Costa Rica Airports

Table of contents

Aerial view of Arenal Volcano and Lake in Costa Rica, with the prominent conical volcano rising above surrounding landscapes and a reflective lake at its base, amidst scattered white clouds against a blue sky.

If you are planning some incredible Costa Rica vacations, we are sure you will be wondering a lot of things regarding the airline tickets you need and the Costa Rica airports that you will have to use. The picture above was taken from an airplane and you can see Arenal Volcano, located in the province of Alajuela, also next to the volcano is the famous Arenal Lake.

Along with practical questions, you might also be curious about the wildlife you’ll encounter. Want to know where to see Sloths in Costa Rica? Or perhaps you’re eager to try the local cuisine, including the iconic Casado Costa Rica Food.

As your best travel partner, has prepared this useful information about airports in Costa Rica.

Besides the two international airports that receive flights to Costa Rica from all over the world, there are different airstrips along the country where local airlines operate daily domestic flights to and from the most popular destinations, including areas near Costa Rica all inclusive resorts.

International Airports in Costa Rica

The two major airports in Costa Rica are Juan Santamaría International Airport located in Alajuela but the airport code says SJO and, Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport located in the city of Liberia, Costa Rica. Both receive international flights from Sansa Airlines, besides the local flights that also operate to and from both of them.

Costa Rica experienced a remarkable year in tourism in 2023, showcasing its enduring appeal as a global destination. Air arrivals reached an impressive 2,471,150, surpassing pre-pandemic levels and marking a 16.7% increase from 2022. This growth is attributed to effective destination promotion, efforts to restore air connectivity, and the public-private sector’s collaboration in providing exceptional experiences.

Key Highlights:

  • Record-Breaking Arrivals: 2023 saw a historic 2.47 million air arrivals, exceeding 2019’s pre-pandemic numbers.
  • December Surge: December 2023 witnessed an 18% increase in air arrivals compared to December 2022, with 281,095 visitors.
  • Guanacaste’s Popularity: Daniel Oduber Airport (LIR) in Guanacaste experienced a notable 28.5% surge in December arrivals compared to 2022.
  • North American Dominance: North America remained the primary source of tourists, with 1.76 million arrivals, led by the United States (1.43 million).
  • European Growth: Europe contributed to the success with a 5.1% increase in arrivals, reaching 432,000, driven by strong performances from France, Germany, and the Netherlands.

Most tourists visit Costa Rica for personal reasons, predominantly for vacations, leisure, and recreation, accounting for about 74% to 80% of visitors in recent years. This highlights Costa Rica’s appeal as a prime tourist destination for relaxation in a natural setting. A smaller but significant portion of visitors come for business and professional reasons, including conferences and meetings, showing Costa Rica’s role not only as a leisure hotspot but also as a hub for professional gatherings.

Overall, Costa Rica’s tourism industry is thriving, demonstrating its resilience and strong appeal to international travelers.

San José Costa Rica Airport: Juan Santamaría

Juan Santamaría International Airport, San José, Costa Rica

San José Costa Rica Airport Code: SJO

Located in the city of Alajuela, in the Central Valley region, this is the oldest and largest Costa Rica Airport. Although its code is SJO means San José, it is not specifically located in San José downtown, but it is between 30-45 minutes from the main San José Costa Rica hotels.

Juan Santamaría International Airport (SJO) is Costa Rica’s primary gateway, named in honor of the national hero who bravely defended the country’s independence. Strategically located near Alajuela, this major airport handles a significant volume of passenger traffic and serves as a hub for several regional airlines like Avianca Costa Rica and Volaris Costa Rica.

While Liberia’s airport offers an alternative, SJO remains unique with its direct connections to South American and Caribbean destinations. Getting to SJO is convenient with various transport options: frequent buses to San José, licensed taxis (both red and orange), and easy access from Route 1 for drivers.

Why Choose San José Airport Costa Rica (SJO)?

