Costa Rican Culture and Language Institute - ICLC - The Place where you can learn spanish abroad in Costa Rica
      Instructions for late arrival at night  

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Instructions in case of a flight delay or flight cancellation

If in the home country or on the way to Costa Rica you find out that there is a flight delay or a flight cancellation, immediately contact the host family assigned. If there are problems communicating with the host family the following emergency numbers can be used:

Sonia Rojas C., Administrative Director: (506) 8380-2218
Ronny García M., Academic Director: (506) 8382-6384

If you are in Costa Rica when dialing the emergency numbers, you do not need to dial the country code (506). If there is no answer from any of the emergency numbers, the reason could be that there are problems with the signal. In this case please keep trying.  If you are in USA or Canada, dial 011 first, then 506...

Please read the following information carefully:

  1. Be aware that Juan Santamaría International Airport (SJO) is located in Alajuela and not in San Jose (capital city). All flight tickets use SJO / San José as an International code, but the International Airport is located in ALAJUELA.

  2. If the airplane arrives before 10:00 p.m. (CST), for example 9: 55 p.m. the family will always wait until you show up outside the Juan Santamaría International (SJO) Airport (this could be one hour or one hour and a half later: 11:00 p.m. or 11:30 p.m.).

  3. If the airplane lands past 10:00 p.m., for example 10: 05 p.m. the family will return home and the safest procedure to follow is to take a hotel shuttle or an airport taxi to the closest hotels in the Alajuela area: Holiday Inn Express or Hampton Inn and Suites where you can call the emergency numbers easily and in a safe place.

    The following morning the host family or a taxi driver will pick you up to take you to the homestay accommodation.

Why families will not wait if the Airplane lands past 10:00 p.m.?

  1. You should know that, as a cultural aspect, Costa Ricans usually go to sleep about 10 p.m., because in Costa Rica life starts early in the morning (about 5:00 a.m.).

  2. Another important thing to know is that not all host families have a car, and because of that it is not easy for them to go pick up someone at the Juan Santamaría International (SJO) Airport, in the middle of the night.

  3. If for example, an airplane arrives at 10:15 p.m., you need to take into account that you will be out of Immigration and Customs about 11:30 p.m. and this if the luggage arrives on time. If the luggage does not arrive, you will need to fill out a form and this could take one more hour.

Why it is not safe to go directly to the house of the host family assigned?

  1. In the middle of the night, a taxi driver always has hard time finding an address. Why? In Costa Rica there are no names on streets and avenues and no numbers in the houses. That is why we do not recommend you to go directly to the host family assigned.

Why it is not safe to go to a small hotel in the area, late at night?

  1. The taxi driver will also have a very hard time finding the location of a small hotel. Something important to take into consideration is that small hotels do not have doors open after 10:00 p.m.

Why we recommend Holiday Inn Express?

  1. Airport taxis will get to the Holiday Inn Express in 3 minutes. The Hotel is open 24 hours and there is a bilingual clerk on duty all night. The taxi’s fee is very small and at the hotel you will have a discount when you specify that you are an ICLC client: Instituto de Cultura y Lengua Costarricense.

  2. At the hotel you can pay with credit card, you will find comfort to rest, security, free internet access, 1 hour of international calls free of charge and breakfast included. In addition, if you are waiting until someone picks you up you can go to the fitness room to exercise or to the outdoors pool.


  1. Some times, at arrival, travellers do not have local coins or a right calling card to dial from a public phone. We recommend you to call once you are at the hotel. When calling from a public phone, you could be distracted and your luggage could get lost.

  2. You should avoid accepting help from people outside the airport. There are always people that offer help, and some times, instead of receiving help you could get very confused or robed.

For questions or information not listed on these pages please contact us at:
Instituto de Cultura y Lengua Costarricense
P.O. Box 609-4050
Alajuela, Costa Rica
Phone: +506 2-458-8485 / +506 2-458-8473
Contact link form.

Last Update:  2016-10-27


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