Liberia International Airport (LIR)
Guanacaste was once known as the “forgotten province” of Costa Rica. This former territory of Nicaragua did not manage to see too much in the way of development in comparison to other provinces until about the mid-1970s, when President Daniel Oduber launched a series of initiatives to help the people of Guanacaste grow with the times. Ever since then, Guanacaste has become a shining example of progressive development, and the Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport in Liberia is a testament to just how far the region has come.
The airport is popularly known as Liberia International, and its three-letter International Air Transport Code is LIR. There are three other international airports in the country, but only LIR and the Juan Santamaría International Airport (SJO) are of significance for medical tourists. SJO experiences far more activity than LIR, but it is estimated that in the next few years LIR could see about half of the passenger and air traffic activity as SJO. You can find flight arrival and departure times by clicking the corresponding topic in this sentence, updated daily.
Choosing LIR over SJO
There are a few great reasons why savvy tourists prefer landing at LIR versus SJO. The first reason is a matter of convenience: Guanacaste is home to many popular beach resorts and national parks, and LIR is only a few kilometers away from most tourist attractions. Another reason is that, although San José is a small metropolis in comparison to New York or Toronto, it can be a little hectic at times. Liberia and the surrounding communities are some of the most tranquil places on earth, and thus some tourists wish to skip landing at SJO in favor of LIR.
Medical tourists have one more reason to make their way to Costa Rica via LIR: the new CIMA Hospital in Liberia opened its doors to patients in February 2012. While Liberia and Guanacaste already have great medical facilities like Hospital Clínico San Rafael Arcángel, located in the city of Liberia, the new CIMA Hospital will be another option for the medical tourism industry.
The CIMA Hospital in San José already treats hundreds of medical tourists each day, and more tourists now take advantage of their new option up north. The new CIMA in Liberia is located a short 5 minute drive from Liberia International Airport.
Medical tourists, need comfort and relaxation to prepare for their procedures and for their recovery periods as well. This is one of the reasons why Guanacaste is the best option for medical tourists in Costa Rica. Patients arriving to Liberia Airport can be in their hotel in under 30 minutes, relaxing and enjoying amazing ocean views at one of the best Medical Tourism Facilitators in Guanacaste area “Hotel Chantel.”
Flying into LIR
The number of airline carriers operating in LIR is growing with the recent announcement of Alaska Airlines and Southwest Airlines. Budget airlines and specialized carriers dominate the list of flight operators, and there is a strong focus in bringing tourists from locations other than the traditional major airports of the world. Medical tourists can contact us to help them make arrangements for flying into Liberia.
Canadian airlines flying into LIR include Air Canada, West Jet, Air Transat, Jazz Air (Thomas Cook), Sunwing, and Enerjet. Depending on the season, these airlines may originate their flights from Toronto Pearson, Pierre Elliott Trudeau in Montreal, Calgary, Edmonton, Halifax, and Vancouver.
From the United States, United Airlines, Continental offers regular service from Houston, while Delta flies in from Atlanta and American Airlines from Dallas and Miami. These aren’t necessarily daily flights, so it’s good to check in advance. The following airlines offer seasonal flights from different locations in the United States: JetBlue – New York, Frontier Airlines – Denver, USA 3000 – St. Louis, Nomads – Orlando, and US Airways – Charlotte.
European travelers are increasingly getting more options for flying to LIR. Current operators include: Air Berlin from Dusseldorf, Arkefly from Amsterdam, Jetairfly from Brussels, Thomson Airways from Gatwick, and Czech Airlines from Prague.
Landing at LIR
Unlike its utilitarian sister airport in San José, LIR is being transformed into a world-class passenger air terminal including duty-free shops, restaurants and other passenger amenities. Parking and ground transportation facilities are easy. Airport taxis are waiting upon your arrival.
Passenger traffic at LIR is increasing, but nowhere close to the heavy influx of travelers that SJO experiences. Landing at LIR is a lot more efficient and laid back than arriving in SJO. The airport is designed to provide comfort to passengers and alleviate some of the stress that is often associated with international air travel.
While Guanacaste is receiving a significant increase in tourism thanks to LIR, many tourists have been drawn to the region’s desirable climate, spectacular beaches and relaxed lifestyle. As a result, many travelers are opting for longer stays and some are even choosing to become full time residents. One visit to the region and it is easy to see why Guanacaste has become one of the most popular destinations in Costa Rica.