(QCOSTARICA) Starting last Friday, the Colombian airline, Avianca, is now offering three weekly direct flights to the Caribbean island of San Andres.

The flights leave the San Jose International airport at 11:50am on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, arriving a the Colombian island at 2:09pm. The return flight leaves San Andes at 2:44pm and arrives in San Jose at 3:01pm.

The airline had been selling tickets since last May, for flights starting on July 3. The promotional price of US$299 was for purchase between May 14 and 25, with travel up November 30.  A check this morning for a flight leaving on July 10 and returning  July 18 is US$485.

San Andres is a popular destination for Costa Ricans, both for its geographic proximity (off the coast of Nicaragua) and fun and hotel infrastructure.

According to the Colombian immigration service, tourism to San Andres has increased 51.3% in the last year, mostly due to the efforts of ProColombia, the state agency responsible for promoting tourism to Colombia.

Avianca, who over the last several years absorbed the regional airline TACA, that had purchased the Costa Rican airline, LACSA, operates daily flights from Bogota and San Jose and other destinations in Central America like Panama (Panama), Managua (Nicaragua), San Salvador (El Salvador), Guatemala City(Guatemala) and Tegucigalpa (Honduras). From its hub in El Salvador, the airline offers connecting flights to destinations such as Cancun (Mexico), Toronto (Canada), Santiago de Chile (Chile) and Los Angeles (USA).

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