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(506) 2223-1327                                     San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, July 30, 2015, Vol. 15, No. 149                         Email us
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Local air travelers being snagged by unauthorized fees
By Gabriela Vega Barrantes
and the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Operators of two local airports have been under investigation since last year because they have instituted their own landing fees for passengers, according to the Dirección General de Aviation Civil.

The government agency disclosed these facts as a reporter sought information on landing fees at domestic airports.

One of the operators under investigation is Aeródromo Agua Milagrosa in La Fortuna de San Carlos where the landing fee is $7 a person and the exit fee is also $7. The airport receives many tourists who seek to see the nearby Arenal volcano and enjoy the thermal waters.

The Dirección General de Aviation Civil said that the airport operator was not authorized to charge any fees.

The landing fees are not a secret. Nature Air, a firm that conducts many of the domestic flights, lists in its terms and conditions the airport near Arenal as a place where air travelers will be charged $7 both ways.

The airline also says that $2.30 or the colon equivalent is charged coming and going in Tambor and that in Quepos the fee is $3 each way.

Guiselle Cortes Mora, who responded to questions on behalf of Enio Cubillo Araya, director general of the aviation agency, said that the operator at Tambor on the Nicoya peninsula was authorized only to charge $1 and that the operator of the Tamarino airport was approved to charge $1.54. The

A.M. Costa Rica photo 
Arenal landing and exit fee was $42 for trio.

charges are for an arrival and for an exit. These were the only approved charges, she said.

La Managua in Quepos was the second airport under investigation in 2014, she said. Ms. Cortes did not address the progress of the investigations, but she did say that a penalty could be termination of the airport permit.

Travelers who leave the country at Juan

Santamaría airport in Alajuela or Daniel Oduber in Liberia are required to pay a $29 departure tax, but this levy is established by law.

The Dirección General de Aviation Civil has a complex formula that includes maintenance. depreciation and the number of passengers that is used to establish the authorized landing fee.

Travelers, either Costa Ricans or foreign tourists, seem to be unaware of the ad hoc nature of the landing and exit fees.  Ms. Cortes said there had been no complaints this year.

The fees add up. One vacationer reported that three family members paid $21 as a landing fee and the same amount to leave the Arenal airport for a total of $42.

The terminal gets its name because it is on Avenida 7 at Calle 10.
A.M. Costa Rica/Jesús Bermúdez Vargas

New bus terminal in Paso de la Vaca debuts Monday
By Jesús Bermúdez Vargas
and the A.M. Costa Rica staff
San José will have a new, modern bus terminal in the area known as Paso de la Vaca on Avenida 7. The grand opening is scheduled for Monday.

The terminal went up in an area that has been a haven for the homeless and those with an alcohol or drug problem. The municipality plans to have more police officers as well as private security to safeguard passengers including tourist who travel to central Pacific beach areas.

The investment was more than $10 million. The structure has three stories with a common area and places for stores.

A boulevard connects Avenida Segunda and Avenida 7. There already is an asphalt roadway that was reduced from two vehicle lanes to one.

The terminal will host bus companies such as Transportes Jacó, Transportes Cóbano, Empresa Alfaro, la 400 Heredia, and international buses that connect with Managua, Nicaragua.

The location was picked to avoid those traffic jams in peak hours downtown and reduce, in some cases, the number of bus stops in San Jose. 

The site is south of the restored Botica Solera and near the old Gran Cine Líbano, which is now an auto parts store.

Workmen were putting the finishings touches Wednesday on a security fence around the property and a sign on the southwest corner.

Before the terminal contractor broke grounds, the sprawling lot was the home to open-air mechanics and a lot of garbage. Adjacent storefronts were empty and used for sleeping by the homeless.

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