It's Nature's Way...

CR Resident's Fly Cheap on Nature Air

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Rarely, as a legal resident of Costa Rica, do really good financial deals come our way but here is one for which you should take note.


For me, getting from Liberia to San Jose can be a real pain in the ass.  By car, it can take 3.5 - 4 hours (on a good day) and by bus maybe 5-6 hours, provided the roads haven't washed out or bridges collapsed into the swollen rivers.

If I drove my fuel efficient little Bego to San Jose, fuel and tolls would run me at least $100 (round trip) plus the wear and tear on my car.  Admittedly, the bus would be much cheaper, costing me less that $10 round trip.  All Fran would have to do is drop me off and pick me up at the Liberia bus terminal... 30 minutes away.

But now the skies have opened up... literally.

My friend Randy Toltz told me one day that Nature Air, a local, regional airline, offers incredible discounts to Costa Rican residents.  After hearing that, I immediately jumped onto their website (http://www.natureair.com) to verify his claim. 

I created a fictitious itinerary.  My plan was to fly from Liberia to San Jose on Wednesday, June 1 and return on Friday June 3 with the understanding that Thursday would be spent in San José all day on business.  I wanted my flight to be a NON-STOP.  Flight times were unimportant. 

Note: Nature Air does not fly into Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO), instead, flies into Tobias Bolanos International Airport in Pavas (SYQ).  , San Juan

 

OUTBOUND: LIBERIA to SAN JOSE PAVAS

  • Depart: Flight 5C-321 at 12:25 PM and Arrive at 1:05 PM.  Non-stop, total flight time 40 minutes

RETURN: SAN JOSÉ PAVAS to LIBERIA

  • Depart: Flight 5C-310 at 5:55 AM and Arrive 6:35 AM. Non-stop, total flight time 40 minutes

 

Where's The Special Deal?

Nature Air's website was very easy to follow.  Everything was in English, which was a pleasant surprise to me. I entered my flight information, clicked GO and was presented with several flights conforming to my requirements. 

To be honest, what I saw did not excite me very much.  By the time I selected my outbound and return flight and then add in the taxes, I was going to pay between $182 and $290.  That seemed like quite a lot of money just to save a little time!

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However, After Further Investigation...

I learned that Nature Air had another website which was created specifically for Costa Rican citizens and legal residents... http://www.natureair.co.cr/

Although the site was in Spanish, it was still extremely easy and intuitive to navigate.  However, there was one very key difference, a disclaimer appeared in the center of the screen advising all ticket holders that they must present a Costa Rican national identification card (Cedula) at the time of check in.  Without one, you pay the full rate.

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Restrictions...

There are three fare levels, each having it's own set of restrictions and prices.  Obviously, the least restrictions carries the highest price.  FARE RESTRICTIONS DESCRIPTION.  The more flexible you are, the better chance you have of saving some big bucks.  Randy did pass on to me one tidbit that isn't found on the website, if you don't see the price you want or if it shows up as "Tarifa no disponible" - "Rate Not Available"... just call them up.  You might get lucky!

So there you have it.  I could have paid as much as $290 for this flight but instead, I was getting by for only $90. While I would still have a need for ground transportation, taxis are relatively affordable and I don't have to drive my bloody car all the way to San José. 

Nature Air covers all of Costa Rica.  I would certainly consider flying to Limon instead of making the horrible 8 hour drive from my Guanacaste home.  There are even international flights to Bocos Del Toro Panama and Managua Nicaragua.  Although you won't qualify for the national discount, it's still good to know if you want to do a 90 day border run and not have to put up the BS at the frontier crossings.



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FLIGHT CLASSES & RESTRICTIONS

BENEFIT FLEX PROMO LOCOS

PRIORITY BOARDING & BAGGAGE CHECK

YES

NO

NO

BAGGAGE ALLOWANCE

40 lbs CHECKED

10 lbs CARRY ON

27 lbs CHECKED

10 lbs CARRY ON

15 lbs CHECKED

10 lbsCARRY ON

ITINERARY CHANGES

UP TO 24 hrs before $15

WITHIN 24 HRS - $25

UP TO 24 hrs before $40

NO CHANGES WITHIN 24 HRS

NO CHANGES ALLOWED

CHANGE OF NAME

UP TO 24 hrs before $25

NO CHANGES WITHIN 24 HRS

UP TO 24 hrs before $40

NO CHANGES WITHIN 24 HRS

NO CHANGES ALLOWED

CANCELLATION

UP TO 24 HOURS - 100% CREDIT FOR 1 YEAR + $25 FEE

WITHIN 24 HOURS - NO CREDIT ISSUED

NONE

NONE

REFUNDS

ALL TICKETS ARE NON-REFUNDABLE

ALL TICKETS ARE NON-REFUNDABLE

ALL TICKETS ARE NON-REFUNDABLE

NO SHOW PENALTY

100%

100%

100%

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