There are currently two international airports in Costa Rica. The largest, Juan Santamaría Airport (SJO) in Alajuela, is located within the Central Valley region north of San José. The other airport, Daniel Oduber Airport (LIR) in Liberia, facilitates access to destinations in the northwestern Guanacaste region.
San Jose International Airport. Centrally located near Costa Rica’s bustling capital city of San Jose is SJO, the prime airport for tourists visiting the Central and Southwest regions of the country. It’s full official name is the Juan Santamaría International Airport. This airport provides easy access to nature, local culture, and beaches set on the south end of Costa Rica’s Pacific Ocean. It’s also about 30 mins away from a variety of accommodations from budget-friendly hostels to high-end resorts.
Liberia International Airport. Located in northern Costa Rica within the Guanacaste Province and near the Pacific Ocean is Liberia International Airport. (Also known as Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport.) “LIR” is the second main international airport in Costa Rica. It is situated right next to Liberia City. Just over an hour drive from some of the most picturesque and popular beaches in the country, Liberia is an excellent choice for those looking to soak up the sun with perfect surf breaks and miles of soft sand.
Both are fairly modern and efficient but are also operating well over their designed capacity. Your itinerary, interests, budget, timing and other factors will determine which is better or whether a combination of both is best.
Depending on where you’re headed one airport may be far superior to the other. For the Caribbean, Central Pacific and all of southern Costa Rica SJO is your best bet. If you’re headed to the beaches of Guanacaste you’ll want to fly into LIR.
Keep in mind, sometimes SJO may be closed due to volcanic ash. SJO may also be blockaded by taxi drivers protesting Uber, truck drivers protesting taxes, or even students protesting unisex bathrooms.