Flying From Vancouver to Costa Rica - Cheap Airline Flights

Cheap Flights From Vancouver to Costa Rica

Type this phrase into Google, “Cheap Flights from Vancouver to Costa Rica” and you will get dozens of search results for cheap flights. Great you think, as you click on the first site. Hmm, not so cheap. No problem, plenty more . Click on the second site, darn it, even more expensive. After about the fifth site, have you given up? Not me, I'm cheap. Two years ago, I spent hours looking for a cheap flight to Costa Rica. In the end, I found an okay priced flight to Costa Rica.

“Cheap”, what an over-hyped keyword for air travel. So what to call this article to try to help someone looking for an actual cheap flight from Vancouver to Costa Rica? I'm not clever enough to get this article onto the first page of Google for that search term, so if you found this article and are looking for a cheap flight, well I'll be darned. I hope this helps you out.

Sculpture Inside Vancouver International Airport
Sculpture Inside Vancouver International Airport
Spirit Airlines King of Cheap Tickets
Spirit Airlines King of Cheap Tickets

I've been traveling to Costa Rica for years, out of the west coast of Canada. Prior to moving to Costa Rica, I lived in Victoria on Vancouver Island. In my experience, I usually had to fly out of Vancouver to get to Costa Rica for a reasonable price. Sometimes it meant flying to Toronto first. Let me tell you, Vancouver and Toronto are not close. Well two years ago (I was complaining about the price I had paid in the previously mentioned booking), a friend in Granada, Nicaragua told me about Spirit Airlines. Spirit Airlines have discount flights to Nicaragua and discount flights to Costa Rica.  I'd never heard of them. How could this be? None of the online booking sites I used had ever shown a flight with Spirit Airlines. It turns out they don't fly to the Pacific Northwest. I had tried looking for cheap flights out of Seattle too, which is a real hassle if you are coming from Vancouver Island. The flights out of Seattle are less than out of Victoria or Vancouver, but it adds another half day to the travel and the cost of getting to Seattle needs to be added in as well.

How to Book Your Cheap Travel to Costa Rica

The closest Spirit Airlines come to Vancouver is Los Angeles or Las Vegas. Don't click away yet, you can still get to Costa Rica using Spirit Airlines. You've just got to get yourself to Vegas or LA first. Spirit Air is so cheap that you will still find your overall cost of getting to Costa Rica is less than flying with one airline or their partners from Vancouver.

To book your travel to Costa Rica with Spirit Airlines you are going to need to get from Vancouver to either LA or Las Vegas. I have always booked it through Las Vegas. The connection times work well out of Las Vegas and if you fly mid-week, there are usually good prices with either Westjet or US Airways. My personal preference is Westjet, but I am cheap (I prefer the word frugal), so I flew once with US Airways because it was $50 less. That is about how much of a difference it would have to be for me to choose them again. The comfort of Westjet flights makes it worth the extra bit of money.

Update: January 2011, Westjet have been running seat sales to Los Angeles. They have been advertising flights from Vancouver to LAX for $99. Other departure cities are Edmonton, Victoria, Calgary and Kelowna.

Flying from Vancouver to Costa Rica Cheap Flights Vancouver should be cheapest using the Los Angeles route I just described. A round-trip flight from Vancouver to San Jose Costa Rica will work out to around $560 using the flight plan with Westjet to Costa Rica as part of your itinerary to get to Costa Rica.

Las Vegas, a fun destination on your cheap ticket to Costa Rica from Canada
Las Vegas, a fun destination on your cheap ticket to Costa Rica from Canada
Westjet, the first leg of your cheap ticket to Costa Rica from Vancouver
Westjet, the first leg of your cheap ticket to Costa Rica from Vancouver

What is this "cheap ticket" going to cost to get from Vancouver to Costa Rica?