  • Diverse Destinations: Explore North America, Central America, South America, and Europe with direct connections from SJO.
  • Airline Variety: Choose from major international airlines to budget-friendly and regional carriers, finding the best fit for your needs.
  • Seasonal Options: Discover additional routes and exciting destinations offered during peak travel seasons.

Transportation Services at SJO

SJO offers a variety of transportation options to suit your needs and budget:


Official Airport Taxis: For safety and reliability, look for licensed orange airport taxis. They operate 24/7 and generally accept both colónes and U.S. dollars.
Red Taxis: These are standard Costa Rican taxis, also readily available. They have yellow triangles on the doors.
Ride-Hailing: Apps like Uber function in Costa Rica and operate from SJO, offering potential savings compared to traditional taxis.


On-Site Agencies: Several major rental car companies have offices at SJO, providing convenient pre-booking and pick-up options. Check if your hotel or destination offers a shuttle service to the rental agency.
Driving Considerations: Familiarize yourself with Costa Rican driving laws and road conditions before opting for a rental. We recommend to download Waze App for driving around the Costa Rica for a better experience, avoid using Google Maps.

Public Transportation Buses

TUASA Bus Route: This is the most affordable option connecting SJO to downtown San José. Buses run frequently (approximately every 10 minutes during work hours) and offer 24-hour service.
Directions: The bus stop is located right outside the airport, easily accessible on foot.
Important: Bus schedules are less fixed on weekends and holidays, factor that into your travel plans.

Parking at Juan Santamaría International Airport (SJO)

SJO provides convenient parking for travelers, located right next to the terminal building for easy access. The 400-space lot operates 24/7 and features two levels:

  • Upper Level (Open-Air): Ideal for departing passengers.
  • Lower Level (Covered): Recommended for arriving passengers.
  • Accessibility: Both levels are designed for travelers with reduced mobility, offering ramps, escalators, and elevators.
  • Security: Peace of mind with a surveillance camera system to protect your vehicle.

Payment & Rates:

Flexible payment options include electronic equipment and cashiers. Important: Remember to pay before boarding your vehicle.

Hourly: US $2.48
Daily: US $35.00
Weekly: US $200.00

Helpful Tips:

  • The choice of parking level depends on whether you’re departing or arriving, making your trip smoother.
  • Accessibility features demonstrate SJO’s commitment to inclusivity.
  • Clear rate information helps you budget your trip effectively.

VIP Lounges at Juan Santamaría International Airport (SJO)

Escape the hustle and bustle of the airport and enjoy elevated comfort in one of SJO’s VIP lounges:

BAC Credomatic

  • Location: Upper level, boarding gate 19.
  • Amenities: Extensive food options (meals, snacks), unlimited beverages, WiFi, children’s play area, relaxing massage chairs, workspaces, and panoramic runway views.
  • Hours: 4:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. daily.
  • Contact: +(506) 4703-6882, [email protected]

VIP Santamaría

  • Location: Upper level, boarding gate 5.
  • Amenities: Coffee/tea station, complimentary drinks, snacks, self-service food options, a la carte dining (extra charge), AMEX RCP premium benefits, WiFi, TV, and reading materials.
  • Hours: 4:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. daily.
  • Contact: 2442-9192 / 2442-8786, [email protected]
  • Access:
    • Select airline passengers (Copa, Star Alliance)
    • Cardholders (Scotiabank, Promerica, Davivienda, Lafise, Improsa, BCT, Priority pass and Cafsa).
    • INS medical
    • MasterCard Black (Central America)
    • General public ($31.64 daily fee)

Special Assistance

Juan Santamaría International Airport (SJO) prioritizes the comfort and accessibility of all travelers. Available special assistance services include:

  • Authorized porters: To assist with luggage and transportation within the airport.
  • Wheelchairs: Ensuring mobility for those who need them.
  • Lifts: To facilitate access to different airport levels.
  • Luggage carts: For convenient baggage transport.
  • Expertise: SJO’s dedicated AERIS personnel provide guidance and support at information booths, demonstrating their commitment to passenger well-being.

