RICO’s Q — It is positive that younger generations and new visitors to Costa Rica are aware that the first international airport was in La Sabana Metropolitan Park.
April 7, 1940, was the date of its inauguration and, although the area had previously been used for aircraft landings, it was only then that an airfield started operations.
In 1955, it closed its doors to make way for El Coco Airport, now the Juan Santamaría International Airport or “San Jose Airport” (SJO), located in the province of Alajuela.
The original airport building has since been converted into the current Museo de Arte Costarricense (Costa Rican Art Museum), which was declared a National Heritage in 1986.
Though I have been in the country for more than two decades, it was only recently that I learned the original name of the San Jose airport when a neighbor asked if I was headed to the “Coco”, seeing I had me travel bags in the car.
“No, to the SJO,” was my innocent reply, with my first thoughts going to the Playas del Coco, in Guanacaste, which has no airport.
Turns out, Juan (his real name) had worked at the airport in his younger days and to him, the San Jose Airport will always be the Coco.
Though the Sabana airport is before my time, it is always a thrill, standing at the northwest corner of the park, looking southeast, the path of the old airport runway remains, through the trees.