I’ve spent the past few days in the Guanacaste region of Costa Rica, on the Papagayo Peninsula. I’ve hung out with a few other travel editors and some travel agents who handle upscale clients. The one perception issue that keeps coming up is that a lot of people think Costa Rica is remote, or hard to get to.

Some of this you can chalk up to Americans’ notorious ineptitude at geography, but part of it stems from assumptions that used to be true but no longer are. A decade ago you either flew into San Jose or you didn’t fly to the country at all. Now you can fly direct daily to Liberia though on American, Delta, and Continental. Canada Air flies direct, as does TACA from some international destinations. (That’s how I got here, direct from Mexico City.) Here’s a full list of arrivals and departures for Liberia’s airport.

This is not usually a long flight either. It’s four hours from Atlanta, under three hours from Miami. In other words, about the time it would take you to get from the east coast to the west coast or vice-versa.

Then the drive from the airport is not too taxing, around 30-40 minutes to the Four Seasons Costa Rica, for example, on good roads. Many roads in Costa Rica are still god-awful, but the main highway from San Jose to Liberia is good and most of the main ones around Guanacaste are good—they don’t get flooded out as much in the north.

Then after you arrive, there’s this…