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New airline routes to Costa Rica offer low-cost options to destinations in Latin America, making living in Costa Rica even more fun!

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If you’re an expat who has recently moved to Costa Rica, or you come for extended stays of several months (especially during northern winter), you’re probably familiar with the “90-day Costa Rica shuffle”.

This means that if you don’t yet have Costa Rican residency, you probably entered the country with a tourist visa that normally is valid for 90 days, at which time you must leave the country and re-enter to obtain another tourist visa. Most people go on quick trips to the neighboring countries of Nicaragua or Panama.

Starting in December 2016, you’ll have numerous other travel options with new low-cost flights between Costa Rica and destinations in Latin America. For years, Avianca and Copa Airlines have dominated the market for flights from Costa Rica to other points in Central America. Now, five regional airlines are opening new flight routes to Panama, Guatemala, Mexico, El Salvador, and Honduras’ Caribbean island of Roatan.

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In December, Air Panama will start flying twice weekly between San Jose, Costa Rica and Roatan Island in Honduras, a top site in the Caribbean for snorkeling and scuba diving. Prices start at $169 roundtrip. Air Panama currently flies daily from San Jose to Panama City and to the island archipelago of Bocas del Toro off Panama’s Caribbean Coast, near the Costa Rica border. Roundtrip flights average $297 and $272 respectively.

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The Colombian airline Wingo, affiliated with Panama’s Copa Airlines, will begin routes between Costa Rica and Panama and Guatemala starting on Dec. 1. Wingo will fly from San Jose, Costa Rica to Panama City five times a week from Thursday to Sunday; and from San Jose to Guatemala City three times a week on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Fares roundtrip to Panama can be found for $124 and for $156 to Guatemala.

Mexican airline Volaris connects San Jose with several destinations in Mexico, including Guadalajara, Cancun and Mexico City. Roundtrip flights range from $240 to $300.

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VECA Airlines out of El Salvador offers daily nonstop flights from San José to San Salvador, and from there, you can connect to routes to Managua in Nicaragua, and to Guatemala City.

The new Costa Rican airline, Air Costa Rica, that is scheduled to start flying before the end of 2016, is planning to offer routes between San José and Guatemala, Colombia, El Salvador and the United States.

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Looking to live in Costa Rica? Or visit for an extended stay?

Pure Life Development of Atenas real estate agency specializes in Costa Rica homes for sale, properties for sale, and vacation rentals in the expat destination of Atenas, Costa Rica. The friendly country town is an hour west of the capital city of San Jose in the Central Mountain Range, 45 minutes before the Pacific Coast. It is an ideal setting for convenience and excellent weather. Find out the cost of living in Atenas in our latest blog article, and check out our new listings for homes in Costa Rica.

Article by Shannon Farley