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  1. eleanorcr

    Have a Plan B

    I just returned from a visit to my son in the US and got caught up in the "SJO closed due to ashes from Turrialba" drama. It was a nightmare. I flew into Miami from Denver and blithely headed to my next gate for the flight from Miami to SJO. However, that was not to be. After a LOT of confusion about which gate the flight was leaving from and a lot of misinformation, I discovered that the 6 pm flight was postponed until 6 am the following day. Luckily, I had a Business Class ticket so went into the Admiral's Club and they gave me a discount voucher for an airport hotel. So I paid ONLY $103. haha (Airlines are not responsible if the delay or cancellation is due to an "Act of God" so getting the discount voucher was a plus.) Next morning, I was at the airport at 4:30 am for my 6 am flight. Which was delayed..... and delayed..... and delayed. Finally, about 1 pm, they told us the flight was cancelled and we would all have to re-book. After standing in line for about 30 minutes, I managed to snag a flight to Managua that left later that day. I booked a hotel in Managua and the next morning, took the Ticabus to Liberia where a friend picked me up and took me home. I wanted to kiss the ground! So until Turrialba calms down a bit, if you are planning on flying into or out of SJO, have a Plan B. What will you do if your flight is cancelled? Look at all your options beforehand and be prepared to act quickly. Managua and the Ticabus is a decent option and might be the easiest but it depends on where you are headed in Costa Rica. For some, Panama City might be easier. Getting a ticket online from Ticabus can be a chore, but is possible. (You have to take a photo of your main passport page and email it to them with a filled-out form) There are other options if you are not "financially-challenged" and if you fly into Managua, you could rent a car and arrange to leave it at the border and have another rental waiting on the other side. Of course, there is always private transportation. But pricey. I got one quote of private transportation of $180 to pick me up at Penas Blancas and drive me to Liberia. That's a 1.5 hour trip! In Managua, I stayed at the Best Western Hotel Las Mercedes which is about 5 minutes from the airport. It is an older hotel, but very clean and excellent staff and big breakfast. Around $100. If you are taking the Ticabus, there is a hotel owned by Ticabus which is adjacent to the Ticabus terminal in Managua and would be a good choice. For me, after spending 14 hours in the airport in Miami and then a 2.5 hour flight, I just wanted to get to the closest hotel and lie down! I never anticipated this problem, even though I knew of Turrialba activity, and things probably would have gone better if I had a "Plan B" all ready. Let me know if I can answer any questions -- I will try.

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