January 11, 2022

We found the best flight deals to Costa Rica for less than $200 round trip

[CNN Underscored, Getty Images]

Costa Rica’s beautiful beaches, tropical rainforests and miles of hiking trails are calling your name. And, thanks to cheap airfare from around the US, you can get there for much less than usual.

This week, flight deal website Thrifty Traveler emailed its Premium members about discounted round-trip airfare from cities around the US to the Costa Rican cities of San Jose (SJO) and Liberia (LIR). We’re seeing round-trip fares from as little as $176 to the Costa Rican capital of San Jose from Miami (MIA).

Most of the cheapest fares fall on travel dates within January and February, though some trickle into March 2022 as well. The lowest fares tend to be with American Airlines, though you may find some cheap fares with the likes of JetBlue, Delta, United or Frontier.

Cheaper-than-average fares can also be found from cities across the country, including Boston (BOS), Baltimore (BWI), Cleveland (CLE), Fort Lauderdale (FLL), Green Bay (GRB), Las Vegas (LAS), Milwaukee (MKE) and Sioux Falls (FSD), among dozens of others. While some of the routes are nonstop, others require a stop on the way to Costa Rica.

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While some of these cheap fares are in standard economy, others are in basic economy, which means you’ll need to pay extra for perks like checking a bag and selecting a seat. Make sure you check out the specific details of your fare when booking. We recommend booking either directly through the airline or via an online travel agent like PricelineExpedia or Travelocity.

Keep in mind that even if you feel comfortable traveling right now, Covid-19 restrictions may change at any moment. At this time, Costa Rica allows fully vaccinated Americans to enter without needing a negative Covid-19 test. You can find the full entry requirements here. Also remember that when you’re ready to return to the US, you will need a negative Covid-19 test taken within one day of departure.

Here are some examples of the cheap Costa Rica tickets you can book right now.

Miami (MIA) to San Jose (SJO) for $176 round trip with American

Miami to San Jose for $176 round trip with
American American Airlines

New York (JFK) to San Jose (SJO) for $190 round trip with American

New York City to San Jose for $190 round trip with AmericanAmerican Airlines

Philadelphia (PHL) to San Jose (SJO) for $203 round trip with American

Philadelphia to San Jose for $203 round trip with AmericanAmerican Airlines

Los Angeles (LAX) to Liberia (LIR) for $218 round trip with JetBlue

Los Angeles to Liberia for $218 round trip with JetBlueJetBlue

Washington, DC (DCA) to San Jose (SJO) for $260 round trip with American

Washington, DC to San Jose for $260 round trip with AmericanAmerican Airlines

Nashville (BNA) to San Jose (SJO) for $287 round trip with American

Nashville to San Jose for $287 round trip with AmericanAmerican Airlines

Where to stay in Costa Rica

Costa Rica is full of fantastic hotels. Whether you’re looking for a five-star stay or one that’s simply a place to rest your head every night, there’s something for everyone. Consider booking one of these Costa Rica hotels.

Andaz Costa Rica Resort at Peninsula Papagayo

This property is part of the Hyatt hotel chain, meaning you can redeem your World of Hyatt points for a free stay — and it’s a great use of your points. At the hotel, you’ll have breathtaking views of Culebra Bay, as well as a location just steps from a tropical rainforest. If you’re interested in redeeming points for a free stay, it’ll cost 20,000 points per night.

The Westin Reserva Conchal, an All-Inclusive Gold Resort & Spa

This property made our list of the best all-inclusive resorts where you can use points and miles for a free stay — and for good reason. The resort has a rainforest on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other. Plus, it’s got several pools on property as well as multiple restaurants and bars. It’s also a member of the Marriott Bonvoy portfolio, which means you can redeem between 70,000 and 100,000 Bonvoy points for a free night, depending on the dates of your stay.

Blue River Resort & Hot Springs

At the lower end of the price spectrum, consider a stay at the Blue River Resort & Hot Springs. The property is located within the rainforest of Rincon de la Vieja, perfect for the traveler looking for an adventure. The highlight of a stay at this property is the natural mineral “green” hot spring pools, but there’s plenty else around to keep you busy.

The Westin Reserva Conchal, an All-Inclusive Golf Resort & Spa, Costa RicaHyatt

How to book your flights

If your mind is now set on the idea of heading to Costa Rica, make sure you book your flight the right way in order to maximize what you’re getting for your purchase. For instance, there are a number of credit cards that earn extra rewards or perks when you book travel with them.

Widely considered the best card for booking flights is The Platinum Card® from American Express. You’ll earn 5 points for every dollar you spend on flights booked directly with an airline or via Amex Travel when you use the Amex Platinum. So if you book the $287 round-trip flight from Nashville to Costa Rica directly with American, you’ll earn 1,435 points from Amex, plus points in American’s AAdvantage program.

Alternatively, you could book these flights with a card like the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, which earns 3 points per dollar on travel, including flights, and 5 points total on air travel if you purchase through Chase Ultimate Rewards. Then, when you’re ready to book your hotel, you can use the same card to earn 3 points for hotel and home rental bookings, or 10 points total when booking through Ultimate Rewards.

And if you’re planning to book with an online travel agency like Priceline, remember to book your flights with a credit card that earns points on all travel, not just travel booked directly with airlines or via an issuer’s booking portal.

By Emily McNutt

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