If you’re looking to rent a car at Liberia Airport, Costa Rica, then this guide will tell you everything you need to know. You’ll learn about the different car rental companies in Liberia Airport, what the pick up process is like and what to know about car rentals at Liberia Airport.
Liberia International Airport
Here is Liberia International Airport on Google Maps:
Liberia Airport is the main international airport in Guanacaste, Costa Rica. It’s the gateway to the Guanacaste province which is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in Costa Rica. If you’re visiting Gulf of Papagayo, Tamarindo, Conchal, Playas del Coco, Samara, Rincon de la Vieja, Liberia, Bijagua or Las Catalinas, this is the best airport to fly into.
Car Rental Liberia Airport Companies
Why do we recommend renting a car? Well, this area isn’t too developed so buses are not frequent. The only other method is a taxi or shuttles and those prices add up fast and it’s limiting, especially if you are an explorer! Guanacaste is still very rural so if you want to visit less touristic beaches and towns, a car is the best way to go. Luckily, there are a plethora of car rental companies in Liberia Airport so you don’t need to worry.
Here is a list of the car rental companies in Liberia Airport. You’ll see some familiar names on there from the large international companies and some local ones. All car rental companies in San Jose Airport are also in Liberia Airport.
- Adobe Rent a Car (You can read our Adobe car rental review. This is a local company and we have a partnership to give up to 20% discounts and extra benefits. In our opinion, the best car rental in Liberia, Costa Rica.)
- Economy, Advantage
- Vamos Car Rental (local and also very good)
- Enterprise, Alamo, National
- Poas (local, very good)
- Mapache (local)
- Budget, Apex
When you get to baggage claim, you will see on the left hand side a counter with car rental companies. Baggage claim is to the right of the duty free and currency exchange after immigration.
These are the companies that currently have a booth in Liberia Airport (as of January 2019). You can go up to them to see how much a car costs and rent one. I’ll talk more about this in a second.
- Budget, Apex
- Economy, Advantage
- Enterprise, National, Alamo
Car Rental Liberia Airport Costa Rica Pick Up
Now you’re probably wondering why don’t all car rental companies have a counter and why don’t they operate inside the airport. First, only certain companies have a counter because they pay for it (and it’s not cheap). Second, Liberia Airport is too small for the car rental companies to operate inside so you cannot receive your car directly at the airport. There isn’t a parking garage dedicated for car rentals in Liberia Airport like other major airports.
So for those of you who are wondering where you’ll get your car, this is how you will pick up your rental car in Liberia Airport.
- Once you exit customs (through the double doors where you cannot go back), you will be inside the airport check in area. Right through the glass doors straight ahead, you will see a group of people holding up signs. Go through the glass doors and look for the sign of the car rental company you booked with.
- The car rental company will then shuttle you to their airport office to pick up the car and complete paperwork. Some companies charge for this shuttle, some offer is complimentary. Adobe, the company we work with provides free shuttles to and from the airport when picking up and returning a car.
Car Rental Liberia Airport Costa Rica Pick Up Video
To help you feel more comfortable and secure about this process, here is a video we made of this pick up process with Adobe Rent a Car. It will be the same for other companies as well.
What to Know About This Pick Up Process
You will get a lot of people coming up to you asking if you want a taxi or car rental
Make sure you tell them no if you already booked a car beforehand. Some people may try to offer you a cheaper car if you tell them you already reserved a car. Some taxi drivers may tell you that you’re being ripped off and it’s cheaper to take taxis your whole trip. Or even offer to book it for you because they can get a cheaper price (You can read about other scams in Costa Rica to stay safe).
Ignore them and look for the agent wearing the company shirt and holding a sign with the company logo and your name on it.
If you booked a car at the baggage claim counters, then look for the car rental agent to get to the shuttle.
What happens if you don’t see your car rental agent
1. Find the airport help desk: If you checked out the whole group of people waiting outside and don’t see your company, go inside the airport and find the help desk. It’s near the arrivals area where the Kolbi and travel agency stands are. Ask the agent there (they all speak English) if they can help you find them or get their phone number.
