How long is a flight to Costa Rica from the US? The trip takes about 7 hours on average, but nonstop flights are much faster and layovers can add hours to your flight time.
Learn how long flights to Costa Rica take when you fly nonstop and with 1-2 stops below. We’ll also show you average layover times and which cities have the quickest flights to Costa Rica!
How Long Is a Flight to Costa Rica From the US?
With so many different cities you can fly out of to get there, figuring out the average flight time to Costa Rica from the US can be a little challenging.
We’ve analyzed flight times from US cities across the country to determine the average flight duration for trips to Costa Rica for nonstop, 1-stop, and 2-stop flights.
The average length of a flight to Costa Rica from the US ranges from about 4 hours to a little over 9 hours – it depends on your departure airport, flight stops and routes, and layover times.
Keep reading to see which Costa Rica airport will work best for your trip, see the average flight time from the US to Costa Rica, and get travel tips to ensure a smooth and seamless flight!
Which Costa Rica Airport Should You Fly Into?
You have 4 options when you fly into Costa Rica with 2 international airports in San José, one in Liberia, and one in Limón:
- Juan Santamaría International Airport (SJO)
- Tobías Bolaños International Airport (SYQ)
- Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport (LIR)
- Limón International Airport (LIO)
The Juan Santamaría International Airport (SJO) located in the capital of Costa Rica, San José, is the largest and busiest airport in the country.
The smaller Tobías Bolaños International Airport (SYQ) is also located in San José and provides another option if you’re unable to find available flights to Juan Santamaría.
San José is the most popular choice for Costa Rica travelers, so it’s the city we’ve used below for our flight time analysis.
Your third option is flying to the Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport (LIR) in Liberia, which puts you close to Costa Rica’s coast and beaches.
Finally, Limón International Airport (LIO) in Limón, Costa Rica provides a 4th airport option that runs international flights between Costa Rica and the US.
Most travelers will find that Juan Santamaría International Airport in San José is the most convenient option for flying to Costa Rica and getting to popular destinations.
How Long Is a Nonstop Flight to Costa Rica?
- Seattle to San José nonstop: Not available
- New York to San José nonstop: 5h 15m+
- Chicago to San José nonstop: Not available
- Miami to San José nonstop: 2h 53m+
Not all US airports offer nonstop flights to Costa Rica. In our analysis, Seattle and Chicago were among the major airports that did not offer direct flights – only flights with 1 or 2 stops.
International airports in New York City and Miami, however, do offer nonstop flights to Costa Rica.
Overall, the average nonstop flight to Costa Rica takes about 4 hours and 4 minutes from the US. Nonstop itineraries are the shortest flights you can book to Costa Rica from the US.
Miami International Airport had the shortest flight time to Costa Rica with flights to San José starting around 2 hours and 53 minutes.
New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport and nearby Newark Liberty International Airport are both options offering nonstop flights to Costa Rica with flight times starting around 5 hours and 15 minutes.
How Long Is a Flight to Costa Rica With 1 Stop?
- Seattle to San José w/1 stop: 8h 55m+
- New York to San José w/1 stop: 6h 49m+
- Chicago to San José w/1 stop: 6h 44m+
- Miami to San José w/1 stop: 5h 45m+
Adding 1 stop to your flight itinerary makes the flight considerably longer than nonstop flights to Costa Rica, depending on how long your layover is scheduled for.
Overall, the average 1-stop flight to Costa Rica from the US takes about 7 hours and 3 minutes.
The shortest flight with 1 stop in our analysis was from Miami to Costa Rica at 5 hours and 45 minutes long.
It’s not bad compared to longer flights from New York or Chicago, but consider the difference between a nonstop flight from Miami (2 hours and 53 minutes) and a flight with 1 stop – a difference of nearly 3 hours!
Overall, layovers between the US and Costa Rica are about 3 hours and 52 minutes long on flights with 1 stop. But you may have stops as short as 1 hour or as long as 10 hours and 20 minutes or more.
Most layovers were somewhere between 1 hour and 3.5 hours on 1-stop flights to Costa Rica.
Very few are longer than 4 hours, but you should carefully review flight details before booking to avoid long layovers.
How Long Is a Flight to Costa Rica With 2 Stops?
- Seattle to San José w/2 stops: 10h 43m+
- New York to San José w/2 stops: 9h 15m+
- Chicago to San José w/2 stops: 9h 55m+
- Miami to San José w/2 stops: 7h 40m+
It’s not ideal to take a flight with 2 stops to Costa Rica when so many nonstop and 1-stop flights are available, but if you’re having trouble securing a flight, there are plenty of 2-stop itineraries available from the US.
You’ll add a considerable amount of time to your flight by choosing a 2-stop flight instead of a nonstop or 1-stop flight.
Overall, 2-stop flights to Costa Rica from the US take about 9 hours and 23 minutes.
The shortest flight we found with 2 stops in our analysis was from Miami to Costa Rica at 7 hours and 40 minutes. The longest was out of Seattle with a 10 hour and 43 minute flight time.
Layovers on a 2-stop flight to Costa Rica from the US are about 1 hour and 35 minutes each on average. Keep in mind that there are 2 stops on these flights, so one may be very short while the other is longer.
We found layovers as short as 40 minutes and some as long as 3 hours and 9 minutes.
