Top 10 Liberia Airport Hacks

Located in northwest Guanacaste, Liberia Airport, or Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport, is one of two international airports in Costa Rica.  Chances are likely that if you’re headed to one of the Gold Coast towns, you’ll be doing so via LIR.  It’s a new airport, but there certainly are some quirks that have left many an otherwise happy traveler discontent on their departure day.  You can avoid frustration in paradise by learning from my experiences…  Enjoy, and please remember to leave any tips or advice you can share in the comments section below!

Liberia Airport Terminal
Small lines at the new Liberia Airport Terminal.

What do you mean Liberia Airport isn’t actually in Liberia?

Liberia Airport is actually located 14 km south of Liberia.  Not a big deal unless you unknowingly reserve a hotel in Liberia and need to pay $25 for a taxi!

Why pay if you can ride for free?

Chances are likely that if you have a late arriving flight or early departure, you’ll want to stay at the Garden Inn, across the street from the airport.  It’s the only hotel in the immediate area and provides free airport shuttles.

Would you prefer to stay at the beach or at an airport hotel?

Liberia Airport is located within 25 minutes of Playa Panama, Playa Hermosa, and Playas del Coco.  Rather than staying at an airport hotel, you can stay at the beach.  Who doesn’t want to enjoy a Pacific coast sunset on their last night in Costa Rica?

Avoid the $16 hamburger and $5 bottle of water…

Yup, you read that right…  There are no other options in the immediate area of the airport and the airport vendors know it.  Be prepared to pay $16 for a hamburger and small fries (no drink), $14 for a slice of pizza, or $5 for a small bottled water!  Avoid being blatantly ripped off by stopping at a restaurant and convenience store before arriving to the airport.  There are several restaurants including La Choza del Laurel, a German restaurant, and a small sandwich shop within a few kilometers of the airport entrance.  You’ll find a convenience store south of the airport in Communidad or north of the airport in Liberia.  Stock up with whatever you need ahead of time, but remember that you will not be permitted to bring drinks on the plane.

Why stand in line?

Many hotels in the area offer the option to pay the airport departure tax in the comfort of the hotel.  Sure, it costs a few extra bucks, but it beats standing in yet another airport line…

Avoid a stressful situation… Have your documents ready.

If you don’t have the option of paying your departure tax at the hotel, you will have to stand in line and pay for it at the airport.  Avoid a stressful situation by having your passport and flight documents ready before you get in line.

Save money and increase safety and comfort by avoiding taxis.

Unless you’re renting a car, you’ll need transportation from the airport to wherever you are headed.  Taxis are readily available at the airport, but for the same price, you can arrange a private transfer in a spacious and air conditioned tourism rated van, driven by a certified professional.  Of course you’ll need to arrange this in advance.  A few good companies to choose from include Ride CR, Jacamar, or EcoTrans.

Get two for one souvenirs!

Okay, so technically I don’t know of any great two for one specials.  But you will pay twice as much for souvenirs at the airport.  There is a big souvenir store a within a few minutes drive south of the airport.  You’ll also be contributing to the little guys that really need the money by buying souvenirs along the way.

Need a seat?

Liberia Airport is a nice, new facility, but they somehow forgot how many people it can accommodate.  During busier times, it can be difficult to find a seat.  Be prepared by wrapping a long sleeve sweatshirt around your waste or tuck it in your carry on.  While you may not need it, you’ll be happy you brought it to sit on if you do!

The coolest place in town (actually the only place)…

Just remember that it’s the only place in town.  Be prepared by eating, shopping, and buy bottled drinks ahead of time.  If you do, you’ll be one up on your fellow travelers, enjoy the coolest AC in town, and just may find Liberia Airport to be an enjoyable place to reflect on your trip before heading home.

Do you have your own Liberia tips or suggestions?  If so, please share in the comments section below.


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