Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport or Liberia International Airport is the second main international airport in Costa Rica. It is in the Guanacaste province near Liberia city. Since the Guanacaste province has grown tremendously in popularity the past several years, the Liberia Airport has become the hub for those who want to visit the pristine Pacific coast of Costa Rica.
To accommodate all these new visitors, Guanacaste needed a more well constructed airport since it has not been updated since 1995. It under one major renovation in 2012 and is undergoing construction again in 2018 to expand the airport more.
In this guide, you’ll learn about the Liberia Airport.
This post has been updated March 2018.
Since it is less than an hour away from popular beaches and tourist attractions in Guanacaste, Liberia International Airport is the ideal landing spot for those wanting to visit the Pacific coast, the Guanacaste mountain corridor and the Nicoya Peninsula. The Liberia International Airport code is LIR.
Libera International Airport map
Liberia International Airport is 11.5 kilometers from Liberia, the capital city of the Guanacaste province. It’s 25 minutes from the Gulf of Papagayo beaches of Coco, Hermosa and Panama and 1 hour from Tamarindo. Flamingo and Conchal.
Should I Fly Into San Jose or Liberia Airport?
- If you’re going to Guanacaste (destinations like Conchal, Flamingo, Tamarindo, Avellanas, Grande, Coco, Hermosa, Ocotal, Riu, Four Seasons, Westin) then LIR Airport is the one you want to fly into as it is the closest.
- Going to Manuel Antonio, Jaco, Puerto Viejo, San Jose, Dominical, Uvita? Fly into SJO Airport as that is closest.
- If you’re going to La Fortuna or Monteverde, then you can fly to either airport because the driving time is the same for both airports, around 3 hours.
There are some pros and cons to flying to SJO and LIR Airport however.
San Jose International Airport is right by San Jose, the capital city of Costa Rica. This is where most of the country’s population lives and works so the traffic is terrible. It is a lot more hectic and stressful to drive in San Jose than Liberia. Liberia is in Guanacaste and it is super easy to drive there as there aren’t nearly as many people and the roads are well paved.
SJO Airport may be cheaper than LIR since Liberia is a much smaller airport so I would check for both airports first. When I visit my home in WA state, prices were around $200 more expensive to Liberia Airport to Seattle. Sometimes they still are depending on the time of year but luckily, more flights are opening up to LIR!
If you are planning to visit Guanacaste but flights are cheaper to SJO Airport, know that you will need to take either a 5-6 hour bus ride or drive around 4 hours to get from San Jose to Liberia. It may be worth spending that extra $100-200 to save time. There are buses from San Jose to Liberia every hour from 6 AM to 8 PM.
As for hotels, there aren’t many hotel options by Liberia Airport. There is only one, the Hilton, that has a free shuttle and is only a two minute drive away. The rest of the hotels are smaller and further away so you will have to pay for a shuttle or taxi.
About Liberia International Airport
This airport is not as busy as the Juan Santamaría International Airport (SJO) in San Jose but it is a full airport with a duty free store, car rentals, souvenir shops and some fast food stands. The airport also has a small parking lot and waiting area inside. It’s a small airport and waiting times are not super long because of this.
Liberia Airport Arrivals
Right now there are only 7 gates but they will be adding several more.
These are the airlines currently flying into LIR Airport. This is the list as of January 2018 and may not reflect current conditions.
- Alaska Airlines
- United Airlines
- Southwest Airlines
- American Airlines
- Delta Airlines
- JetBlue Airway
- Air France
- Swift Air
- Sun Country Airlines
- Air Canada
Liberia Airport Food, Shopping, Duty Free, Currency, Services
There are a couple of fast food places inside Liberia Airport and souvenir stores. Once you past security, you will see a large Britt Cafe souvenir shops, a jewelry store and an art gallery. There is also the duty free store inside Liberia International Airport that sells alcohol and normal duty free items.
For food, there isn’t a whole lot. There is a small cafe, a restaurant that sells sandwiches and typical Costa Rican food and a Quiznos.
There is a duty free and currency exchange right after you finish immigration. You will both places when you are at immigration.
Outside of customs, there is a Kolbi stand where you can purchase a prepaid sim card. There is also a ICT Costa Rican tourism board office where you can get free Costa Rica maps.
Transportation from Liberia Airport
Public bus: The Liberia public city bus between the airport and Liberia runs every hour on the hour from 5 AM to 9 PM. From the bus station in Liberia, you can take a bus to the border, San Jose, Playas del Coco and other destinations for cheaper than a shuttle or taxi. Downside to this is that the buses are usually very full, longer waiting times and longer bus rides. Read more about taking the bus in Costa Rica here.
Airport shuttle: You can book a private shuttle to meet you at LIR Airport. Private shuttles will meet you outside the airport when you land and take you directly to your destination. This is a good option if you’re not renting a car and coming in a large group.
Shared shuttles: You can also take shared shuttles but they can’t meet you directly at the airport. They will request you to go to the Hilton Garden Inn Hotel down the street for pick up. Depending on your destination, there are usually an AM and PM shared shuttle to places like La Fortuna, Monteverde, Montezuma, Santa Teresa, etc. You can read more about taking shuttles in Costa Rica here.
Taxis: There will always be airport taxis waiting outside the arrival gate if you want to take a taxi. Remember that taxis are going to be more expensive than shuttles and they can charge even higher rates for holidays. You will see red and orange taxis which are the official taxis. Unfortunately Uber is not in Liberia yet. Read about taking taxis in Costa Rica here.
Liberia Airport Car Rentals
If you are renting a car in Costa Rica, you will find all the car rental companies inside Liberia Airport. They will be in the baggage claim area and you can find companies like Alamo, Hertz, Budget, Enterprise, Thrifty and more. However, since LIR Airport is too small for the car rental offices, most companies will shuttle you to their airport office close by. Some companies will bring the car to the airport parking lot but there may be an extra fee for it.
We have a partnership with Adobe Rent a Car who has an office two minutes away from Liberia Airport to give up to 20% discounts and lots of extra benefits (free cooler, free local cell phone, free surf racks, etc.). You can check out our Costa Rica car rental discount here.
You can also watch in the video below the process of picking up the car from Liberia Airport. See what the airport looks like and if you’re renting a car with Adobe, what the process is to meet the team. (We highly recommend reserving a car in advance instead of booking at the airport since you will be able to research about the insurances, fees and taxes).
Liberia Airport Hotels
If you need a place to stay close to the airport, there is one hotel that is just across the road from the airport, the Hilton Garden Inn.
Although more expensive being the Hilton, it is the closest compared to others. For a cheaper option, check out Hotel Santa Ana further away but more budget friendly.
Want to read about other options? Click here to read our article for best hotels near Liberia Airport.
Other Important Information
- You no longer need to pay the $29 exit tax, it is included in many airline tickets. There is a board and payment office for you to check since some airlines (Canadian) have not included it yet. Make sure to check if you bought your ticket a long time ago too (more than 1 year).
- There is a Kolbi stand in the airport when you exit customs. You can buy a pre-paid Costa Rica sim card there.
- Find out what it’s like to go through customs and immigration in Costa Rica.
- We recommend arriving at least 2 hours early for an international flight.
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