The Liberia International Airport Travel Guide
The Liberia International Airport, originally known as the Daniel Oduber Quiros International Airport, is Costa Rica’s second main international airport. It is located just outside of Liberia City (11.5 kilometers) in the Guanacaste province. The Liberia International Airport has become a popular hub for those visiting the beautiful Pacific coast of Costa Rica. In order to accommodate all of its newly incoming visitors, the airport has undergone several changes listed throughout the guide below.
How to Know if you should fly into the LIR or SJO Airport
- If you are traveling to a Guanacaste destination like Hermosa, Coco, Tamarindo, Conchal, Flamingo, Grande, Avellanas, OCotal, Riu, Westin or Four Seasons, than the LIR Airport is the one for you. The Gulf of Papagayo and its beaches are twenty five minutes from the LIR and Tamarindo, Conchal, as well as Flamingo are 1 hour away.
- If you are traveling to Manuel Antonio, Puerto Viejo, San Jose, Jaco, Uvita, or Dominical, then the SJO airport will be closest.
- Travelers headed to Monteverde or La Fortuna can fly through either airport as these destinations are equal distance from each airport, about three hours.
About the Liberia International Airport
The Liberia International Airport is a small but complete airport full of food stands, souvenir shops, duty free stores, and car rental services. There is also an inside waiting area and small parking lot. Due to the airports small proximity, wait times are almost non-existent. There are currently 7 gates available for travels but several more are under constructions. As you search for airline tickets to Guanacaste, flights may be cheaper through the SJO Airport by up tp $200. While this may be true, once you land, it will be a five to six hour bus ride from San Jose to Liberia. Thus, it is worth spending an extra $100 - $200 dollars to save time and avoid this extra expense. The following airlines are presently flying into the LIR airport: United Airlines, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Delta Airlines, WestJet, JetBlue Airway, AVIANCA, KLM, SunWing, Swift Air, Air France, Air Canada, and Sun Country Airlines.
LIR Airport Transportation
Public Bus - Liberia hosts a public city bus the runs between the LIR airport and Liberia every hour from 5am to 9pm. The Liberia bus station can take you to the border, Playas del Coco, San Jose, and several other destinations for much cheaper than a taxi or shuttle. The only downside to this means of travel is that these buses are typically crowded with passengers and have longer wait times.
Airport Shuttle - Private shuttles can be booked outside of the LIR Airport. They are permissible to meet you at the airport after you land and can take you directly to your destination. This is a great option for those traveling in large groups.
Shared Shuttles - Shared shuttles are available upon request but they can not meet you at the airport. Unfortunately, they will have to pick you up down the street at the Hilton Garden Inn Hotel. Shuttle availability will depend on your destination but there are typically shuttles running daily to and from locations like Montezuma, Monteverde, La Fortuna, and Santa Teresa.
Taxis - Airport Taxis wait around the clock at the arrival gate for travelers in need of transportation. Just make sure to remember that taxis are the most expensive means of travel in Liberia and they charge even higher rates during the holidays. Make sure you only take rides from an official taxi, which will be marked in red and orange. Uber is currently unavailable in Liberia.
Car Rentals - Several car rental companies are located right inside the Liberia Airport. Companies like Hertz, Enterprise, Thrifty, Budget, and Alamo can be found within the baggage claim area. Keep in mind that the LIR airport is too small for rental car offices which means the car rental companies must take you to their airport office nearby to pick up your rental car. Some companies will bring the rental car straight to the airport parking lot for an additional fee.
Airport Hotel Accomodations
Unfortunately, there is only one hotel located close to the Liberia International Airport, the Hilton Garden Inn. Luckily, it offers a free shuttle from the Airport and is only a two minute drive away. There are a few other hotels available near the LIR but they are smaller and further away which means you will have to pay for a shuttle, bus, or taxi to take you there. Your cheapest option would be the Hotel Santa Ana.
Miscellaneous Airport Info
- There is no longer a $29 exit tax because it is now included in the cost of your airline ticket. However, you may want to double check tickets bought over one year ago.
- A Kolbi stand has been installed outside of customs. Here you can purchase a prepaid Costa Rica sim card.
- Be prepared with passport in hand as you travel through customs and immigration.
- It is highly recommended to arrive at least two hours early for all international flights.