After a full day of international travel, you will likely be tired once you arrive at the airport in San Jose, Costa Rica. Hotels near the San Jose Costa Rica airport are not hard to come by. There are plenty of amazing options, but there are some things you should be aware of before selecting the perfect place for your needs.
Here are all of our tips for choosing the best San Jose Costa Rica airport hotel.
The Best Area to Stay in
We suggest choosing where to stay based on which place seems to have the best cocktails….kidding…sort of.
Anyway, the San Jose airport is actually not in San Jose. Instead, it is just on the border of San Jose in the city of Alajuela. When looking at hotels near the airport we suggest focusing more on places right near the airport or in the downtown area of Alajuela.
Traffic around the airport can be absolutely insane during rush hour. You do not want to stay too far away because you could be looking at some lengthy transport times.
Budget Hotel Options
For less than $30 a night you can stay at Hilda’s cute bed and breakfast. This place is very simple, but it is always spotless and Hilda is the sweetest. Breakfast is included and Hilda will order an airport taxi for you. The taxi to the airport is included in the rate.
For under $50 a night you can stay in a double room here. Breakfast is included and there is also a shared kitchen that guests can use. There is a shuttle service here but you do have to pay extra for it. There is also a cute little garden area for guests to hang out in.
For less than $35 a night you can stay in a double room here. Breakfast is included in this rate. There is not an airport shuttle, but they will be happy to call a taxi for you.
You can stay in an 8 bed mixed dormitory at this hostel for $15 a night. Breakfast is available for an extra $5.
Mid-Range Hotel Options
For under $70 you can stay in a nice double room with private bathroom and breakfast included. There is a pool, gardens, and small outdoor workout area located on site for guests. A free airport shuttle is also available.
For about $80 a night you can stay in a double room with terrace. Breakfast is available for $7. There is also an airport shuttle available.
High-End Hotel Options
Pura Vida Hotel is located on the other side of the city of Alajuela, but you can still be to the airport in about 15 minutes. A one bedroom villa will cost about $140 a night with breakfast included. There is an excellent Asian fusion restaurant on site. Also, the grounds are so pretty here! There is a free airport shuttle for guests.
The Marriott is located super close to the airport (under 5 minute drive). There is a free airport shuttle, outdoor pool, restaurant on site, and fitness center.
For about $300 a night you can stay in one of Xandari’s beautiful villas. The resort features a spa village, yoga lessons, outdoor pools and hot tubs, restaurants, and 4 km of natural trails. It will take you about 30 minutes to get to the airport. There is an airport shuttle service
Finca Rosa Blanca has been on my “must visit” list for a few years now. Unfortunately, we haven’t made it here yet. If you visit, let us know how you liked it, so we can live vicariously through you. 😉
Rooms run about $400 a night with breakfast included. The hotel features an outdoor swimming pool, garden, a bar, shared lounge, a restaurant, and room service. There is a paid-for airport shuttle.
Things to Consider Before Booking a Hotel Near the Airport
-It does get hot near the airport, but it tends to cool down at night (usually to about 65 degrees Fahrenheit). I wouldn’t worry too much about getting a place with AC. We live near the airport and do not have AC or a fan. We are perfectly comfortable with just a light blanket for sleeping.
-There are not that many restaurants around the airport. If you are staying in downtown Alajuela there are plenty of options, but right near the airport, there are not as many. If you find a hotel with a restaurant, that is always good.
Otherwise, Uber Eats is super popular in Costa Rica at the moment. There are tons of options for delivery near the airport. Just sign up for an Uber Eats account and you will be good to go!
-We love Booking.com for finding hotels in Costa Rica. You can read all about how we use Booking.com to find the best deals.
When searching on Booking for hotels near the airport we type in “Juan Santamaria International Airport” as our location. Also, if you need a shuttle you can check off “Airport Shuttle” on the left column next to your search results.
Here are all the listings on Booking.com near the airport. Leave the “where are you going?” part blank. Just enter your travel dates and you will find all of your options. ↓
-Airbnb is always a good option, but personally, we tend to skip Airbnb for one night stays. It can sometimes be a pain to meet up with a host and organize when and where to get the key from them etc. It is usually just easier to stay at a hotel for such a short time.
However, if you would like to try Airbnb and are new to the platform we do have a $30 discount off your first stay for you. Yeay!!
-If you need to get to or from the airport we suggest looking for hotels near the San Jose Costa Rica airport with free airport shuttles. We will get more into that in one second.