2. Call them: If you already have the phone number, you can ask the help desk if they can call the agency for you or to borrow their phone if you don’t have a working phone.
Car rental companies usually have just 1 agent working so they may have slipped out to use the bathroom or are with other clients taking them to the shuttle. Make sure to go outside and look around the crowd.
Don’t ask the other car rental agents as they may try to mislead you. Some agents have been known to steal clients even if they already made a reservation.
For returning a rental car at Liberia Airport, it is the same process as pick up. You’ll drive to the office, drop off the car and the company will shuttle you to the airport.
If you have an early morning flight, like 7 AM, don’t worry! Adobe and most car rental companies start receiving cars around 4:45 AM. You can watch a video and get more information on this early morning return at Liberia Airport here.
Most companies do not allow clients to leave their car at Liberia Airport for return but it can used as a very last option. Make sure to organize your return with the company so that it is crystal clear.
Cost of Renting a Car Upon Arrival
First, we do not recommend renting a car at Liberia Airport upon arrival during high season (December – end of April). This is because there is no guarantee you can get a car and rates are generally more expensive.
This is especially true during our peak busiest times which are Christmas and New Years, Easter week (Semana Santa), July and August. Even people who try to book a car 2 weeks before these periods of time have a very difficult time finding one as cars go so fast!
If you are visiting in low tourism months such as May, September or October, you can rent upon arrival if you want to play it by ear. We still don’t recommend to do so because then you can’t comparison shop and check rates but it is not as risky as high season.
Adobe Rent a Car
With our partner Adobe Rent a Car, you can still get the Mytanfeet discount if you rent the day of. However, you must call them (18558611250 toll free or local at 506 2542-4800) and ask for the Mytanfeet rate when you are speaking with their agent.
You can also find the agent at the airport to go to their airport office to get a car. Again, make sure to ask them for the Mytanfeet discounted rate and extra benefits when you arrive at the office.
I checked with Budget and Economy. Their prices were about $100 more than what it is online in Sept, low season. It could be much more in high or peak season.
Furthermore, this is without the mandatory insurance. I will talk more about insurances in a minute because this is very important. You need to know what the insurance situation is like with Costa Rican car rentals.
One of the advantages of booking online beforehand is that you will be able to comparison shop and understand exactly what you will be paying for (including insurance). You will also get the best deal and be guaranteed a car when you land.
Important Things to Know About Renting a Car in Liberia Airport
It takes time
It takes about 30 minutes from when you get on the shuttle to the airport office to complete the paperwork and pick up the car. In high season, it can take longer since it is busy so it may take up to 1 hour. Please be patient during those times and if you don’t see the agent at the airport right away, call or find the help desk.
Booking with a company without a counter
If you want to book with a company that doesn’t have a counter, find the agent outside the airport and let him know. He will either bring you to the shuttle so you can go to their office to book a car or call their office to see if there is availability.
Credit card insurance letter
Ahh insurance. First, read our post about Costa Rica car rental insurance to find out what the big deal is. Basically, there is a mandatory insurance in Costa Rica that many of the international companies don’t offer upfront. So when you see on their website or a third party website/broker like Expedia or Orbitz that the car rental is super cheap, don’t believe it as they only display the car rental price, not all the insurances, fees and taxes.
You need to pay for the mandatory insurance which isn’t displayed. (This is one of the reasons why we partnered with Adobe because they are 100% transparent). They will charge you when you are the office picking up the car which can feel like a “scam” since they’re not upfront about it.
Additionally, if you have car rental insurance through your credit card, you can use it in Costa Rica. However, you need to bring a printed letter from your credit card company stating they will cover this insurance. (With Adobe, this insurance is called Car Protection).
Therefore, if you plan to rent a car in Liberia Airport and want to use your credit card car rental insurance, bring this printed letter in order to do so. Even if you show them your credit card, you can’t use it without the letter.
Save On Your Car Rental!
If you’re renting a car at Liberia Airport, make sure to get our Costa Rican car rental discount with Adobe Rent a Car. Mytanfeet readers get up to 20% off and extra benefits like 2 free drivers, free baby/booster seats, free cell phone, free cooler and much more.