Are you planning a trip and wondering where to fly into Costa Rica for vacation? With three international airports to choose from, it can be challenging to decide which one will best suit your travel plans. In this guide, we’ll take a closer look at the two main international airports in Costa Rica and the attractions and destinations closest to each one to help you make an informed decision.
International Airports in Costa Rica
The three main international airports in Costa Rica are Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO) and Daniel Oduber Quiros International Airport (LIR). Juan Santamaria International Airport is the largest and busiest airport in the country, located in the Alajuela province, near San Jose, the capital city of Costa Rica. Daniel Oduber Quiros International Airport is located in Liberia, the largest city in the Guanacaste region with a large variety of nearby beaches.
What’s the Best Airport in Costa Rica?
Both SJO (the closest airport to San Jose for practical purposes) and LIR are excellent airports to choose from when flying into Costa Rica. Here is a little more about each of them.
Juan Santamaria International Airport
Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO) is the most popular airport for travelers to Costa Rica, with a wide range of airlines offering direct flights from the United States, Canada, Europe, and other destinations. Major airlines that fly to Juan Santamaria International Airport include American Airlines, Delta, United, and Southwest. There are also plenty of domestic flights available from this airport to other destinations within Costa Rica.
How Far Away is the SJO Airport from Popular Destinations in Costa Rica?
While transit times in Costa Rica vary greatly based on weekday versus weekend, time of day, and extraneous circumstances, here are some estimated transit times to popular destinations to give you an idea of what to expect.
Time estimates are for cars/private buses.
SJO to downtown San Jose: 30 – 45 minutes
SJO to Arenal Volcano: 2.5 – 3 hours
SJO to Manuel Antonio: 3 – 3.5 hours
SJO to Monteverde: 2.5 – 3 hours
SJO to Liberia: 3.5 – 4.5 hours
SJO Airport Map Near San Jose, Costa Rica
Daniel Oduber International Airport
Daniel Oduber Quiros International Airport (LIR) is a good option for travelers who want to explore the beaches and national parks of the Guanacaste region. This airport has become increasingly popular in recent years, with many airlines now offering direct flights from major cities in the United States, such as Los Angeles, Dallas, and New York. Some of the airlines that fly to Daniel Oduber Quiros International Airport include Delta, United, American Airlines, and Southwest.
How Far Away is the Guanacaste Airport from Popular Destinations in Costa Rica?
LIR to Playa Hermosa: 30 – 45 minutes
LIR to Tamarindo: 1 – 1.5 hours
LIR to Arenal Volcano: 2.5 – 3 hours
LIR to Manuel Antonio: 4 – 4.5 hours
LIR to San Jose: 3.5 – 4.5 hours
LIR Airport Map Near Liberia, Costa Rica
Beaches Near the Liberia Airport in Costa Rica
The beaches near Liberia Airport Costa Rica are some of the most popular destinations for travelers to this region. Some of the top beaches near Liberia Airport include Playa del Coco, Playa Hermosa, Tamarindo, Playa Flamingo, and Playa Conchal. These beaches are known for their clear waters, white sand, and abundance of marine life, making them great spots for swimming, sunbathing, and snorkeling.
Conclusion: For Airports in Costa Rica, Should You Choose San Jose or Liberia?
If you are looking to explore the beaches and national parks in the northwest region of the country, flying into LIR would be the best option. If you are interested in exploring the central region of the country, including the capital city of San Jose and popular attractions like the Arenal Volcano and Monteverde Cloud Forest, flying into SJO would be the better choice. Regardless of which airport you choose, you are sure to have a memorable and enjoyable vacation in beautiful Costa Rica.