Guanacaste Airport, Guanacaste

Start Your Vacation Off Right at the Guanacaste Airport

The Guanacaste Airport has gone by many different names in the past, including Liberia International Airport (LIR) and Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport.

Despite this, one thing hasn’t changed: it is the second largest and one of the most popular airports for international tourists entering the country, meaning it could be the first thing you see on your Costa Rica vacation.

Best Hotels in Guanacaste Airport
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The airport is located in Liberia, in the North Pacific Coast area that stretches along the northwestern coast of Costa Rica. With great access to beautiful beaches such as Tamarindo and Playa Conchal and picturesque national parks such as Santa Rosa National Park and Guanacaste National Park, as well as plenty of ways to travel across the country, the airport makes for a convenient and comfortable option for tourists looking to immerse themselves in an authentic atmosphere right off the bat.

If you want to make the most of your trip from the second you touch down to the moment you lift off, then come see why Guanacaste Airport is the perfect hub for those looking to explore the Pacific coast and northern reaches of the country. Start at the airport and jump off to explore all the nearby attractions as you find rest and relaxation in Costa Rica.

Airport Amenities Plus Nearby Attractions & Activities

Whether you’re looking for a convenient spot to eat or a way to pass the time waiting for your flight, there’s lots to do in and around this international airport!

Take advantage of its convenient onsite amenities, or explore the North Pacific Coast area for popular nearby attractions.

Airport Services

Guanacaste Airport is one of the busiest airports in Costa Rica, so its amenities are designed to help you relax and enjoy your vacation in peace. All travelers can feel safe knowing there are paramedic services on the premises, as well as a fire station.

To make your visit to the airport as smooth as possible, Guanacaste also offers many services for your convenience as well. Premium services offered at the Guanacaste Airport include secure luggage handling, fueling services, and technical services. If you need to withdraw money or exchange currency, there is an ATM as well as a bank onsite.

Clean restrooms are available for as you prepare to depart or after you arrive.

Where to Eat

After a long flight, it’s not uncommon for the first thing on your mind to be where you can get something to eat!

Luckily, you can grab a quick bite at the snack bar so you can continue on to enjoying the rest of your vacation without any delays.

If you have some time to spare before or after your flight, visit the café and bakery located inside the airport. Alternatively, head across the street to discover many different restaurants and even a brewery, all within walking distance. These local establishments are the perfect place to stop for a quick bite without the risk of missing your plane.

Nearby Tourist Destinations

One factor that makes Guanacaste Airport the airport of choice for many vacationers is its proximity to popular tourist attractions, especially those on the Northern Pacific Coast of Costa Rica.

The airport is situated perfectly to reach many of Costa Rica’s most famous beaches, including Playa Negra, Playa Grande, Playa Hermosa, and Playa Flamingo, as well as those located in the coastal town of Tamarindo.

You can also head to Papagayo Gulf, which is an especially popular tourism hub in Costa Rica. Tour its many beaches, and take beautiful photos of the natural landscapes. If you’re lucky, you might even spot orcas off the coast!

If you’re a nature buff, you’re sure to enjoy exploring Marino Las Baulas National Park, Guanacaste National Park, and Santa Rosa National Park.

Marino Las Baulas National Park is known for its population of sea turtles, Santa Rosa National Park features the intersection of 10 different natural habitats and plenty of space for camping, and Guanacaste National Park has a strong focus on showcasing local wildlife. All of these parks are easily and readily accessible from the Guanacaste Airport.

Explore the North Pacific Coast

The North Pacific Coast in which the Guanacaste Airport resides is an area of great natural beauty!

Gorgeous landscapes and an abundance of plants and wildlife make it one of the most stunning locations in Costa Rica, so it’s no surprise that it’s so popular with tourists arriving in the country despite being far less populated than areas to the southeast.

The other major airport in Costa Rica, San José’s Juan Santamaría International Airport (SJO)

is about 200 kilometers to the southeast. While you can get anywhere in the country from either airport through the use of shuttles and domestic flights, San José is closer to attractions on the southern end of the country, including Manuel Antonio and multiple wildlife refuges.

Consider which locations you’d prefer to visit first when planning your trip so you can pick the most convenient airport. Or plan to take one of dozens of domestic flights to another region of the country after you have explored the northern areas and cities of Costa Rica! It is common to catch a quick 20 or 30 minute flight to the airstrips of Samara, Tamarindo or Punta Islita.

Liberia

Guanacaste Airport is just a few miles southwest of the heart of Liberia, which is a common first stop for plenty of vacationers.

Immerse yourself in local culture with a visit to Guanacaste Museum, and enjoy food from local vendors selling copos (snow cones) and jugo de caña (sugar cane juice).

Many people who fly into Guanacaste want to stay nearby upon arrival during their first night. Liberia has plenty of excellent hotels, including the Cañon de la Vieja Lodge, which has its own pool and a view overlooking the canyon. Alternatively, you may prefer to stay at the Hotel Las Espuelas, Bar & Restaurant if you’re looking for a beautiful atmosphere with plenty of ties to tradition like gardens and hacienda-style architecture.

If you are looking for a trusted brand, the Hilton Garden Inn Liberia Airport is a great choice. It is just next to the airport making a 5 minute drive.

Liberia is also a convenient gateway to the gorgeous northern beaches and national parks that Costa Rica is so well-known for worldwide.

