Getting There & Departing
By Plane: The Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport (tel. 2668-1010; airport code LIR) in Liberia receives a steady stream of scheduled commercial and charter flights throughout the year. Major North American airlines have direct links to Liberia. In addition, numerous commercial charter flights from various North American cities fly in throughout the high season. Check with your travel agent.
Sansa (tel. 877/767-2672 in the U.S. and Canada, or 2290-4100 in Costa Rica; www.flysansa.com) and Nature Air (tel. 800/235-9272 in the U.S. and Canada, or 2299-6000; www.natureair.com) both have several flights daily to Liberia. Fares run between $74 and $148 each way. Flight duration is around 50 minutes.
The following car rental companies all have local agencies: Adobe (tel. 2667-0608), Alamo (tel. 2668-1111), Avis (tel. 2668-1196), Budget (tel. 2668-1118), Dollar (tel. 2243-2950), Hertz (tel. 2668-1048), Thrifty (tel. 2665-0787), and Toyota (tel. 2668-1212). You can also reserve with these and most major international car rental companies via their San José and international offices.
The airport is 13km (8 miles) from downtown Liberia. Taxis await all incoming flights; a taxi into town should cost around $10. The ride takes around 10 minutes.
By Car: From San José, you can either take the Interamerican Highway (CR1) north all the way to Liberia from downtown San José, or first head west out of the city on the San José–Caldera Highway (CR27). When you reach Caldera, follow the signs to Puntarenas, Liberia, and the Interamerican Highway (CR1). This will lead you to the unmarked entrance to CR1. You’ll want to pass under the bridge and follow the on-ramp, which will put you on the highway heading north. This latter route is a faster and flatter drive. Depending upon which route you take and traffic conditions, it’s a 3- to 4-hour drive.
If you’re driving to or from Guanacaste, take a break to check out the Iglesia de Cañas (Cañas Church) ★★ in Cañas. Well-known painter, installation artist, and local prodigal son Otto Apuy has designed and directed the envelopment of the entire church in colorful mosaic. Here you’ll find whole and broken tiles in glossy, vibrant colors to depict both religious and abstract themes. The church’s nearly 30m-tall (100-ft.) central tower is entirely covered in mosaics. It is estimated that more than a million pieces of ceramic were used in the work. The church is located in the center of Cañas, just a few blocks off the highway.
By Bus: Pulmitan express buses (tel. 2222-1650 in San José, or 2666-0458 in Liberia; www.pulmitandeliberia.com) leave San José roughly every hour between 6am and 8pm from Calle 24 between avenidas 5 and 7. The ride to Liberia takes around 4 hours. A one-way fare costs C4,000. Also, check with Terminal 7-10 (www.terminal7-10.com; tel. 2519-9740) in San José for itineraries and prices. It’s located at Ave. 7 and Calle 10 in Barrio Mexico. Tell the taxi driver “diagonal al antiguo Cine Líbano” (diagonal to the old Líbano movie theater).
Gray Line (tel. 800/719-3905 in the U.S. and Canada, or 2220-2126 in Costa Rica; www.graylinecostarica.com) and Interbus (tel. 4100-0888; www.interbusonline.com) both have two daily buses leaving San José for Liberia and all beaches in this area, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. The fare is around $50. The morning bus (for either company) makes connections to Rincón de la Vieja and Santa Rosa national parks. Both companies will pick you up at most San José–area hotels, and provide connections to and from most other destinations in Costa Rica.
Buses depart for San José and most of the area beaches and national parks from the Liberia bus station on the edge of town, 200m (2 blocks) north and 100m (1 block) east of the main intersection on the Interamerican Highway. Express buses for San José leave roughly every hour between 3am and 8pm.
Liberia’s small city center lies just to the east of the main intersection of the Interamerican Highway and the road to the beaches. On the southern outskirts of the city is a modern shopping mall, the place to come for a food court fix or to catch a semi-late-run movie at the local multiplex. Smaller, contemporary strip malls and shopping centers can be found near the airport, and right at the major intersection near the entrance to town.
Several state and private bank offices are clustered around downtown Liberia, as well as a branch of the Banco de Costa Rica inside the airport. The local police number is 2690-0129, and the Liberia Hospital number is 2690-2300. If you need a taxi, dial 2666-3330.