Costa Rica
Country profile

Cosmetic surgery in Costa Rica - Travel and accommodation

Costa Rica is well connected by air to the US, other Central and Latin American countries and to major European capitals.

Most international visitors from the region arrive at San José's International Airport, Juan Santamaria, which is located around 20 km northwest of San José. Coaches depart regularly from the airport and buses go to city centre every 15 minutes, with a journey time of around 20 minutes. Taxis are also available to the city, with a journey time of around 15 minutes.

Other international flights arrive at Liberia's Daniel Uduber International Airport, which is about 8km west of Liberia, in northern Costa Rica. Regular buses serve the airport and connect Liberia with Playas del Coco and other beach resorts. The national airline is called Lacsa, and this is part of the Central American Airline group known as Grupo Taca). Lasca flies to numerous places in the US, Latin America and Cuba.

Getting to Costa Rica from the US, the Americas, and Australasia

Over a third of all visitors to Costa Rica come from the US, so it is easy to find a flight from major US cities. There are scheduled flights to Costa Rica with Delta and United. Grupo Taca, the regional airline of Central Americas, has scheduled flights from major US cities. The flight journey from New York to San Jose is around seven hours.

Air Canada offers direct flights from Toronto to Costa Rica, and flies from other Canadian cities via the US. There are no direct flights from Australia or New Zealand so passengers need to travel via the US or Mexico. Flightcentre and STA Travel are two good resources for fares to Costa Rica from Australia and New Zealand.

There are three border crossings for visitors travelling overland by car, or bus from the Americas: Penas Blanas (between Costa Rica and Nicaragua), Paso Canoas and Sixaola (between Costa Rica and Panama).

Getting to Costa Rica from the UK and Europe

Most flights from Europe connect with the US, or Mexico City. Some of the main airlines flying include Continental, Virgin and American Airlines, as well as British Airways, Iberia, Air France, Delta, and KLM. Good deals can be found via websites like Cheapflights and Lastminute. The flight time from London, Paris or Amsterdam to Liberia airport is around 11 and a half hours.

Getting around Costa Rica

The best way to get around the country is by domestic flight. SANSA operates domestic flights between San José International Airport and provincial towns and tourist resorts, as does Nature Air. Check out their websites for routes and time-tabling.

Alternatively, a choice of private bus companies offer comfortable, air conditioned seats and link San José with major towns and villages. Buses between larger cities are comfy large buses, while local travel is done on smaller, more basic buses. The 'directo' buses do what they say, and travel fast and direct, while the 'corriente' buses are slower and stop at more places.

Driving in Costa Rica offers an opportunity of getting off the beaten track to view the vibrant, multi-coloured landscape and you will find international car hire companies (and local firms) in San José, other towns and cities, and of course at the airport. Driving is on the right side and the quality of road surfaces does vary - so watch out for potholes.

National rail operators, INCOFER, run a daily, scenic train journey from San José to Caldera, near Puntarenas on the Pacific Coast, which takes four hours, but generally speaking, buses are the better mode of public transport, or taxis which can be hired for the whole day if required. Licensed taxis are red (orange at the airport) and metered, but it is wise to agree a price beforehand.

All visitors need a passport for Costa Rica (valid for at least three months). Australian, Canadian, US and Western Europe do not require a visa, just a passport. Visit your country's embassy office to find out about visa requirements.

In terms of accommodation Costa Rica offers the visitor an array of reasonably priced accommodation. Hotels are graded according to quality, with A being top class, and D being budget. The capital city, San José has a wide selection of hotels, from family run establishments to chain hotels. Around the country you can also choose to stay in a wilderness lodge, or cabina, and the national parks have designated camping areas. A double room in an 'A' graded hotel in San José is likely to cost between US$70 and 150. Most hoteliers speak English. Your medical tourism representative may be able to recommend and organise hotel accommodation for you.

The currency in Costa Rica is the Colón. US$1 is equal to approximately 500 Costa Rica Colóns, and €1 equal to approximately 660 Colóns.

The country code for Costa Rica is + 506 and the time: GMT - 6. Costa Rica is one hour behind New York EST.

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