Costa Rica's New Flights, Accommodations


costa rica travel

Costa Rica’s appeal as an eco-friendly destination continues to grow among travelers

Costa Rica is the place to be for the environmentally conscious traveler. Travel Agent has the latest intel for specialists looking to cash in on the ecotourism craze and sell more of this popular getaway destination.

Tourist Arrivals Rise

The Costa Rica Tourism Board (ICT) recently announced that tourist arrivals, both by air and land, grew 4.3 percent and 16.5 percent in January and February, respectively, compared to the same period in 2009. The growth signals a welcome turnaround for the country’s travel industry. Overall, the first two months of the year saw 428,233 visitors, almost 10 percent more than 2009.

Among them, 227,026 visitors arrived at the Juan Santamaria International Airport, one of two international airports in the country—up 9 percent from 2009. Daniel Oduber International Airport in Liberia had 24 percent more arrivals over the same period.

New Flights

Airlift to the country received a major boost when JetBlue Airways began flying there in March and American Airlines launched a new flight April 6. It is JetBlue’s first foray into Central America, with flights leaving Orlando at 10:40 a.m. and arriving in San Jose at 11:53 a.m. The return flight departs at 12:48 p.m. and arrives at 5:55 p.m.

Meanwhile, American has deployed a Boeing 757 aircraft with 16 business-class seats and 166 economy seats for its new nonstop service between New York and San Jose. The flight departs five times a week from JFK, every day except Fridays and Sundays.



Los Suenos Marriott Ocean & Golf Resort has a Spanish colonial charm and a convenient location for ecotourists

For clients making their first trip to Costa Rica, you might want to suggest a safe bet such as Marriott, the most prominent U.S. hotel brand in the country with a cluster of four properties, including the Costa Rica Marriott in San Jose, the Los Suenos Marriott Ocean & Golf Resort, the Residence Inn by Marriott San Jose Escazu and the Courtyard by Marriott San Jose Escazu.

Each property within the collection—known as Marriott Hotels & Resorts of Costa Rica—captures the distinctive feel of the country while catering to the specific needs of its guests. Here’s a rundown:

Costa Rica Marriott hotel opened in 1996 on a 30-acre coffee plantation. It embodies the elegance of a 16th-century hacienda with colonial architecture and decor. With 300 guest rooms, eight suites, an executive level and lounge, the property also has two outdoor pools, three tennis courts, nature trails, driving range and pro shop.

In 2009, the hotel unveiled the new, full-service coffee-inspired and state-of-the-art Kuö Spa, which also has a health and fitness center and beauty salon. The hotel boasts four dining options, including La Isabela Tapas & Wine Cellar, which serves authentic Spanish tapas in a cavernous atmosphere.

The five-star rainforest-inspired Los Suenos Marriott Ocean & Golf Resort also has a Spanish colonial charm and consists of 201 ocean- and mountain-view guest rooms, including eight Suites, 20 Premium Rooms and a Presidential Suite.

Sitting on Costa Rica’s central Pacific coast, only an hour away from the San Jose airport and 10 minutes from shopping, dining and nightlife in the beach town of Jacó, the resort is also within a 1,100-acre primary rainforest, making it a luxurious adventure outpost for ziplining, touring Manuel Antonio National Park, river rafting, horseback riding, crocodile experiences, sea kayaking and sport fishing.

In addition, the resort is home to the 18-hole Ted Robinson-designed La Iguana Golf Course, which runs within and alongside the rainforest and ocean. In 2009, the resort unveiled the Sibö Rainforest Spa & Retreat, which uses local ingredients for sensual and vibrant, transformative treatments to promote balance and wellness.

The first Residence Inn outside of the U.S. and Canada, Residence Inn by Marriott San Jose Escazu, opened last year and has 109 studios, and one- or two-bedroom suites with a modern kitchen and separate living area, complimentary high-speed Internet, flat-screen TV with cable, and a pullout sofa bed and luxury bedding.  Additionally, pets are allowed for a fee. The hotel has an outdoor swimming pool, fitness center, complimentary laundry facilities, full-service business center and free parking.

Other notable amenities include The Market, which sells food and beverages 24/7, free grocery shopping service and two meeting rooms ideal for small events.

Courtyard by Marriott San Jose Escazu, which has been around since 2002, is conveniently close to local attractions, downtown San Jose, business complexes and Escazu’s shops and nightlife. Only 20 minutes from the San Jose airport, the hotel provides a comfortable setting for business and leisure travelers alike.


Agent Advice

Elizabeth Burgos of Willett Travel in Los Angeles, has been selling Costa Rica for more than 20 years. The destination now makes up more than 40 percent of her overall annual sales. For Burgos, it’s the smaller, eco-certified lodges that make for great stays in Costa Rica.
“The main thing I would tell agents is to [advise] their clients to stay for at least seven days and not try and see the whole country in one visit,” she says. “Instead, pick two or three destinations and really enjoy them.” For more suggestions, contact Burgos at [email protected]

It has 120 newly refurbished guest rooms, including three suites and 11 executive rooms, as well as an outdoor pool, upgraded fitness center, a business lounge and free Wi-Fi service.

For more information on any of Marriott’s four resorts, agents should contact Jorge Dorantes (011-52-55-1102-2023, [email protected]) in the reservations department.

Travel Agent also recently spoke with Alex Zozaya, AMResorts’ president, and learned about the company’s plans for a new Dreams Resort in Costa Rica. Zozaya said groundbreaking could begin very soon and the resort will likely open before 2012.


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