Important Note: Travelers seeking luggage lockers should be aware that SJO currently doesn’t offer this service. Contacting your airline directly is recommended for any additional special assistance requirements.

Entry and Exit with Animals

Travelers bringing pets into or out of Costa Rica must adhere to strict regulations:

International Health Certificate: This mandatory document must be issued and signed by an official veterinary authority in your country of origin.
SENASA: Costa Rica’s National Animal Health Service (SENASA) is the governing body for all animal import/export procedures. Contact them for specific guidelines and requirements (
Airline Policies: Always consult your airline regarding their specific pet transport policies, fees, and in-flight logistics.

Flight Options to San José Airport Costa Rica: Airlines and Destinations

Juan Santamaría International Airport (SJO) is your gateway to the vibrant beauty of Costa Rica. Whether you dream of lush rainforests, stunning beaches, or bustling city life, SJO connects you to it all. Our comprehensive table details the airlines and destinations served from this major Central American hub, making it easier for you to plan your perfect getaway.

AeroméxicoMexico City
Air CanadaMontréal–Trudeau, Toronto–Pearson
Air FranceParis–Charles de Gaulle
Air TransatSeasonal: Montréal–Trudeau, Toronto–Pearson
Alaska AirlinesLos Angeles
American AirlinesCharlotte, Dallas/Fort Worth, Miami
ArajetSanto Domingo–Las Américas
Costa Rica
Bogotá, Cancún, Cartagena, Guatemala City, Managua (suspended), Medellín–JMC, Mexico City, New York–JFK, Panama City–Tocumen (suspended), Quito, San Salvador, Washington–Dulles
Seasonal: Chicago–O’Hare, San Pedro Sula
Avianca El SalvadorSan Salvador
British AirwaysSeasonal: London–Gatwick
Copa AirlinesGuatemala City, Managua, Panama City–Tocumen
Costa Rica Green AirwaysQuepos, Tambor
Delta Air LinesAtlanta, Los Angeles
Edelweiss AirZürich
Frontier AirlinesAtlanta
Seasonal: Miami
JetBlueFort Lauderdale, New York–JFK, Orlando
KLMSeasonal: Amsterdam
LATAMPerú, Lima
Sansa AirlinesCosta Esmeralda, Coto 47, Drake Bay, Golfito, La Fortuna/San Carlos, Liberia (CR), Limón, Nosara Beach, Palmar Sur, Pérez Zeledón, Puerto Jiménez, Quepos, Tamarindo, Tambor, Tortuguero
Southwest AirlinesBaltimore, Houston–Hobby, Orlando (begins June 4, 2024)
Seasonal: Denver
Spirit AirlinesFort Lauderdale, Houston–Intercontinental, Orlando
United AirlinesHouston–Intercontinental, Newark
Seasonal: Chicago–O’Hare, Denver, Los Angeles, Washington–Dulles
Costa Rica
Bogotá, Cancún, Guatemala City, Lima, Mexico City, New York–JFK, Washington–Dulles
VolarisEl Salvador, San Salvador (begins July 2, 2024)
WingoBogotá, Panama City–Balboa
Updated on April 16th, 2024. Taken from wiki.

Daniel Oduber International Airport in Liberia, Guanacaste – Costa Rica

Daniel Oduber International Airport,Liberia, Costa Rica

Liberia Costa Rica Airport Code: LIR

Named in honor of former Costa Rican president Daniel Oduber Quirós, Liberia international airport serves as the primary gateway to Costa Rica’s breathtaking Guanacaste province.

Strategically located in the Northern Pacific region of the country, this is the closest International Airport to Guanacaste, or let’s say Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport is located in Liberia, Guanacaste province of Costa Rica.