Keep in mind that layovers on international flights to Costa Rica need to leave you enough time to get through customs and board your connecting flight.
Can You Fly Direct to Costa Rica From the US?
The fastest way to get to Costa Rica is flying nonstop. While you can’t fly direct to Costa Rica from the US from all airports, several airports in the US do offer direct (nonstop) flights.
Airlines that regularly fly nonstop from the US to Costa Rica include:
- Alaska Airlines
- American Airlines
- Delta Air Lines
- JetBlue Airways
- Southwest Airlines
- Spirit Airlines
- United Airlines
Notice that Frontier Airlines and Allegiant Air are not on the list. Direct flights to Costa Rica’s international airports are only available at some US airports.
Check the following airports for nonstop flights to San José, Costa Rica or Liberia, Costa Rica:
- Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
- Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT)
- Dallas/Ft. Worth International Airport (DFW)
- John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK)
- Miami International Airport (MIA)
- Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL)
- Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL)
- Orlando International Airport (MCO)
- William P. Hobby Airport (HOU)
- Baltimore/Washington International Airport (BWI)
- Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR)
- George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH)
Things to Consider
We’ve looked at how long a flight to Costa Rica takes when you’re flying nonstop or with 1-2 stops. What else should you know to make the most of your trip to Costa Rica?
Here are some travel tips to keep in mind.
- Always opt for a nonstop flight. If airlines offer nonstop flights from your departure airport, it’s well worth the extra expense. In fact, we found some examples where airfare was actually cheaper for nonstop flights vs. flights with 1 or 2 stops! You’ll spend less time on the plane and more time enjoying Costa Rica. Plus, you’ll only need to go through customs once each way!
- Plan on renting a car. Costa Rica is a big country that’s filled with amazing scenery and outdoor recreation options that are quite spread out. To explore the country and have the freedom to move around without public transportation, plan on renting a car once you arrive.
- Give yourself plenty of time between flights. If you’ve booked a flight to Costa Rica with 1 or 2 stops, make sure you’re leaving yourself a nice cushion of time between your connecting flights. You may have to get through customs before boarding your next flight (if your connecting flight is at an international airport outside of the US).
- Make yourself comfy on the plane. Flights to Costa Rica aren’t terribly long – nowhere near how long it takes to fly to Thailand, anyway. Still, bringing a neck pillow, some tasty snacks, and some reading material will keep you content during the roughly 7-hour average flight.
- Know the best time to visit. Costa Rica can be amazing to see year-round, but if you go during the best time to visit Costa Rica, you’ll increase your enjoyment tenfold. July and August, known as the “little high season,” offer great weather, smaller crowds, and lower pricing on hotels and car rentals.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you were wondering “How long is a flight to Costa Rica,” you’ve probably had a few related questions like other travelers. Check out the FAQs below to learn more!
How long does it take to fly from the US to Costa Rica?
It takes about 7 hours on average to fly from the US to Costa Rica, but nonstop flights are around 4 hours long and flights with 2 stops take 9 hours and 20 minutes on average.
You’ll find flights just under 3 hours long from US cities that are closer to Costa Rica, like Miami. Flying from cities that are further away, like Seattle, can take 9-11 hours.
How far is Costa Rica from California by air?
San Jose, Costa Rica is about 2,630 miles from San Diego, CA or 3,603 miles from Los Angeles, CA by air.
There are no direct flights to Costa Rica from San Diego, but flying from Los Angeles (LAX) takes about 6 hours on average.
Is it expensive to fly to Costa Rica?
It’s not expensive to fly to Costa Rica, especially in comparison to other tropical destinations. We found nonstop round trip flights around $270 from Miami and $360 from New York.
Similar flights to Honolulu were around $900 (from Miami) and $917 (from New York). Flights to Cancun were about $230 (Miami) and $320 (New York) in our search.
How far is Costa Rica from NY by plane?
San Jose, Costa Rica is about 2,200 miles away from New York City by plane. When you fly from NYC to Costa Rica nonstop, it takes about 5-7 hours on average.
Flights from NYC to Costa Rica with 1 stop may take around 7+ hours, depending on how long your layover is.
Do you need a passport to go to Costa Rica?
Yes, you need a passport to go to Costa Rica since it’s not part of the United States. A valid passport with validity for the full length of the stay is needed to enter Costa Rica.
U.S. citizens are allowed to stay in Costa Rica without an entry visa for up to 90 days and need to show a return ticket to leave the country when they arrive.
So, How Long Is a Flight to Costa Rica Overall?
Overall, how long is a flight to Costa Rica from the US? When you consider nonstop, 1-stop, and 2-stop flights, the average flight time to Costa Rica is about 7 hours (6 hours and 50 minutes).
With the average nonstop flight taking around 4 hours, 1-stop flights around 7 hours, and 2-stop flights around 9 hours and 20 minutes long, it’s clear that flights with no layovers are the shortest and best option.
Layovers on flights to Costa Rica can be as short as 40-60 minutes, but many are in the 1-4 hour range. With such a wide range, it’s essential to pay attention to booking details when you browse flights!
It won’t take you all that long to get to Costa Rica, so if you’re on the fence about taking a trip here, consider this your sign to go ahead and book a flight.
From exploring its fascinating cities and hiking through the jungles and cloud forests to dining on fresh seafood and flavorful dishes, amazing experiences await you in Costa Rica!