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Why is Guanacaste being

so cocky lately?

Photos by: Diego Mejias - 

If you feel that recently the people of Guanacaste have been walking around with an extra spring in their step, their head held high, and especially happy...maybe even a little conceited, well you aren’t imagining things. This is all due to a single reason: We finally have a new airport…and not just any airport, a seriously good and modern new airport!!!


In a province whose main crux of development is tourism, the reaction has been automatic and unanimous:  The entire province is jumping for joy! 


With this new, modern, more efficient and several times larger terminal, Guanacaste has taken a giant step in its solidification as an international destination. We are optimistic and ready to flaunt our attributes as a big time destination. It is our first step in proving that we deserve a special place in the big leagues of the global vacation market.

Now do you understand why we are all so happy?

How could we not be?


The 12th of January 2012 was not only the day when President Chinchilla inaugurated operations in the new building, but was also the day something more symbolic happened.  The last cherry was put on top of an exquisite cake called Guanacaste, which already was very tasty but lacked a positive first impression for tourists. Today, the arrival and departure experience in Guanacaste is world class!


Guanacaste is already receiving new flights from additional countries while the ICT (Costa Rican Tourism Institute) as well as CATURGUA (Chamber of Tourism of Guanacaste) are working hard to attract new airlines and open new routes that make it easier for travelers from all over the world to come and taste this tropical cake and try for themselves the multi-faceted array of flavors and aromas that make “The Guanacaste experience” come to life.


LIR:  An airport to be proud of.


For years in Guanacaste we tried to convince ourselves (without much success), that our little airport was a very picturesque first tropical encounter and somewhat happily anecdotal for our visitors.  The truth is that no matter what rhetoric we used, the small improvised building simply did not measure up.  Conversely, the one we have now really does!  We went from having a class F airport to a class B.  In one jump we skipped 5 categories in the international scale of airport classification.


Located adjacent to the old terminal, this new building includes all the amenities that were missing in the unpopular old terminal.  The new airport has better operating capability, more comfort and an excellent variety of services.

The new spacious terminal is two levels and 168,000 sq ft with an additional 81,000 sq ft occupied by access zones, parking and internal areas for a total of 249,000 sq ft and a total investment of approximately US$41.5 million.




The developer:

The project and its efficient execution has been the responsibility of Coriport S.A., a conglomerate made up of three investors groups:  ADC&HAS Airports Worldwide- an international airports operator, the Canadian design and engineering firm MMM Group and the KKC group, composed of local investors.

The concession for the operation has been granted for 20 years although it’s pertinent to clarify that the control of air space and runway (Air Side) continues to be exclusively operated by the Dirección de Aviación Civil (National Civil Aviation), with Coriport responsibility lying solely with the operation of the terminal. (Ground Side).

Designed to accommodate 1,500 passengers per hour (750 arrivals and 750 departures) it has been able to radically reduce the passenger transit time.  And although there have been some operational deficiencies on a couple of occasions when there have been more than 4 simultaneous arrivals due to flights being early or late, we have been informed by CORIPORT that contingency plans have already been implemented for such events and they have also made other small adjustments to correct some other situations discovered in the first months of operation.

A tourist information center jointly operated by CATURGUA and CALITUR (Liberia Chamber of Tourism) offer a warm welcome and a friendly first orientation to the tourists that so require.

Passenger boarding bridges, ATMs, a children’s room, 30 airline counters, an expedited clearing of Immigration, improved waiting areas, a better temperature control and beautiful decoration that honors Guanacaste and Costa Rica are just some of the more notable improvements.


An area of almost 13,000 sq mt of commercial space provides an ample gamma of services and entertainment for the passengers- another large disparity between the practical abandonment in which our travelers in transit were left in the past.


In addition to the spacious and comfortable boarding areas, the travelers now have an excellent restaurant, local art exhibits, photography, handicraft and jewelry, a comfortable waiting room, 2 Duty Free stores and an information area for investments opportunities in Guanacaste, making the wait for a flight a much more pleasant, varied and useful experience.


While without a doubt the main benefit is for the province of Guanacaste, it is anticipated that this new terminal and the new flights that will be arriving, will also represent a benefit to other nearby destinations, such as Monteverde, Arenal, Puntarenas and even for the tourist industry of Southern Nicaragua.




Liberia Airport (LIR):  

From where and where to can I fly? On which airlines?


At this time there are 115 weekly flights operating to the Liberia Airport (LIR), consisting of these airlines: Delta,  American Airlines, Taca,  Air Canada, United Airlines, US Airways, Continental, Frontier,  Jetair fly,  Air Berlin and Jet Blue, as well as charters flights from West Jet,  Air Transat, Sun Wing,  Arkfly,  Thomson or Jazz Air and domestic flights of Sansa and Nature Air. 

Starting in June, Copa will join them with 2 weekly flights from Panamá, connecting to all the capitals of South America.

Among the present cities of origin/destination are Houston, Atlanta, Miami, Dallas, New Jersey (Newark), Nueva York (JFK), Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Charlotte, Brussels, Düsseldorf, Cancun, San Salvador, London and soon all of South America through Copa’s Panama City hub, although the projections indicate that this list of options will continue to grow strongly during 2012 and 2013. ( See flights tracking tool below).


Tracking Tool for flights to or from Liberia Airport (LIR)  
 Airport: (506)
2668 1010

Departures from Liberia Airport (LIR) in Guanacaste.
The information about flight status is updated every minute.

Arrivals to Liberia Airport (LIR) in Guanacaste.
The information about flights status is updated every minute.


We now invite you to read the other articles of this issue on the virtual version of the magazine. 



Visit our latest issue on virtual paper
…or see previous issues in our virtual kiosk
utopia magazine and travel guide

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Tico Glossary Catalinas island 

Barra Honda Caves

Rincón de la Vieja

Diving in Guanacaste


Marina Papagayo Medical tourism

What does Pura Vida means? 

MAPS Ecology   Culture   

Hotels in Costa Rica Birds

watching guide MarineTurtles 

Playas del Coco NationalParks 

Transportation guide 

Humpback Whales 


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