Pura vida. British Airways will begin non-stop flights between Gatwick and the Costa Rican capital of San Jose on May 4, 2016The service will run twice a week during the summer, rising to three a week in the winter to San Jose’s Santamaría International Airport direct from Gatwick. The route will be served by a Boeing 777 offering Club, World Traveller Plus and World Traveller.

Colm Lacy, Head of Commercial Gatwick, said: “With everything from its incredible wildlife, rugged rainforests and volcanic peaks, as well as stunning beaches and – of course – world-famous coffee – Costa Rica offers an incredible array of places to visit and experience.

“Adding Costa Rica to our wide range of flights from Gatwick boosts our network and gives customers an even greater choice of diverse destinations. We’re very excited to have the opportunity to fly nonstop between London and San Jose and we’re sure this route will prove very popular.”

Mauricio Ventura, Costa Rica’s minister of tourism said: “British Airways’ new service from Costa Rica to the United Kingdom is wonderful news and demonstrates the success of our strategy to attract premium airlines to our country.

“In the last 12 months alone we have seen an increase of 12.9 per cent of tourists from the United Kingdom visiting Costa Rica, staying an average of two weeks, helping to make a valuable contribution to the Costa Rican economy.

“Europe is a priority market for Costa Rica. So the start of this new route by British Airways will help attract tourists from across Europe, and specifically from the United Kingdom, making it much easier for them to visit all the wonderful places Costa Rica has to offer modern holiday-makers.”

The announcement represents another endorsement of the airline’s business plan at Gatwick. This has released further investment at the site making the route addition possible through an eleventh long-haul 777 aircraft joining the Gatwick fleet.

During summer months the flights will operate on Wednesday and Saturday, departing from Gatwick at 11:55 and 11:00 respectively, arriving in San Jose at 15:45 and 14.50 respectively, with an average flying time of 10 hours and 50 minutes.

In winter, flights will operate on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, departing at 10:15 on a Tuesday and Saturday, arriving in to Costa Rica at 15:35, and departing at 11:25 on Thursday, arriving in to Costa Rica at 16:45. Flight times during the winter months will be 11 hours and 20 minutes.

Return fares start from £2,532 in Club World, £1,100 in World Traveller Plus, and £687 in World Traveller.

This will be the first time BA has flown to Costa Rica since the end of the 1990s.