Flying to the Caribbean Coast will save you some time and the possibility of getting stuck in traffic.
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There is no airport in the south Caribbean region of Costa Rica; the closest airport to Puerto Viejo is in Limon which is about a 45 minute drive away.
This airport however had previously been served only by charter flights. However, now Sansa Airlines flies three times daily (may depend on the season) from San José. The flights operate from San Jose's main international airport, Juan Santamaría (from a separate terminal beside the main international terminal). Flight schedules change often so please check the schedule by using the booking links below or with the carrier.
You may see references to Nature Air on other websites. However that carrier's operations were suspended in January 2018 and they are not expected to resume operations. The longstanding carrier Sansa has taken up the slack as well as some new entrants.
The project to widen Route 32 to the Caribbean Coast from San José is currently underway so there may be construction delays making flying an even better option.
Flight rates will vary depending on availability, fare class (the cheapest fare classes include very little luggage so check) and how far in advance you book but generally are about $110 each way with an additional cost for transport from Limon airport to your Puerto Viejo or area hotel. It is also possible to fly from other destinations in Costa Rica to Limon though, with the possible exception of Tortuguero, that will require changing planes in San José.
Book flights from San Jose to/from Limón using the buttons below:
Getting from Limon airport to Puerto Viejo is about a 45 minute drive. The shared shuttle option operated by Caribe Shuttle is about $25 per person and a private shuttle for 1-3 persons is about $75 (a bit more for a larger group). Either of these will bring you directly to most hotels in the Puerto Viejo or Cahuita area (hotels closer to Manzanillo might cost a few dollars more). You must book these services in advance and you can do so using the buttons below which will bring up one of our partners booking forms:
Limon to Puerto Viejo
Puerto Viejo to Limon
|Shared: Caribe Shuttle||Shared: Caribe Shuttle|
|Private: Caribe Fun Tours||Private: Caribe Fun Tours|
|Private: Gecko Trail||Private: Gecko Trail|
If you haven't booked a shuttle, you may be able to get a taxi or flag down a Limon to Puerto Viejo bus on the highway. The Limon to Puerto Viejo buses (see schedule) may stop when flagged down but the San Jose to Puerto Viejo will not. However there is no bus stop or good place to wait and if you consider the cost of a taxi when you arrive in Puerto Viejo to get you to your hotel you will find booking the connecting shuttle or a private transport is a better option.
While there are no rental car agencies located at the airport, you may be able to book a rental car and arrange pickup at the airport.
At certain times of the year, some of the flights are routed San Jose-Tortuguero-Limon so you could also fly Limon to Tortuguero or vice-versa. See the Tortuguero page for detailed info on getting to and from Tortuguero.
Costa Rica Green Airways flies 3 times weekly from San Jose to Bocas del Toro in Panama. So if you want to see both Bocas and Puerto Viejo you could do a circle trip by travelling from San Jose to Puerto Viejo to Bocas and then return by air (or vice-versa). See our Bocas page for info on getting between Puerto Viejo and Bocas.
For more information on Costa Rican domestic flights, you can also check the Sansa website website directly.
Looking for other transport options?
There are plenty of other ways to get here: public bus, whitewater rafting, driving, flying and more. Check our transport overview page for all the options.