Landmarks in Guanacaste Province

The Guanacaste Province features some very unique landmarks which you can spot as you travel along winding hiking trails. Namely, the area is home to multiple volcanoes and waterfalls.

The Rincón de la Vieja Volcano in Rincón de la Vieja National Park is a real sight to behold even from a distance, with gorgeous waterfalls and forest backdrops for any photography enthusiast. Another inactive volcano in the area, Volcán Tenorio, also offers an opportunity to immerse yourself in nature and experience the beauty above in a truly special way.

Don’t forget to stop by the Santa Rosa National Park if you’re interested in learning a little more about Costa Rica’s past, specifically its military history. The park also includes warm and inviting beaches and a dry forest.

Guanacaste Airport Through the Years

Guanacaste Airport wasn’t always the airport it is today. In fact, it has gone by multiple names in the past, and undergone plenty of expansions as Costa Rica’s tourism industry has continued to boom, bringing more visitors to the country.

Creation of the Airport

Guanacaste Province’s airport was created in the mid-1970s in response to a rise in visitors to Costa Rica. Tourism was quickly becoming a significant source of revenue, and building an airport would help to bring even more people to the towns in the North Pacific Coast area.

Originally, the airport was called “Llano Grande,” or Large Flat, just like the geography of the area. It was later renamed “Aeropuerto Tomas Guardia,” which eventually became Daniel Oduber Quirós Airport. Quirós was the president at the time of the airport’s construction, so the name was devised as a way to celebrate and honor him.

Despite its many name changes, many locals and tourists alike simply referred to the airport as the Liberia International Airport, and it remained this way up until very recently when the name was officially changed to the Guanacaste Airport.

Expansion

As tourism continued to expand in Costa Rica, so too did its airports. Guanacaste Province’s airport became an official international airport in 1995, which came with renovations to the runway and more frequent flights. By 2007, the airport was getting almost 200,000 yearly visitors!

The airport was rebranded to its current name, Guanacaste Airport, in 2021. The change was made to promote the province and bring attention to Costa Rica’s long history of conservation and environmental consideration.

Flying to and from the Guanacaste Airport Today

As the second largest of the two international airports in Costa Rica, as of 2021, there are 25 worldwide airports with direct international flights into the airport. These airports are situated in four countries including the United States, Canada, the U.K. and Panama.

The busiest routes to and from the airport are located in the United States with Houston leading the way. Other locations like Atlanta, Miami, New York JFK and Los Angeles also offer flights in and out of the Guanacaste Airport on carriers such as Southwest, Delta, United and Alaska Airlines to name a few.

Flights can be found from the UK on TUI Airways from London Gatwick and seasonal flights can even be found from other European locations such as Amsterdam on KLM and Zurich on Edelweiss Air.

If arriving from Panama, Copa Airlines is your likely carrier and direct flights from Canada’s Toronto, Montreal and Calgary are possible as well on Air Canada and WestJet.

Domestically, Sansa Airlines flies to Nosara, Quepos, Tamarindo, the Juan Santamaría International Airport and more!

As always, flights, airlines and even destinations are subject to change so make sure to check directly with the carrier to book your next trip into the Guanacaste Airport.

Tips for a Hassle-Free Flight

Navigate the Guanacaste Airport with ease by following these handy tips.

Check Flying Regulations

There’s nothing worse than getting to the airport and having to ditch half of your luggage because it violates airport regulations.

Make sure to check that everything you pack is allowed on the plane or in your suitcase to avoid this scenario. Each airline has their own rules, and you can typically find them on the airline’s official website.

Getting Around in North Pacific Coast

There are plenty of ways to travel across Costa Rica once you’ve arrived at the airport. You can use a car rental and drive directly from the airport to your desired location.

Alternatively, you can hitch a ride on a shuttle, or if you’re planning on travelling to the other end of the country, hop on a domestic or charter flight as overland travel can be challenging and take much more time then estimated.

Make Use of the Airports Featured Amenities

Once you’ve collected your luggage and stepped out into the terminal, you’ll have full access to Guanacaste Airport’s many amenities and services.

These include not just the usual ones, like money exchange and places to eat, but also a small convenience store, cell phone services for sim cards, a pharmacy, and multiple stores where you can purchase everything from souvenirs to necessities. Many flyers pass these up, but they come in handy in a pinch, so take a moment to ensure you have everything you need before you start your vacation proper.

Guanacaste Escape Adventure Tour
7 Days / 6 Nights
Starting at $779 per person
Costa Rica Beach & National Park Tour
14 Days / 13 Nights
Starting at $1,726 per person
Costa Rica Eco-Adventure Tour
12 Days / 11 Nights or 10 Days / 9 Nights
Starting at $2,352 per person

Where to Stay near Guanacaste Airport

Featured Hotel
The Coast Beachfront Hotel
Starting at $150 / night
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Drift Away Eco Lodge
Starting at $90 / night
Featured Vacation Rental
Reserva Conchal Beach Resort, Golf & Spa
Starting at $202 / night
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Libelula Lounge & Lodgings
Starting at $65 / night

Things to Do near Guanacaste Airport

Featured Activity
Coyote Sportfishing Tamarindo
Starting at $475 / Day
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Del Mar Surf Camp - Nosara
Starting at $65 / person