This is a post by author Delmark Muir. Delmark is managing director for Universal Aviation Costa Rica, which has aircraft ground-handling facilities in San Jose and Liberia. Delmark is an expert on business aircraft operations in Costa Rica and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This business aviation blog post is part of a series on operating in Costa Rica and continues from our last article: "Business Aircraft Ops to Costa Rica: Documentation & Local Area."
Hotels in Costa Rica are generally of high standards, and business aircraft operators will typically have plenty of options to consider. Be aware, however, that during high-traffic seasons preferred accommodations are often scarce and will be difficult to secure last minute.
The following is an overview of what you need to know:
1. Hotel options
There are many hotel choices in Costa Rica for crew accommodation. Most 4- and 5-star options are located in the San Jose and Liberia areas. These include many large international hotel chains. Good hotels close to the airport can be found at San Jose (MROC), San Jose Tobias Bolanos (MRPV), and Liberia (MRLB); however, Limon (MRLM) does not have any airport hotels. You’ll also find good hotels in the vicinity of domestic airports as many of these areas have resorts nearby.
2. Preferred accommodations
It’s recommended that crew members stay at 4-star and above hotels. If these are not available, there are also good 3-star accommodation options in Costa Rica. It’s recommended that you communicate with your ground handler for recommendations and best available options.
3. High-season considerations
During the high season – late November until early April – it’s best to confirm hotel arrangements well in advance due to increased demand. Average price of 4- and 5-star crew accommodations during high season is 200 USD per night. During the peak of high season, particularly between Christmas and New Year and when events such as fishing tournaments are in progress, rooms can go as high as 400 USD per night. For stays during high-demand periods, it’s often best to book crew accommodations at least three months in advance.
4. Hotel security
Security at 4- and 5-star hotels in Costa Rica is generally good. You’ll often find security at the front entrance to hotels – to check who’s entering the property and help ensure guest privacy.
5. Check-in considerations
Normal check-in time is 3 p.m. with normal check-out at noon. Early check-in is often possible without added fees, depending on the season. During high season you may need to pay an additional fee for early check-in. Depending on your rewards level with international chain hotels, you may be able to obtain late check-out without charge. Typical cancellation policy is 6 p.m. day of arrival up to 24 hours prior to time of arrival.
6. Departing for the airport – crew
During high season it’s best for crew members to be at the airport 2.5 hours prior to the estimated time of departure. This should give you enough time to ensure that services have been obtained and any requested in-flight catering is on schedule. Depending on the location of your hotel, the season, and time of day, you may need to depart your hotel earlier to ensure you’re able to get to the airport in time. Traffic congestion can involve up to a two-hour commute from your hotel to the airport. During very busy periods, crews will often go the airport to oversee fueling of the aircraft the day prior to departure. This helps ensure an on-time departure the next day.
7. Departing for the airport – passengers
Passengers should plan to be at the airport 30 minutes prior to departure to clear customs, immigration, and quarantine and for security processing. It’s important to note that if you’re bringing an additional, last-minute passenger, full details should be given to your handler in advance. Otherwise, you may face an additional processing time of 45 minutes or so for notifications to be made and documentation to be processed.
8. Additional reading: Business Aircraft Ops to Costa Rica – Series Index
- Part 1 – Ground handling
- Part 2 – Additional considerations for ground handling
- Part 3 – Fuel, additional services, and security
- Part 4 – Airport considerations
- Part 5 – CIQ and agriculture
- Part 6 – Permits, PPRs, and airport slots
- Part 7 – Flight planning, weather, and NOTAMs
- Part 8 – Documentation and local area
- Part 9 – Hotels
Road traffic congestion in Costa Rica can be particularly challenging during certain times of day and seasons. When you head back to the airport, it’s best to avoid rush hour or to allow yourself extra time for the road commute. Additionally, ensure that the ground handler has all the crew and passenger information for departure to avoid any undue delays for the flight.
If you have any questions about this article or would like assistance planning your next trip to Costa Rica, contact me at email@example.com.
Category : Best Practice
About Delmark Muir
Delmark Muir is an expert on operations and ground support to Costa Rica. Since joining Universal Aviation in 2006, Delmark, who is fluent in Spanish and English, has served as Managing Director Universal Aviation Costa Rica, where he leads all ground support activities at San Jose and Liberia.
You can reach Delmark at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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