LIR puts you within easy reach of world-famous beaches, lush rainforests, active volcanoes, and the rich cultural heritage of northwestern Costa Rica.

This modern airport serves as the perfect entry point for exploring the sun-drenched beaches, is just 30 minutes away from Papagayo Gulf where there are located some of the most important Guanacaste hotels, and Costa Rica resorts in general terms, like the Four Seasons Resort and El Mangroove. It is also located at 45 minutes approximately from other all-inclusive Costa Rica resorts like Occidental Tamarindo – All Inclusive, Secrets Papagayo Costa Rica and The Westin Reserva Conchal, an All-Inclusive Golf Resort & Spa.

Keep reading this guide and below you’ll be find a list of airlines with flights to Daniel Oduber International Airport in Liberia. According to the Costa Rica Tourism Board, as everyday more and more people are using this airport in Costa Rica, the frequency of flights coming from United States, Canada and Europe is growing and also there’s few seasonal option that airlines opens during high peak season.

Why Choose Liberia Costa Rica Airport (LIR)?

  • Time-Saving Choice: If your primary destination is in Guanacaste, flying into LIR can save significant travel time compared to landing in San José and then traveling overland. Enjoy more vacation time with this convenient choice!
  • Modern and Efficient: Liberia LIR airport’s recent expansion provides a modern and comfortable travel experience. You’ll find well-equipped facilities, making your arrival and departure seamless.
  • Tourist-Friendly: The Guanacaste region is renowned for its well-developed tourism infrastructure. Expect a wide range of accommodation options, tour operators, restaurants, and activities catering to international visitors.
  • Gateway to Paradise: LIR is the ideal entry point for exploring Costa Rica’s stunning Guanacaste region, also the Volcán Arenal Area and Monteverde are destinations closer to Liberia Costa Rica airport.

Landing in Liberia Costa Rica: Transportation

Daniel Oduber International Airport offers a variety of transportation options to suit your budget, travel style, and desired level of convenience. Here’s a breakdown of the services available:

Private Transportation

Advantages: Door-to-door service, customized schedules, comfort, privacy, luggage assistance, helpful local knowledge from drivers.
Ideal for: Families, groups, those prioritizing convenience, or travelers heading to destinations less accessible by public transportation.
How to book: With us, Travel Excellence offers top Costa Rica experience. Contact Us.

Shared Shuttles

Advantages: More cost-effective than private transfers, convenient for some destinations.
Considerations: Limited destinations served, potential wait times at the airport, luggage restrictions.
Best for: Budget-minded travelers heading to popular tourist spots served by shuttles.
How to book: Letting Travel Excellence help you with all the arrangements for your trip, yes we can book your shuttle bus. Contact Us.

Rent A Cars

Freedom to Explore: Gives you the most flexibility to explore Costa Rica at your own pace.
Important: Be aware of road conditions, driving laws, and the importance of booking with a reputable company. Have necessary documents ready, driver license up-to-date, recommended to pay a full coverage insurance, just for peace of mind.
Resources: Another service we offer at Travel Excellence, we work with the best rental companies in Costa Rica. Contact Us.


At the Airport: Look for the official airport taxi stand (authorized taxis are typically orange).
Important: Negotiate your fare before entering the taxi to avoid misunderstandings.
Considerations: May not always have air-conditioning or large vehicles for lots of luggage.

Public Bus

Most Affordable: Connects the airport to Liberia city and some surrounding towns.
Considerations: May be crowded, lack air conditioning, not always ideal for large luggage, schedules can be less fixed on weekends/holidays.
Best for: Adventurous travelers on a tight budget, heading to destinations with easy bus connections.

Extra Expertise and Travel Tips

Uber: Rideshare services like Uber operate from LIR.
Language: Knowing some basic Spanish phrases can be helpful, especially when using public transit.

