Because Thomas’s family is in Germany and mine is in the US, it feels like we are constantly trying to find the cheapest flights to Costa Rica. I’ve become somewhat of an expert at it, to the point that my family now asks me to book all their flights for them. I guess I missed my calling as a travel agent.
Anyway, I’m going to break down for you how we find the cheapest flights to Costa Rica from the US and from Europe. Let’s start with Europe….
Cheap Flights from Europe:
A lot of flights come into Costa Rica every day from Europe and as a little insider secret, the number of flights coming from Europe will be increasing soon…shhh!…that’s a secret. 🙂
We have flown on Iberia and on Condor from Europe. Both are considered cheap airlines, but I must say I was extremely impressed with Iberia. Our international flights with them were some of the best flights I’ve been on in a long time. I’ve recently become an anxious flyer but our last flights with Iberia were a totally relaxed and enjoyable experience for me. Also, Iberia has much better baggage allowance than Condor. So, if you have the choice between those two airlines, I highly suggest going with Iberia.
To get the cheapest deals possible I generally use Skyscanner. Skyscanner has this feature in which you can type “Everywhere” as your destination and it will give you the cheapest places to fly to based on your location. If you are coming from Europe and would like to visit Costa Rica, we suggest using this feature but in reverse.
What I mean is type “San Jose, Costa Rica” as your departure city and “Everywhere” as your destination. You can then scroll through and see which cities are cheapest to fly to in Europe. These cities should (not always true, but usually) also be the cheapest cities to fly out of. You can input the cheapest cities as your departure location with San Jose as your destination and see which city turns out to be the cheapest. Because it is so easy and cheap to travel within Europe you can then take a Flixbus or a cheap flight with Ryanair or EasyJet to the city your flight is departing from.
Note: EasyJet and Ryanair charge extra for baggage so definitely take that into consideration if you are considering doing this.
Example: Last time we went to visit Thomas’s family in Germany we did this and found it was cheapest to fly from San Jose to Frankfurt. His family lives much further north in Hamburg, but because it is so easy and cheap to travel within Europe we booked this flight and then took a $15 bus ride up to Hamburg. It took us longer to get to Hamburg because we had to go through a six-hour bus ride after a long flight, but we saved a lot of money and we didn’t mind the extra travel time. In fact, for the two of us, round trip, over Christmas, we paid less than $1,000. Winning!
If your dates are flexible you can also leave your dates open or search whole months within Skyscanner.
You can also sign up for alerts on Skyscanner to get notified when flights to Costa Rica go down in price. A friend of our was able to fly roundtrip over Christmas to Frankfurt with two adults and two adults for under $1,000 roundtrip by signing up for a notification when the prices dropped.
I typically use Skyscanner because I like their search features and I find they are usually the cheapest, but definitely, compare prices with a few other sites. You never know! We generally also check out the Iberia site directly, Momondo, AirfareWatchdog, and GoogleFlights for comparison purposes.
Prices change so fast that it is really best to compare with every site you can to find the cheapest flights to Costa Rica.
Cheap Flights from the US:
Sometimes it is not so cheap to fly to Costa Rica from the US. Typically it is cheapest to fly from Orlando, Ft. Lauderdale, and Miami. I fly to Florida every few months to visit my grandmother and I can usually fly for under $150 round trip on Spirit Airlines.
Spirit is a discount airline and they are typically not the most comfortable, but for those short 4 hour flights, I deal with it. Also, Spirit charges you extra for everything. As in, if you don’t print your boarding pass ahead of time you will have to pay extra to get it at the airport. It’s ridiculousnessssss! Anyway, I let it slide because the flights are so cheap but definitely read their policies before you book anything so you won’t be surprised. They charge extra for bags, but I generally just travel with a backpack (I’m the lightest packer ever) that I can fit under the seat and you don’t have to pay extra for that.
When flying to Boston where my family lives I try to fly Delta because I just like them. It is usually possible for me to fly roundtrip to Boston for under $400.
Anyway, here are my tips for how you can fly from the US to CR on the cheap…..
To book your flight to Costa Rica you can use the same method of using the “Everywhere” feature from Skyscanner as I stated above for Europe, but I find this doesn’t work as well within the US because there aren’t enough cheap airlines to get you to Florida where it is cheapest to fly from.
The best thing you can do is use Skyscanner and keep your dates flexible and signup for notifications on several different flight search engines to get notified when flight prices go down. Also, compare prices across several sites.
Note: Costa Rica has two major airports. One is in San Jose and one is in Limon. I have never seen it cheaper to fly into Limon, but check it out. Maybe you’ll get lucky and depending on which area of the country you plan on visiting Limon may be a better starting point for you.
Let us know if you have any other awesome tips for scoring the cheapest flights to Costa Rica. We’d love to hear your ideas!
Now that your flight is booked it’s time to sort out transportation and find accommodations!
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