I'll give you the prices as of today (July 6,2010) that I find online. You may want to check online here and see what you come up with. Use whatever flight finder you like, Travelocity, Expedia or some other cheap tickets agency. To make it faster when you get to the site, just type in the airport codes rather than the cities. I'd suggest trying to find a good price on Westjet first because their prices fluctuate the most and Spirit's prices are pretty much the same from day to day. The airport code for Vancouver is YVR and LAS for the Vegas airport. The flight prices I see with Westjet one way to Vegas on a Tuesday or Wednesday are $139. The prices are higher Friday, Saturday and Sunday, so do try to avoid weekend travel. A round-trip ticket will work out to $278.

Now for Spirit Airlines. First, a little bit of information about Spirit. They have flights to destinations all over the Caribbean and Latin America. Their hub to all of the islands and Latin countries is out of Fort Lauderdale. The airport code for Fort Lauderdale is FLL So you will be making a change of aircraft in Fort Lauderdale, but it doesn't involve picking up checked baggage or clearing security again. You just wait in the boarding lounge. Spirit Airlines have two flights a day going to San Jose, Costa Rica. The airport code for San Jose is SJO. One flight gets in at 11:40 in the morning and the other arrives just after midnight. I always choose the morning arrival because I don't want to be clearing customs and getting out of the airport and to a hotel at that time of the day.

San Jose's Juan Santamaria International Airport Costa Rica

Spirit Airlines are always running promotions. I get two or three a week from them in my email. The most common one is $24 off a round-trip flight and sometimes they'll offer $50 off as well. The prices they charge from Fort Lauderdale are crazy. If you are thinking of flying to Nicaragua, the prices are even cheaper than flights to Costa Rica. Many times I have seen them have $9 one way flights from Fort Lauderdale to Managua. The prices aren't gimmicks either, the seats are available. I hate it when you see a seat sale advertised and you try to book it and then it says “there are no more seats available at that price, however …..”. The way Spirit Air make their money on you is the “extras”. Yes they are going to charge you for your bags and anything else that they can. I like their system though. You pay for what you use. So if you are going to be traveling with three large suitcases each, it is going to add up. I usually travel with just one checked bag, so it doesn't add significantly to the cost of the ticket.

If you are going to book a flight with Spirit Air is always cheaper if you sign up for their Free Spirit $9 Fare Club. You will get $9 off of each flight and the cost of your luggage is less too. For now though, you can see the fares and just subtract $9 from the price you see. The airport code for San Jose, Costa Rica is SJO. For god's sake please don't end up flying into San Jose, California. Not to worry if you're using Spirit, they don't fly there. Without using a $24 or $50 coupon the one way prices I am getting from LAS to SJO are $176. The round-trip portion with Spirit Airlines will cost you $352. When booking the flight, I would suggest booking the 11:30PM departure out of Vegas. It is the only non-stop flight they offer from Vegas to Fort Lauderdale. Also, it gets you into Fort Lauderdale in the morning with plenty of time to be on the San Jose flight and it leaves late enough in the day out of Vegas that if you arrive early there, you can take a cab to the strip and take in some attractions without having to book a hotel room there either. You can make all of the flight connections without having to book any hotel layovers.

San Jose International Airport
San Jose International Airport

Information Update:

Update: Watch for Westjet or Air Canada seat sales to Los Angeles. The airlines frequently have seat sales on this rout The best route to fly cheap to Costa Rica is to LAX first from Vancouver on Westjet or Air Canada and then onto Fort Lauderdale. Westjet is such a comfortable flight and it makes a great choice for getting to Costa Rica. A round-trip cost of a flight from Vancouver to Costa Rica with Westjet and Spirit using the LAX option and a seat sale should work out to approximately $550.

End of Update.

The total round-trip cost of flying from Vancouver to Vegas with Westjet and then from Vegas to San Jose with Spirit Airlines works out to - drum roll please......... $630, or $580 with a Spirit coupon . This isn't a last minute price, in fact I've flown for even less to Costa Rica because my dates were flexible and I waited until Westjet or Spirit had really cheap flights. When booking a flight to Costa Rica, please be aware that you need to have onward passage out of the country or the airlines are not allowed to board you onto the flight. This means having a return flight out of Costa Rica.

