Costa Rica International Airports – A simple guide

Costa Rica’s international airports can be a bit confusing. With two official international gateways and several local options, it’s important to understand the similarities and differences between them. This knowledge will help you decide which airport is best for your travel itinerary.


Costa Rica International Airports

Most visitors to Costa Rica arrive by air at one of the country’s international airports, which play a crucial role in both regional tourism and business. Familiarizing yourself with the layout and operations of these airports can significantly improve the efficiency and ease of your arrival and departure.

Costa Rica is home to two major international airports: Juan Santamaría International Airport, nestled in the Central Valley, and Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport, located in the Guanacaste province in the North Pacific region.

These airports provide a wide array of services for travelers, such as transportation options, currency exchange, and dining facilities. Each airport boasts its own distinctive features and attractions, making them both well worth a visit.


Let’s explore the details of each international airports of Costa Rica:


1. Juan Santamaría International Airport (SJO):

Situated in Alajuela, just outside the capital city of San José, Juan Santamaría International Airport stands as the largest and busiest airport in Costa Rica. Named after a national hero, this airport serves as the primary entry point for international visitors to the country. SJO offers a range of amenities and services, including duty-free stores, restaurants, vehicle rental companies, and transportation options to various destinations across Costa Rica.

Costa Rica International Airports

2. Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport (LIR)

This is situated in Liberia, Guanacaste, and ranks as the second busiest airport in Costa Rica. It primarily caters to the renowned tourist destination of Guanacaste, celebrated for its breathtaking beaches, national parks, and upscale resorts like the Four Seasons and W. Hilton. The airport has undergone substantial growth in recent years, mirroring the escalating appeal of this region to international travelers. For further details, please visit their official website at

Costa Rica International Airports
Coming from:


Costa Rica’s primary international airport, Juan Santamaría International Airport (SJO), is located in Alajuela, near the capital city of San José. Let’s delve quickly into the history of Juan Santamaría International Airport:

1. Historical Background:

Established in 1958, the airport was dedicated to Juan Santamaría, a revered national hero of Costa Rica. Over the years, the airport has undergone numerous renovations and expansions to cater to the increasing number of travelers.

2. Facilities

San Jose International Airport (SJO) provides a variety of facilities and services to ensure a comfortable travel experience for passengers. These include:

  • Duty-free shops that offer a wide range of products, such as souvenirs, local crafts, clothing, and electronics.
  • There are several restaurants and cafes that serve both local and international cuisine, as well as coffee shops for a quick caffeine fix.
  • Car rental agencies are also conveniently located within the airport premises to provide transportation options for travelers.
  • Currency exchange services to facilitate currency conversion for international visitors.
  • For passengers looking for a more exclusive and comfortable waiting area, the airport provides VIP lounges. Wi-Fi access is available throughout the airport so that passengers can stay connected during their travels. Lastly, information desks staffed with multilingual personnel are available to assist passengers with inquiries and travel information.

3. Airlines and Destinations:

Juan Santamaría International Airport is a major aviation hub in Costa Rica that offers connections to various domestic and international destinations. American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, Copa Airlines, Avianca, and Southwest Airlines are just a few of the well-known airlines that fly there. Travelers can fly to destinations across North America, Central America, South America, and Europe from this airport.

4. Transportation:

The airport provides multiple transportation options to connect visitors to San José and other major tourist locations in Costa Rica.

These include taxis, private and shared shuttle services, rental cars, and public buses.

  • Taxis are readily available outside the airport terminals for easy transportation to different parts of the country.
  • Uber app is available in Costa Rica.
  • Shuttle services are available for popular tourist destinations.
  • Several car rental companies have counters at the airport, allowing passengers to rent vehicles for their travels.
  • Public buses also serve the airport, providing an affordable transportation option for budget-conscious travelers.

5. Expansion Projects:

In recent years, Juan Santamaría International Airport has undergone expansion projects to accommodate the growing number of passengers and improve the overall travel experience for visitors to Costa Rica. These projects aim to enhance the airport’s infrastructure and capacity.

Overall, Juan Santamaría International Airport serves as a crucial gateway for international travelers visiting Costa Rica.

Guanacaste International Airports

Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport, also known as LIR, is a significant transportation hub in Costa Rica, located in Liberia, Guanacaste. It serves the lively tourism region of Guanacaste, and here’s an overview of the airport:

1. History:

The airport was named after Daniel Oduber Quirós, a former president of Costa Rica, and opened in 1995. Since then, it has played a crucial role in connecting Guanacaste to both domestic and international destinations.

2. Facilities and Services:

LIR offers a variety of facilities and services to cater to the needs of travelers, including modern terminal buildings with amenities such as restaurants, shops, and car rental agencies. There are also VIP lounges for premium passengers seeking a more exclusive and comfortable travel experience. Duty-free shopping options are available for passengers who want to purchase souvenirs and gifts. Currency exchange services are provided for convenient currency conversion, and Wi-Fi access is available throughout the airport to keep passengers connected during their journey.

3. Airlines and Destinations:

Guanacaste International Airport has many airlines that offer flights to both domestic and international destinations. Airlines such as Southwest Airlines, United Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and Air Canada provide connections to cities in the United States, Canada, and beyond. Popular destinations include major hubs such as Houston, Dallas, Los Angeles, Toronto, and more.

4. Transportation:

The airport is well-connected to the surrounding areas of Guanacaste through various transportation options, including taxis, private shuttle services, shared shuttles, car rental agencies, and public buses.

  • Taxis are readily available outside the terminal building for passengers who need transportation to their final destinations.
  • Car rental agencies have counters at the airport for travelers looking to rent vehicles for their travels.
  • Public buses also serve the airport, providing an affordable transportation option for budget-conscious travelers.

5. Expansion and Growth:

In recent years, LIR has experienced significant growth in passenger traffic, reflecting the increasing popularity of Guanacaste as a tourist destination. The airport has undergone expansion projects to enhance its infrastructure and capacity to accommodate the growing number of visitors.


Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGAC), Costa Rica

The official website of Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport

There are two more airports considered as international but they do not receive commercial flights. They are:

3. Tobías Bolaños International Airport (SYQ), situated in Pavas, handles mostly domestic flights within Costa Rica.

4. Limón International Airport (LIO), located on the Caribbean coast, serves as a crucial gateway to the eastern part of Costa Rica and facilitates travel to popular destinations like Puerto Viejo, Cahuita, and Tortuguero, known for their rich biodiversity and vibrant Afro-Caribbean culture.

In addition to these international airports, Costa Rica also has various domestic airports and airstrips that cater to regional flights and charter services. These smaller airports play a vital role in connecting remote areas of the country and promoting tourism beyond the main tourist hubs.

Which airport should I use to go to Manuel Antonio?


The most convenient airport to come to Manuel Antonio and Quepos is the SJO Juan Santamaría International Airport.


At Epic Adventures Costa Rica, we understand that having access to reliable airport information is essential for efficiently coordinating travel logistics for our clients.

Whether it’s exploring the cultural attractions of San José by flying into SJO or visiting the pristine beaches of Guanacaste by landing at LIR, understanding the locations and services offered by these international airports is crucial to ensuring a seamless travel experience for visitors exploring the wonders of Costa Rica.



Manuel Antonio Bus Schedule And Taxi Service. (2018).

Lokal Travel. (2024). Lokal Travel.

‌Sammi. (2023, August). Costa Rica Airports: Which International Airport to Fly Into? MytanFeet.

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