feet) elevation. One of the best places to visit in the city is Museo de Oro Precolombino (The Gold Museum), an underground museum below Plaza de la Cultura. It houses a collection that includes 1,600 pieces of Pre-Columbian gold work dating from 500 AD to 1500 AD. Other places of interest are the Numismatic Museum and The Temporary Exhibition Galleries; Museo del Jade (The Jade Museum), which is home to the largest collection of pre-Columbian Jade in America; Museo de los Niños (The Children's Museum), an ‘edutainment’ museum and was designed for Costa Rica's children; Museo Nacional, which includes a large butterfly garden and a collection of large stone spheres from the Diquis Valley near the Pacific Ocean; Museo de Arte Costarricense, which uses to be the city’s main airport terminal; Insect Museum at the Universidad de Costa Rica, which houses a collection of exotic bugs; Museo de arte y diseño contemporáneo (MADC), Costa Rica’s main institution dedicated to contemporary art broadcasting; and Zoológico Simón Bolivar in Barrio Amón.
How to get around within San José
You can navigate around the city of San José by taxi, car, bus, shuttle, or by bicycle. Taxis in the city are generally cheap and should have a meter. To get to your destination, instead of the exact address (which is useless to the driver), you’ll have to point out a landmark: a well-known building, park, or hotel close to where you are going. If you prefer to drive around, note that traffic lights don't have the yellow border around them and may be difficult to see. There are many pedestrians so the roads can get congested, with motorcycles weaving in and out of traffic. The Easy Ride Shuttle service offers a New Airport Express shuttle services for a cheap price and runs for 24 hours. Getting around by bus is reliable, comfortable, extensive, and very cheap. You can also bike around the city. You can purchase a bicycle at stores located in Calle 6 / Av. 5 (Coca Cola) or south of "Avenida Segunda" on the corner or Av.6 / Calle 4.
How to get there
Juan Santamaría International Airport is served by several airlines such as Aeroméxico, Air Canada Rouge, Air Panama, Air Transat, American Airlines, Avianca¸ Copa Airlines, Condor, Cubana de Aviación, Delta Air Lines, Frontier Airlines, Iberia, Interjet, JetBlue Airways, Nature Air, Sansa Airlines¸ Southwest Airlines, Spirit Airlines, United Airlines, US Airways, and Veca Airlines, which fly to and from destinations like Mexico City, Toronto, Montreal, Dallas-Fort Worth, New York, Miami, Bogotá, Guatemala City, Lima, Managua, Rio de Janeiro-Galeão, San Pedro Sula, San Salvador, Tegucigalpa, Frankfurt, Santo Domingo, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Havana, Madrid Charlotte, Phoenix, Chicago, Houston, Newark, and Washington, among others. The airport is situated approximately 20 minutes by car from the centre of San José. The Alajuela bus at Merced Park can take you to and from the airport. Taxis also serve the airport. Other ways to get in are by bus (originating from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama). You can hop on a train from Heredia, Belen, Pavas, San Pedro, and Curridabat all the way to San José.
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