Spirit's Boarding Lounge Feels Like This
Spirit's Boarding Lounge Feels Like This

Now in good conscience I can't send you into the Fort Lauderdale airport without a word or warning. When you exit your plane and enter Spirit Airlines boarding lounge, it feels like  are in a school portable waiting for your connection. The portable, ahem, I mean "boarding lounge" is cramped and the washrooms can not handle the volume of people. So keep the coffee consumption to a minimum. The good news is the wait for the morning flight is only about 3 hours. Buy a newspaper and chill out.

Flying From Western Canada to Costa Rica | Cheap Airline Flights

You don't have to live in Vancouver to get these cheap airline tickets to Costa Rica. If you live anywhere in Western Canada you can use the information in this article to get cheap flights to San Jose Costa Rica. You just need to be able to book a cheap Westjet flight to Las Vegas ( LAS ) or Los Angeles ( LAX ) and then follow the same booking options to Costa Rica. Better yet, Westjet have recently been offering seat sales to some of their longer haul destinations, so it is possible that you could fly Westjet all the way to Fort Lauderdale and then make the connection to San Jose Costa Rica. This could work out to be even cheaper if you can get in on a seat sale.

Here are a list of some of the main cities that fly into Vegas or Los Angeles with Westjet, so it would be easy to book these cheap flights to Costa Rica.

Victoria BC to Costa Rica Cheap Flights : Westjet fly from Victoria to both LAX and LAS so getting a cheap ticket to Costa Rica from Victoria is easy. Airport Code for Victoria is YYJ

Kamloops to Costa Rica Cheap Flights : Westjet fly from Kamloops to both LAX and LAS so getting a cheap ticket to Costa Rica from Kamloops is easy. Airport Code for Kamloops is YKA

Kelowna to Costa Rica Cheap Flights : Westjet fly from Kelowna to both LAX and LAS so getting a cheap ticket to Costa Rica from Kelowna is easy. Airport Code for Kelowna is YLW

Calgary to Costa Rica Cheap Flights : Westjet fly from Calgary to both LAX and LAS so getting a cheap ticket to San Jose Costa Rica from Calgary is easy. Airport Code for Calgary is YYC

Edmonton to Costa Rica Cheap Flights : Westjet fly from Edmonton to both LAX and LAS so getting a cheap ticket to Costa Rica from Edmonton is easy. Airport Code for Edmonton is YEG

Regina to Costa Rica Cheap Flights : Westjet fly from Regina to both LAX and LAS so getting a cheap ticket to Costa Rica from Regina is easy. Airport Code for Regina is YQR

Saskatoon to Costa Rica Cheap Flights: Westjet fly from Saskatoon to both LAX and LAS so a cheap ticket to Costa Rica from Saskatoon is easy. Airport Code for Saskatoon is YXE

Winnipeg to Costa Rica Cheap Flights : Westjet fly from Winnipeg to both LAX and LAS so getting a cheap ticket to Costa Rica from Winnipeg is easy. Airport Code for Winnipeg is YWG

Learn to Surf in Santa Teresa Costa Rica

When you get to Costa Rica, you might want to consider taking a surf lesson. Some of the best surf in the world is found in this tiny country.  Santa Teresa and Mal Pais are two towns located at the southern tip of the Nicoya Peninsula. The beach of Playa Carmen is the lovely sand beach that separates the two towns.

How To Surf - Playa Carmen is one of the best beaches in the world to learn to surf. If you would like to read a little on learning to surf you can check out SURFhow's excellent guide to surfing.

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Comments 5 comments

Rick P 6 years ago

sounds very good and informative. Will take the trip this winter and send opinions when we return


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surf traveler 6 years ago Author

Thanks, I'm glad the information was helpful. I was going to update the hub today because Westjet just started another seat sale today from Vancouver to Los Angeles. That can be a good route to take to get to Costa Rica.


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surf traveler 6 years ago Author

Okay, that wasn't so hard, just updated the article with the September 9th, Westjet seat sale information. :)


Grace 5 years ago

Hi: I am contemplating a trip to C.R. and happened on your website. I just want to thank you for all the information - it is awesome and I will definitely be using it. Many thanks


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surf traveler 5 years ago Author

Hey, thanks for taking the time for that Grace. Have an awesome trip if you decide to head to C.R.

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