We had decided to fly out of San Jose, Costa Rica to Caracas, Venezuela as we had no plans at the time to travel through Panama. The flight had already been incorporated into our round-the-world ticket fare so it was simply a matter of turning up at the airport.
The night before our flight we arrived in Alajuela, a district on the outskirts of San Jose but only 5 minutes’ drive to the airport, and checked in to the Alajuela Backpackers. We chose the hostel as it offered a free pick up and drop off service to the airport and as we were dropping off our hire car at the airport we were able to get a free lift back to the hostel.
However, when we checked in we discovered that the drop off service was not hourly and that we would either have to get to the airport over 2 hours early or 30 minutes before take-off. Out of curiosity we asked a taxi how much the fare would be and found out it would be 2,000 colones, just over £2. All of a sudden the free shuttle service didn’t seem like such a good selling point.
The next morning, an hour before we were due to board, we hailed a taxi and headed off to the airport. When we arrived we had to pay a departure fee of US $28 per person at the immigrations/customs office, located on the right-hand side of the departures area. The back of the receipt served as an immigration form which we had to fill in at the check-in desk.
Once the formalities were dealt with we headed through security and waited to board the plane to the next chapter of our adventure – South America!