We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Monday morning traffic near SJO?

Long Beach...
Level Contributor
38 posts
27 reviews
Save Topic
Monday morning traffic near SJO?

Hi all,

For our last night in CR, we'd like to find a good hotel (~$100) for two people to stay that is close to the airport. I've been searching Hotels.com and TA and I see a number of things within 5-10 miles of the airport; however, we are flying out on Monday morning, Feb 24 at 8AM (meaning we will be heading to SJO around 6AM).

Two questions:

1) what kind of traffic can we expect to the airport at that hour? Does 'rush hour' kick in that early and if so is it crazy at the time? My instinct tells me yes, but hopefully I'm wrong.

2) With that being said, should we get a hotel <5 miles away? (I spent a decade living in NYC so even a 5 mile commute crosstown through Manhattan at that hour could take 30-45 minutes!) Should we book with something in the immediate vicinity of SJO (<1 mile away?)

Thoughts? Thanks in advance. BTW this is our very first trip to CR and we'll be spending 10 days visiting San Ramon, Puntarenas & Bagaces!!

Playa Hermosa...
Destination Expert
for Manuel Antonio, Jaco
Level Contributor
1,510 posts
79 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Monday morning traffic near SJO?

The airport is actually in Alajuela not the capital city of San Jose. Therefore, you won't find rush hour traffic (esp. at that time of the morning). You will find the normal amt. of traffic associated with an international airport but rush hour ie: people heading to work ... no you won't experience that (and when I think of rush hour, that's what I think of!) Depending on where you choose to stay, you might consider leaving your lodgings earlier than two hours prior to departure. Actually the airport and airlines suggest arriving three hours prior to departure, FYI.

Chicago, Illinois
Destination Expert
for Costa Rica
Level Contributor
10,333 posts
23 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Monday morning traffic near SJO?

You need to be at the airport at a minimum 2 hours before departure, although the airlines recommend 3 hours for SJO, so plan on waking up earlier.

If you need to return a rental car, that will be off airport and you should plan on an hour to check in the car and catch a shuttle bus to the airport. (It might take 15-20 minutes but it could also take an hour if they notice any damage- rarely are cars in pristine condition.) Better to return the car the night before and take a taxi to the airport in the morning.

Since SJO is way outside San Jose, the traffic near the airport should be nothing like mid-town Manhattan at rush hour. If you have a couple of hotels in mind you could just ask the forum which would be a better choice. Ten miles west or north of the airport would be fine but 5 miles east of the airport (toward San Jose) would be my limit. Hotels.com is not a good booking engine for Costa Rica in general because many of the smaller affordable hotels won't show up since they don't pay commissions.

Oops Lisa beat me to it.

Edited: 22 January 2014, 19:36
Costa Rica
Level Contributor
25,653 posts
25 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Monday morning traffic near SJO?

Yeah, no "rush hour" traffic.

Lots of hotel options and here are some: Hotel Pura Vida, Hotel Los Volcanes, Alegria B&B, Hotel Brilla Sol, Hotel Buena Vista -- all 15 minutes or less from SJO.

I recommend that you return your rental car the day before your flight. That way, you have plenty of time and don't have to worry about rushing through the whole process (and it is time-consuming) and getting to your flight. Either have the rental car agency come to the hotel to pick up your car or return to the agency office, return your car and get a taxi to your hotel. Then, taxi to the airport in the morning -- almost ALL hotels will pay your taxi to the airport.

And yes, 3 hours would be better than 2 hours. You will need to pay your departure tax, fill out a form and then stand in line with everyone else on your flight (and possibly other flights ) to check in. Airlines will not let you board if you have not checked in at least 1 hour prior to flight time. Then..... there's security.

If everything goes really fast, that's fine. You can go upstairs to the excellent coffee shop that has free WiFi, great coffee and other drinks and good snacks and just relax for a bit. Then head for security and the boarding area. The coffee shop is above security so you can see when the line gets shorter.

Long Beach...
Level Contributor
38 posts
27 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Monday morning traffic near SJO?

Thank you all for your insight! I think we are going to stay somewhere in Alajuela..

San Jose, Costa Rica
Level Contributor
48,716 posts
35 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Monday morning traffic near SJO?

HAmpton Inn...Hotel Aeropuerto...they offer free shuttle to and from SJO.

Almost no traffic that early in the morning!


6. Re: Monday morning traffic near SJO?

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 02 October 2015, 13:15
Still have questions?
Post your own question so other travellers can help.
Ask a question