Juan Santamaría International Airport (IATA identifier SJO, ICAO identifier MROC) is Costa Rica’s main international airport, serving the capital city of San Jose and the neighbouring city of Cartago. Only 20 kilometres away from downtown San José the airport is named after Costa Rica’s Juan Santamaría, a national hero who died defending his country in the mid-nineteenth century.
After the demise of Costa Rica’s national airline Lacsa, the airport became an international hub for Avianca Costa Rica and Volaris Costa Rica and a focus city for Copa Airlines of Panama while Green Airways and Sansa Airlines serve the busy internal network. Until a few years back Juan Santamaría was the country’s only international gateway, but now it is supplemented by an international airport in the city of Liberia, Guanacaste. Both airports have flights to North America, Central America, and Europe, but Juan Santamaría International Airport also serves numerous cities in South America and the Caribbean.
Until a few years back Juan Santamaría International Airport was once the busiest airport in Central America but is currently second after Tocumen International Airport in Panamá. In 2016, Juan Santamaría International Airport received 4.6 million passengers.
This very busy and yet very nimble single-runway airport is a must-visit for those aviation lovers on holiday to Costa Rica. As the airport is relatively small, the runways and taxiways are very close to the perimeter fence. This makes it easier to take photos of all aircraft operating in and out of the airport. The airport has various spots and locations stretching along its single runway where one can take good pictures in favourable light conditions. All in all, SJO is a must-visit.