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Costa Rica’s Airport Exit Tax to be Included in Ticket Price

November 24th, 2014

Forever its seems, when you left Costa Rica by air, you paid the ($29.00) exit tax at the airport in a special area to the right of the main entrance at SJO. I am not sure where it was paid in Liberia (LIB). Technically, you could also pay it at at Bancrédito bank branches, or at travel agencies, but I know I never did that nor did many folks I know. The line was actually fairly efficient in SJO, so it generally did not bother many people.  I guess this is now changing! If this topic interests you, read on!

Supposedly, this new system will begin December 3, 2014.  I have my doubts. While supposedly everyone has signed off on this, i.e. the bank, the airlines, the Immigration Administration, airport administrators, the Finance Ministry and the National Tourism Board, this IS Costa Rica and things seldom go as smoothly as planned.  Obvious questions include:  How this will be handled for tickets purchased weeks or months ago before the tax was included?  Have ALL the airlines signed off on this and has their ticketing systems all been upgraded to reflect this change?  If travelers arrive at the airport, is there a system in place for them to know if it was included in the ticket price?  If for some reason it was not paid, will they then need to lose their place in one line to go find the place to pay the tax?

Airfare to Costa Rica is already pretty high and now it will “appear” higher because many travelers knew nothing of an exit tax until they are leaving.  Add to that the cost of passports (required for all who venture here) and I question if that will affect tourism.

Theoretically, the exit tax is used by the Civil Aviation Authority exclusively for the expansion and modernization of the country’s airports. However, money earmarked for one purpose in this country sometimes fails to find its way to those who are supposed to receive it. Go figure!

Regardless the time required to get this thing moving smoothly, it is a great idea long overdue.

5 Responses to “Costa Rica’s Airport Exit Tax to be Included in Ticket Price”

  1. Laura Guitar on January 8, 2015 1:09 pm

    It hasn’t happened yet – we left SJO on Sun Jan 4 2015 and paid the exit tax as usual by the the main entrance. As you say, it’s not much hassle once you know to expect it. Will be interesting to see when/if it changes.

  2. Richard on May 23, 2015 9:45 am

    Do we have to pay this or is it included in our airfare

  3. Tim on June 2, 2015 7:20 am

    You should ask your travel agent or wherever you bought your ticket. I have no access to that info.

  4. Nathan Lynch on March 13, 2017 11:42 pm

    We rode on Spirit airlines, which is a super budget airline. You definitely have to pay an exit tax with them. I’m not sure how to tell if your airline includes the exit tax for Costa Rica. Another thing though, and something I didn’t expect was since I could print off my boarding pass online (save $10) if you do was that everyone has to have a printed boarding pass from the airlines. So we had to go back into our airlines cue and get ones printed off even though I had printed off copies the night before. There are a lot of rules they must be followed.

  5. Keith Waara on August 9, 2017 1:11 pm

    Just left on Delta August 2, 2017 and it was prepaid in my airline ticket.

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