Restaurants and Stores at LIR Airport Costa Rica

Whether you’re catching an early flight or savoring the last moments of your Costa Rican adventure, LIR offers a selection of eateries and shops to keep you fueled and entertained.


  • Flor de Caña: Enjoy the taste of Nicaragua with Flor de Caña’s selection of premium rum and a menu of satisfying dishes.
  • Ice Cream Factory: Cool down with a sweet treat! Find familiar ice cream flavors and refreshing options.
  • Green: Opt for healthier choices with salads, wraps, and nourishing fare for a quick bite.
  • Café Players: This lively spot offers casual dining with sandwiches, snacks, and beverages to satisfy cravings.
  • Café Bakery: Grab a freshly brewed coffee, pastry, or light snack for a quick energy boost.
  • Bar Imperial: Unwind with an ice-cold beer or favorite cocktail before your flight.


  • Travel Market: Your go-to stop for last-minute travel needs, snacks, drinks, and souvenirs.
  • 24/7 Grab & Go: Find those forgotten essentials and quick snacks at any time.
  • Blue Zone: Treat yourself to beautiful locally-inspired souvenirs and unique gifts reflecting Costa Rican culture.
  • Britt Shop: Discover Costa Rica’s famous coffee, chocolates, and a wide selection of gourmet treats.
  • Casa Tica: Shop for authentic Costa Rican crafts and handmade items that make perfect keepsakes.
  • Emprende 506: Support local artisans and browse through their selection of unique Costa Rican goods.
  • Plug In: Get all your electronics, gadgets, and travel accessories conveniently in one location.
  • Rumbo Pura Vida Guanacaste: Find beachwear, Guanacaste-specific souvenirs, and apparel celebrating the region.
  • Terra Tica: Celebrate Costa Rican art with beautiful paintings, sculptures, and distinctive art pieces.
  • Terra Verde: Pamper yourself with natural beauty products and eco-friendly wellness items.
  • Whoops: Pick up playful souvenirs, toys, and fun accessories for the whole family.
  • XPLORA: Discover outdoor apparel, adventure gear, and accessories designed for your Costa Rican explorations.

Expertise and Helpful Insights

Local Flavor: Several shops highlight Costa Rican artists, craftsmanship, and gourmet products, allowing you to bring a piece of the country home.
Variety: The selection caters to various needs, from necessities to unique gifts.
Duty-Free: Look out for duty-free options, potentially offering savings on certain items.

Additional Tips:

Prices: Expect airport pricing, which may be slightly higher than outside the airport.
Hours: Confirm store and restaurant hours, as some may have limited schedules.

Liberia Airport VIP Lounge

Escape the bustle of Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport (LIR) before your flight in the welcoming atmosphere of the Liberia VIP Lounge. This airside oasis offers a relaxing space where you can refresh, enjoy amenities, and savor the essence of Costa Rica.

Key Details for Your Visit

Clear Opening Hours: To ensure a smooth visit, note the lounge’s hours:

  • Monday: 08:00 – 14:00
  • Tuesday: 08:00 – 16:00
  • Wednesday: 08:00 – 15:00
  • Thursday: 08:00 – 16:00
  • Friday: 08:00 – 16:00
  • Saturday: 06:00 – 16:00
  • Sunday: 05:30 – 16:00

Location: After security and passport control, take the escalator up. The lounge is on your left.
Age Policy: Children under 10 enter for free. Alcoholic beverages are for those 18 and
Note: Services may be occasionally reduced due to precautions.

What to Expect in the Liberia VIP Lounge Access

Recharge and Relax: Find comfortable seating, air conditioning, and refreshments for a comfortable wait.
Stay Connected: Utilize Wi-Fi and flight monitors to stay informed and productive.
Local Touch: Experience a taste of Costa Rica’s friendly service and welcoming spirit.
Practical Amenities: The lounge offers, TV, refreshments, air conditioning, alcohol beverages, Newspapers/Magazines, digital card accepted and access for persons with disabilities.
Important Reminder: It’s always wise to have your boarding pass ready and be aware of how much time it might take to re-clear security when leaving the lounge.