Transportation to and From the Airport
If possible, we suggest finding a place with a free (or even a cheap paid for) airport shuttle. This will save you from having to deal with getting a taxi from the airport.
It’s not like it is difficult to get a taxi at the airport, you will be literally hounded by taxi drivers when you exit the airport. It’s just that getting a taxi can be expensive and a bit overwhelming. You can read all about taxis in Costa Rica here.
If you plan to rent a car for your travels in Costa Rica we suggest having your car dropped off at your hotel the morning if you won’t need a vehicle that evening. This will save you a bit of money.
We have partnered with our favorite rental car company in Costa Rica, Adobe, to bring you a 10% discount plus other perks. If you do plan to rent a car directly from the airport Adobe will pick you up with their shuttle and take you to their office 5 minutes away.
However, Adobe is also happy to deliver your car to you for free at your hotel within 12 miles from the airport.
If you can get a hotel with a free shuttle you can then spend your first night near the airport and have Adobe deliver your car in the morning (they start deliveries at 7:30 am) and then you can hit the road to your first destination.
If you are spending the last night of your trip near the airport you can have Adobe pick up your car from your hotel in the evening and then take your hotel’s airport shuttle in the morning.
When you are making your reservation with Adobe just indicate in the drop-off and pick up box which hotel you will be staying at. You can add any other details in the comment section of your reservation.
Should You Stay in a Hotel Near the Airport?
You may want to head straight to your first destination after arriving at the San Jose airport. We can’t blame you! With limited vacation time, you probably want to get the beach or the jungle. However, sometimes we suggest spending a night in a hotel near the San Jose Costa Rica airport.
-If your plane arrives after 5pm and you plan on renting a car we suggest spending the first night near the airport. The sun sets here between 5:30 and 6pm every day. It’s not as if you can not drive in the dark, but it is definitely easier to drive during the day. You will not be familiar with the roads here.
If your first stop is the beach town Jaco, we think that is fine to get to in the evening. That drive is only about 1.5 hours on well-maintained and well-marked roads.
-If you have a semi-early flight out of San Jose at the end of your trip we suggest spending the night before your flight near the airport. As I previously mentioned, rush hour traffic around here is next level. We don’t want you to be stressed out about getting to the airport on time and sitting in terrible traffic.
-If you have some extra time in your trip there are actually some really nice things to see near the airport. Most people tend to get away from this area as fast as possible, but spending a few nights near here is not a bad way to start or end your trip.
What Can You do Near the Airport?
The Central Valley of Costa Rica is beautiful! We love to drive up in the mountains and check out the amazing view of San Jose below. This area actually reminds me a bit of Switzerland with rolling mountain fields of green, grazing cows, and tasty cheese (although Costa Rica cheese is definitely not on the same level as Swiss cheeses, but oh well!).
Definitely check out our guide to the Alajuela area for restaurant suggestions, travel tips, fun activities, and more.
Visit Poas Volcano
Poas Volcano is about a 1.5 hour drive from the airport. Poas has been active in the past two years. It is currently open to visitors, but new rules have recently been put into place for safety. You can read all about how to plan your visit to Poas volcano with our Poas visitors guide.
Go on a Coffee Tour
There are several coffee tours in the Alajuela area. Our three favorites are Doka Estates, Britt, and Hacienda Alsakia.
Britt coffee is probably the most well-known coffee company in Costa Rica. Their tour focuses mostly on the production side. It is a great tour if you have kids.
The Doka Estates tour will teach you all about the farming side and production of coffee. We have not done this tour, but have heard it is much more in-depth than the Britt tour.
Hacienda Alsakia is the worlds only Starbucks coffee plantation that you can visit. They do have coffee tours, but you can also just enjoy a coffee in their unique coffee shop with a view of a waterfall.
Visit La Paz Waterfall Gardens
The La Paz Waterfall Gardens are a great place to see Costa Rican wildlife, learn a bit about Costa Rican history, and to see the amazing La Paz waterfall. Tickets to this place are a bit pricey, but it a great place to visit, especially if you have kids. You can learn all about this spot with our La Paz Waterfall Gardens guide.
Let us know if you have any questions about hotels near the San Jose Costa Rica airport in the comment section below. We are happy to help you out! Also, if you had a great experience at a hotel near the airport, let us know! We’d love to pass on your suggestions to future travelers.
WAS THIS HELPFUL? WE’D LOVE IF YOU’D PIN IT!