General Information

For basic information about visiting Costa Rica and FAQ’s, please visit

Visa Requirements

Please visit for a full description of visa requirements by country. Please note that visas cannot be obtained at the airport in Costa Rica, but at a Costa Rican consulate office in your country of residence.  To attend a scientific conference, like TDWG, only a tourist visa is needed.

Health Advisories for Travelers

Costa Rica is a tropical country and we advise all TDWG participants to be prepared with any appropriate vaccinations and prophylactic medicines, as well as insect repellent, clothing, and knowledge to avoid being bitten by dangerous organisms.  Please consult the public health agency in your country of origin.

Helpful infographics prepared by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control provide handy tips:

The Zika virus has been reported in Costa Rica and of course is a serious concern for travelers.  No recent cases have been reported near the conference venue or lodging areas. Please see this annotated bulletin from the Costa Rican Health Ministry for more detailed information on Zika, chikungunya, and dengue in Costa Rica.  The Ministry updates these bulletins weekly and publishes them here. The latest bulletin (#38) has not seen a significant change since the annotated bulletin was posted, nearly 1.5 months ago. Zika cases have risen from 8 to 10 (but none in the past two weeks), and the three major mosquito-borne diseases are following a decreasing trend at the country level.

Flying into Costa Rica

More than 20 international airlines operate in Costa Rica ( Costa Rica has two international airports: the Juan Santamaría Airport in San José (SJO) and the Liberia airport in Guanacaste. We strongly recommend that you fly to SJO, as the Liberia airport is farther away from your final destination: La Fortuna, San Carlos. Besides flights into Liberia are far less frequent than those to SJO.

Arrival times. We recommend that most participants arrive in La Fortuna by 6 PM Sunday, 04 December. To be safe, your flight should arrive in SJO no later than 2 PM (14:00). Arriving after 14:00 will mean that you miss all or some of the Sunday night reception and meeting check-in. Travel time to La Fortuna (by road) is estimated at three (3) hours.  You might need to arrive in San Jose on Saturday, and overnight there before continuing to La Fortuna.  (See hotels near the airport.)

Departure times. We recommend selecting a return flight that departs SJO no earlier than 9 PM (21:00) on Friday, 09 December. You might need overnight in San Jose to connect with flights before 9 AM on Saturday, 10 December.

Getting to La Fortuna

Several modes of transportation can take you from San José to La Fortuna, including bus, taxi, plane, and rental car. TDWG is going to charter several buses to operate as needed between 2-4 December, for inbound participants, and 09-10 December for outbound participants. These buses should minimize both wait times and expense, and we recommend using these buses rather than independently available alternatives.

1. TDWG chartered buses. $30 each way. Tickets must be purchased in advance on the TDWG registration site. 

From San Jose to La Fortuna, buses will be scheduled on the following days:

Date Number of Buses
Friday, 02 Dec 1-2
Saturday, 03 Dec 2-3
Sunday, 04 Dec 5-7

<br/>Departures will be from SJO airport and nearby hotels. The departure time and capacity of each bus will be based on flight arrival times gathered from the registration site.

Date Number of Buses
Friday, 09 Dec 1-2
Saturday, 10 Dec 3-5

After the conference ends, one bus might leave from CTEC shortly after the conference ends.  All other buses will leave from La Fortuna.

2. Orange Taxi from SJO airport.  Most official taxis in Costa Rica are red. Unofficial/illegal taxis —also called “piratas”— are not recommended. They may not have full insurance, will not have regulated meters, and offer their services illegally. The one exception to the “legal taxi = red taxi” rule, are the “orange taxis” that take you from the airport to any destination.  These are the “Taxis Unidos” ( They operate 24/7. They are orange and have a flat fee for rides to La Fortuna. 

If you are traveling outside the times we arrange for buses, this might be your best alternative.  We have arranged a special rate for TDWG participants, but note that the cost will be by car-trip, not by passenger. It will be cheapest if you can share the cost with at least 2-3 other participants.  Again, we will do our best to coordinate with other participants, but this requires that you provide flight number, date and time of arrival with your registration data in RegOnline. (Please do not send us your travel information directly in emails.)

The following is the special tariff given to TDWG participants traveling in a single orange taxi:

1-3 people, total price $150
4-5 people, total price $170
6-8 people, total price $200.

3. Hotel shuttle. When you make your hotel reservations, you can ask them for a taxi/shuttle service. You may be able to negotiate a good deal if there is a group of people traveling with you. You may use the table provided to us by Taxis Unidos to negotiate a good fare. 

4. Local Airlines.  Two local airlines fly from SJO to La Fortuna, NatureAir ( and SANSA (, but each has only one flight a day to La Fortuna. 

Airline Flt Num Departs Arrives Price Description
NatureAir SC-420 14:20 14:40 $74 direct; cap. 19 pax
SANSA 1054 12:00 13:25 $90 1 stop; cap. 10-14 pax

You will need to claim your bags at SJO, clear customs, and recheck them at the local airline desk.  Find information for return flights at the websites above.

5. Rental car. A large number of agencies rent cars at the airport and on the web, but be aware that car rental in Costa Rica can be expensive.  Some companies may require that a significant “security deposit” be placed against your credit card until the car is returned in good order.  We don’t recommend renting a car unless you are traveling with family or a companion who will need independent transportation during the week.

Transportation between hotels and CTEC during the week

CTEC is located at the Costa Rica Institute of Technology (TEC) campus in Santa Clara, a small rural town in the San Carlos region. It is about 40 minutes by car from most of La Fortuna hotels. It is a nice ride in which you will enjoy the view of the Arenal Volcano and surrounding areas. TDWG and TEC have coordinated a private bus service that will pick up participants at the hotels specified on this web site and at the La Fortuna park (for those staying in other hotels). At the end of the sessions, in the afternoon, buses will take back participants to their respective hotels.

Final schedules will be announced here once we have more definitive information about number of participants and where they are staying.

Hotels near the SJO airport

For many people, flight arrival might be too late to continue to La Fortuna the same day.  The following hotels are near the airport and recommended if you need to stay overnight between your flight and taking a bus to La Fortuna.  The same can also be true for your flight to return home.  Note, that locals recommend being at the airport three (3) hours before a departing international flight.

Holiday Inn Express San Jose Airport
1000 Airport Boulevard | next to Juan Santamaria International Airport, Alajuela 95-4003, Costa Rica
A 0.5 km de Juan Santamaria Intl Airport 

Hampton Inn & Suites by Hilton San Jose Airport
Hwy 1 Airport Blvd, Alajuela 20107, Costa Rica
A 0.6 km de Juan Santamaria Intl Airport 

Courtyard San Jose Airport Alajuela
Plaza Los Mangos, Radial Francisco J. Orlich, Alajuela 20109, Costa Rica

[ This last hotel might be $15-30 cheaper than the corporate hotels above. ]
1915 Hotel 

  Last Modified: 30 November 2016