The rainforests and colourful wildlife of Costa Rica will be easier to reach next May thanks to new flights launched today by British Airways.
From May 4, the national carrier will begin a direct, twice-weekly service from London Gatwick to the country’s capital San Jose.
These flights will increase to three times a week in time for the winter of 2016 using a Boeing 777 and landing in San Jose’s Santamaría International Airport.
“With everything from its incredible wildlife, rugged rainforests and volcanic peaks, as well as stunning beaches and – of course – world-famous coffee – Costa Rica offers an incredible array of places to visit and experience,” said Colm Lacy, British Airways’ head of commercial Gatwick, adding that he was sure that the route would prove popular.
Mauricio Ventura, Costa Rica’s minister of tourism, said the country wanted to appeal more to British visitors. “In the last 12 months alone we have seen an increase of 12.9 per cent of tourists from the United Kingdom visiting Costa Rica, staying an average of two weeks, helping to make a valuable contribution to the Costa Rican economy.
“Europe is a priority market for Costa Rica.”
Douglas Rogers, a Telegraph Travel writer, described a visit to Costa Rica last year as something “like a scene from Avatar.”
“I was on a mountainside in southern Costa Rica,” he wrote, “gazing out on dense jungle rolling down to azure ocean. A humpback whale and her calf were frolicking in the waves, and ﬂying low over the forest canopy below me – a dazzling burst of red, yellow and blue against the green – was a pair of scarlet macaws, rare long-tailed parrots of such exquisite beauty that for a second I wondered if they were real. Behind me, squirrel monkeys leapt among the palms and electric-blue butterﬂies alighted on emerald ferns.”
The flights will initially leave Gatwick on Wednesday and Saturday at 11.55am and 11am respectively, arriving in San Jose at 3.45pm and 2.50pm respectively, and take an average flying time of 10 hours and 50 minutes.
When the third flight starts in winter, the departures will move to Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, departing at 10.15am on a Tuesday and Saturday, arriving in Costa Rica at 3:35pm, and departing at 11.25am on Thursday, arriving in to Costa Rica at 4.45pm. Flight times during the winter months will be 11 hours and 20 minutes.
Fares for a return flight start at £2,532 in Club World, £1,100 in World Traveller Plus, and £687 in World Traveller, including all taxes and charges.