Expertise and Helpful Tips

Confirm Lounge Access: Check with your airline, card issuer, or lounge membership program for eligibility.
Arrive Early: Especially during peak travel times, allow yourself time to enjoy the lounge’s amenities before your flight.

Find Your Ideal Flight to Daniel Oduber Airport (LIR) in Costa Rica

Planning a trip to Costa Rica’s breathtaking Guanacaste region? The following table details all airlines offering flights to Liberia Costa Rica, specifically for Daniel Oduber Airport Costa Rica (LIR). Explore options for flights to Costa Rica from LAX, discover seasonal routes, and search for flights into Costa Rica from hubs like JFK to Costa Rica.

Air CanadaToronto–Pearson
Seasonal: Montréal–Trudeau
Air TransatMontréal–Trudeau
Seasonal: Toronto–Pearson
Alaska AirlinesLos Angeles
American AirlinesCharlotte, Dallas/Fort Worth, Miami
Seasonal: Chicago–O’Hare, New York–JFK
Delta Air LinesAtlanta, Los Angeles
Seasonal: Minneapolis/St. Paul
Edelweiss AirSeasonal: Zurich
JetBlueLos Angeles (ends June 13, 2024), New York–JFK
Seasonal: Boston
Sansa AirlinesNosara, Quepos, San José–Juan Santamaría, Tamarindo, Tambor
Southwest AirlinesDenver, Houston–Hobby
Seasonal: Baltimore
Sun Country AirlinesSeasonal: Dallas/Fort Worth, Minneapolis/St. Paul
Sunwing AirlinesToronto–Pearson
Seasonal: Calgary, Edmonton, Montréal–Trudeau
TUI AirwaysSeasonal: London–Gatwick
United AirlinesHouston–Intercontinental
Seasonal: Chicago–O’Hare, Denver, Los Angeles, Newark, San Francisco
Seasonal: Calgary
Updated on April 16th, 2024. Taken from wiki.

Domestic Flights within Costa Rica (Local Internal Flights)

Domestic flights reduce the travel time to some tourist destinations and gives you the opportunity of spending more time enjoying the attractions of the country.

From San José Costa Rica, driving to Quepos to experience the wildlife of Manuel Antonio National Park will take 3 hours approximately, while flying takes 25 minutes; driving to Fortuna Costa Rica to relax in the Arenal Volcano hot springs will take 4 hours approximately, while flying will take 30 minutes; and driving to Tamarindo to spend a sunny weekend at the beach will take 5 hours approximately, while flying takes 45 minutes.

As you can see, internal domestic flights are very helpful if you have a short stay while vacationing in Costa Rica and you want to optimize timings or if you don’t like road trips. All airstrips along the country have basic services like bathrooms and some of them have offices of the local airlines with air conditioned and mini shops. Also, in some airstrips you will have to pay a fee arriving or departing the destination of not more than $7 per person.

Top Destination Airstrips in Costa Rica

Here you can find a list of the Top Costa Rica destinations and the details of their respective airstrips:

DestinationAirstrip CodeDriving TimeFlying Time
San José – QueposXQP3 hrs25 minutes
San José – TamarindoTNO3 hrs45 minutes
San José – Drake BayDRK8 hrs45 minutes
San José – ArenalFON3:30 hrs25 minutes
San José – Puerto JiménezPJM8 hrs50 minutes
San José – GolfitoGLF7 hrs50 minutes
San José – Punta IslitaPBP6 hrs35 minutes
San José – NosaraNOB5 hrs35 minutes
San José – Palmar SurPMZ5 hrs40 minutes
San José – TortugueroTTQ5 hrs25 minutes
San José – TamborTMU5 hrs25 minutes

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