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Tuesday, October 25th 2016

"I'm a travel junkie who's hooked on deals from YVR." - Chris Myden

Vancouver to Costa Rica | $399 roundtrip including taxes | other Central American countries for $20 more

A toucan in Costa Rica

United Airlines has just drastically dropped the price on a ton of their flights from Vancouver to countries in Central America, including Costa Rica, Belize, Panama, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, and Nicaragua.

The date range with the cheaper flights appears to be between September and December 2015.

When to go?

November and December are usually solid choices for Central America, steering clear of the rainy season.

How to find and book these flights

1. Start with a search on Google Flights


^^ Not to be confused with Google Flights Explore. They're not showing up on Google Flights Explore ... yet.

2. In Google Flights, search for a flight from Vancouver to one of the following destinations ....

(prices are roundtrip, including taxes, in Canadian dollars)

Liberia, Costa Rica (LIR) $399
San Jose, Costa Rica (SJO) $399
Guatemala City (GUA) $410
San Salvador, El Salvador (SAL) $416
Belize City, Belize (BZE) $419
Roatan, Honduras (RTB) $420
San Pedro Sula, Honduras (SAP) C$420
Tegucigalpa, Honduras (TGU) C$420
Panama City, Panama (PTY) $423
Managua, Nicaragua (MGA) $432

3. Once you've entered a destination into Google Flights, hit the little bar graph icon...

4. Now, near the bottom, adjust the length of the trip you're looking for. This will automatically adjust all of the available prices showing in the calendar view.

^^^ The prices shown here are in Canadian dollars.

4. When you see a price you like, click on it. The rest is pretty straight-forward. Keep clicking until you get to the page with the 'Book with United' button.

When you click on the price ($399 in this case), it will take you to the United website to complete your booking.

If you have any troubles booking on United.com with a Canadian credit card, I would suggest taking the same dates and destination that you found on Google Flights, and trying your search manually over at www.united.ca - which may work better.

Open Jaws (flying into one city, and out of another)

You may be able to find similar fares flying into one of the cities listed above, and out of another.
example: into Belize City (BZE) and out of Panama City (PTY).

Update April 12 @ 8 PM - These prices came back today, in case you missed them last time!

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19 Responses to "Vancouver to Costa Rica | $399 roundtrip including taxes | other Central American countries for $20 more"

    Has T been here?
       T on March 31st, 2015

    Thanks for the heads up! Although the flights I've been seeing involve 2 stops one way and a 6.5 hour stopover on the return. Still, for the price, it's not bad!

    Has R. Cucamonga been here?
       R. Cucamonga on April 1st, 2015

    Just got 2 Tix from YVR to Panama for CAD$843. Thanks!!!!!

    Has Vivian  been here?
       Vivian on April 1st, 2015

    How far out can you book?

    Doesn't seem to be a booking option for November flights.

    Has Lydia been here?
       Lydia on April 1st, 2015

    Great timing - I've been planning a trip to Nicaragua, looking at roundtrip prices that are double compared to this deal. I just booked a great flight to Managua in Sept (one shortish stopover each way) for $431 all in.

    Chris, thank you so much for this heads up!! I really can't get over how much I saved. :D

    Has KC been here?
       KC on April 1st, 2015

    I ended up booking it through a travel agent but we are going into Managua and home from Tegucigalpa for less than $1k for the 2 of us so we're happy! And our return date is Dec. 10, after that the prices went up.
    Thanks Chris!

    Has V been here?
       V on April 1st, 2015

    Managed to book directly through the United website.

    The worst time to go is in September due to the rain - but I think it's okay to
    go at the end of November since dry season starts in December.

    Has Steph been here?
       Steph on April 2nd, 2015

    Nooooooooooooo is the price gone now?

    Has Nev been here?
       Nev on April 2nd, 2015

    I cant find any flights for the prices listed above! only $800+
    What happened!!! is it gone now? :(

    Has Nev been here?
       Nev on April 2nd, 2015

    I cant find any flights for the prices listed above! only $800+
    What happened!!! is it gone now? :(

    Has Chris_Myden been here?
       Chris_Myden on April 2nd, 2015

    Unfortunately, it does look like prices went back up this morning, all across Canada.

    Has Mike been here?
       Mike on April 3rd, 2015

    Also, they say the cheapest day to book flights is on a Tuesday, which March 31 was. I may try again this coming Tuesday to see if they drop again.

    Has Angelo been here?
       Angelo on April 12th, 2015

    I was just on Goodle Flight and YVR to Managua is coming up at $478

    Has Chris_Myden been here?
       Chris_Myden on April 12th, 2015

    Yep, the cheap flights from Vancouver to Central America seem to have re-appeared tonight (April 12). Slightly higher this time by about $40-$50.

    Has kyle been here?
       kyle on April 13th, 2015

    not sure how on earth you guys keep getting cheap flights on this site, every time I do what you recommend, my prices are always 1200+

    I was originally shown this site because of travel to Tokyo, but that didn't give me any deal (1400+) so I was looking for south/central America, but still 1100+?

    Has Rayleen been here?
       Rayleen on April 13th, 2015

    Kyle, make sure you're signed up to receive the e-mail alerts. When Chris posts something, the prices can change back to normal quickly (within 12-24 hours) as the seats tend to sell out fast. So you want to make sure you know as soon as something is posted, and not a few days too late.

    Has Angelo been here?
       Angelo on April 14th, 2015

    The low fares are gone again... will they reappear? Time will tell.

    Has Chris_Myden been here?
       Chris_Myden on April 15th, 2015

    They've disappeared and reappeared a couple times now. Stay tuned!

    Has Wendy been here?
       Wendy on May 8th, 2015

    Hi Chris,

    I don't see the bar graph icon on google flights anymore (in Chrome or Firefox on Mac OSX). Did something change recently??


    Has Chris_Myden been here?
       Chris_Myden on May 8th, 2015

    Google seems to be up to something. I've been noticing the bar graph icon disappearing and re-appearing the last week or so. If you click on the return date it should bring up the same calendar view. But sometimes it seems like the 'trip length' adjuster disappears too.

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