Costa RicaCosta Rica

natureair closeup
 - Costa Rica

Liberia International Airport

Liberia International Airport

Liberia's Daniel Oduber Quiros International Airport (airport code: LIR) is northern Costa Rica's international airport, and a major transit point for tourists heading to the Guanacaste beaches of Papagayo, Playa del Coco, Tamarindo, Samara, and other hotspots. In 2012, the airport inaugurated a $40 million, two-level terminal that is capable of handling up to 1,500 travelers per hour.

The Liberia airport is currently served by Air Berlin, Air Canada, American Airlines, Continental, Copa, Delta, Frontier, Jetairfly, JetBlue, Taca, United Airlines, US Airways, and several charter companies including Air Transat, Arkefly, Jazz Air, Sun Country, Sunwing, Thomson, and West Jet. Costa Rica's regional airlines Sansa and Nature Air also fly here.

The newly expanded airport features retail space and a convenience shop, as well as four stores that sell souvenirs, books, Costa Rican coffee, and other staples. For a $25 fee, passengers can relax in the Colibri Lounge, a comfortable VIP area that offers a quiet waiting area with free snacks, a tapas bar, WiFi, and a kid's activity corner.

Airport shuttles depart regularly for the popular beaches of Tamarindo, Ocotal, Playa del Coco, and Papagayo, and destinations farther afield such as Manuel Antonio, Arenal, and Monteverde. Shuttles typically charge $70-$450 per ride, depending on destination and number of passengers. Taxis are available at all times, and have rates comparable to airport shuttles.

Navigating the Airport

When you land in Liberia, you must first pass through Immigration. Most officials are friendly and speak some basic English. The Immigration officer will review your arrival form, swipe your passport, and stamp your passport with a tourist entrance stamp; most Americans, Canadians and Europeans are granted a 90-day stay.

Next, head to baggage claim to retrieve your luggage. Near baggage claim, you'll see areas for currency exchange, hotel and tour company flyers, car rentals kiosks, and airport shuttles. Note that taxi drivers and shuttles will accept U.S. dollars, so you don't have to change money at the airport. You'll receive a much more favorable rate at a local bank.

Be sure to have your Customs declaration form filled out accurately; simply hand it to the Customs official, feed your bags through the x-ray machine, and you'll be on your way. Hotel pickups, shuttles, and private drivers wait outside the arrivals terminal; simply look for your party's name on their placards.