The Guanacaste Airport (official name: Daniel Oduber Quiros International Airport) is the second most important airport in Costa Rica. Its location, near pristine beaches, national parks, and luxury resorts are making it the ideal airport to fly into if you are looking to maximize your Costa Rica vacation time. That’s why each year over one million travelers from all over the world choose Guanacaste Airport (LIR) as their entry point to Costa Rica.
Guanacaste Airport – General Information
Guanacaste Airport’s location
Guanacaste Airport is located in the heart of Costa Rica’s Guanacaste province, and here are some driving times and distances to places of interest for reference (see Liberia Airport Shuttle options):
Driving time: 15-20 minutes.
Distance: 13 Km
San Jose Costa Rica Airport (SJO)
Driving time: 3-4 hours.
Distance: 210 Km
Costa Rica-Nicaragua border
Driving time: 1:30-1:45 hours.
Distance: 89 Km
Costa Rica-Panama border
Driving time: 6-8 hours.
Distance: 454 Km
Several Names, One Airport
Guanacaste Airport’s official name is Aeropuerto Internacional Daniel Oduber Quiros. Its three-letter IATA code is LIR, and its four-letter ICAO code is MRLB. Most travelers use the key phrases “Liberia Costa Rica Airport” or “Liberia Airport Costa Rica” when searching for information about the airport. That’s because of its location near Liberia City, the capital of Guanacaste province.
You might also start seeing some companies refer to the Liberia Costa Rica Airport as the Guanacaste Airport. This is a marketing strategy to differentiate it from the country of Liberia in Africa, and its international airport. This airport, however, is located about 8200 km away from Liberia Costa Rica – a bit far from LIR Airport.
Guanacaste Airport’s administrative body
The private and commercial sector
The Costa Rica government awarded a 20-year commercial concession to CORIPORT S.A. to build and operate the new passengers terminal which was inaugurated in January 2012. With a 45% participation by Vinci Airports, CORIPORT S.A. will operate the terminal’s commercial real estate through the year 2030. If you would like to contact CORIPORT, you can call +506 2666-9600 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Government administrated sectors
DIGAC: Direccion General de Aviacion Civil (DIGAC) is in charge of runway and control tower operations at the airport. Direct questions about landing fees, tower operating hours, and airplane parking to the DIGAC. Call +506 2242-8000. Spanish and English spoken.
SVA: The Servicio de Vigilancia Aerea (SVA) is the airport’s police department. They man checkpoints before entering the departure gates. Terminal and runway perimeter security are dealt with by the SVA. In addition, they can make traffic stops.
DGME: Direccion General de Migracion y Extranjeria oversees immigration control at all entry points in Costa Rica. Hence, it is very important that you make sure you fulfill the entry requirements before traveling to Liberia Costa Rica.
SNA: Servicio Nacional de Aduanas (customs) deals with customs at the Liberia Airport. You will only be dealing with them if you bring an excess of $10,000 USD or cargo additional to your regular luggage.
Guanacaste Airport (LIR) vs San Jose Airport (SJO)
The two largest and busiest international airports in Costa Rica are Guanacaste Airport (LIR) and the San Jose Airport (SJO). And choosing which airport to fly into depends on many factors. But, which one is the best airport to fly into if you are traveling to Costa Rica? Here are a couple of recommendations based on the experienced of many travelers.
Guanacaste Airport Distance to the first destination
Travel time to your destination from the airport is an important factor. Especially if getting to Costa Rica will take the best part of a day or two. So try to choose the airport closest to your destination.
These are some of the closest destinations and hotels to Guanacaste Airport:
Airplane ticket price
Fares to San Jose Costa Rica Airport tend to be lower than fares to LIR Airport. Depending on where you are going, it might make sense to purchase the lower fare to SJO. But let’s take, for example, Tamarindo Beach as a destination and say you saved $300 USD over flying to LIR Airport.
But by the time you add transportation time and cost from SJO Airport to Tamarindo ($199 – $249 USD by private shuttle and about 4:30 hours), you can wipe out the savings in tickets and loose almost half a day at your destination. This does not take into account if your flight into SJO Airport arrives late and an overnight stay is necessary before heading to Tamarindo.
Ease of access
The Guanacaste Aiport is located in a rural area and access to and from the airport is fairly easy. SJO Airport, on the other hand, is located in the greater metropolitan area of Costa Rica’s capital city of San Jose. Getting to and from the SJO Airport can be quite tricky, especially during rush hour and during the rainy season. It is not unheard of to cover the 18Km separating SJO Airport from San Jose Downtown in as much as 2 hours.
About LIRairport.com and Guanacaste Airport
LIRAirport.com is a general information website about the Guanacaste Airport. We are not the official site for the airport and are not affiliated with any of its operators, private or governmental. The whole purpose of this site is to offer information about flying into Guanacaste Airport as well as guide travelers with procedures before arriving at, and departing from, the airport.