The Liberia (LIR) airport is small, very convenient, and served by four airlines from the US.
- Continental – Daily flights from Houston (IAH) and Saturday flights from Newark (EWR).
- Delta – Daily flights from Atlanta (ATL).
- American – Daily flights from Miami (MIA) and Thursday through Sunday flights from Dallas (DFW).
- U.S. Airways – Saturday flights from Charlotte (CLT).
As an alternative airport, there is San Jose (SJO). It has much more service but is about a 3-hour drive from Coco on good roads. There is limited commuter service between San Jose and Liberia by Sansa (RZ).
Renting a car may be a good idea as it gives you more flexibility, but you are in a different country, so a few things are different. Depending on what you’re planning, consider if you’ll need a four wheel drive vehicle. Now you’re planning your trip, and you’ve gone to Travelocity, Expedia, etc., and found a car at a good rate. Upon arrival, you get to the rental agency and they tell you that the insurance is mandatory and extra. Your home insurance is not valid in Costa Rica. In fact, they even call it the Insurance Monopoly, and it is, in fact, illegal for any other company to provide insurance in Costa Rica. Don’t waste your energy getting upset about it since it’s not going to change anytime soon. What this means to you is that the insurance will add about 80% or so to the total cost of the car on a sub-compact. I hate surprises, so I put this in to eliminate one more unplanned expense on your vacation.
If you thought to rent a car in the US took a long time, in the Costa Rican culture it takes even longer. They are nice and helpful enough, but will not understand why you get impatient. Just relax, you’re on vacation!
Regarding speed limits, there are police with radar guns around, especially near the airport. If you are issued a ticket, you DO NOT pay the policeman. You will need to take the card to the bank and pay it there. For the most part, the only place you might drive fast is the long, straight road by the airport.
Coco, Costa Rica
Directions to White Palms from Liberia airport
There are relatively few roads, few have names, and road signs are very rare. Directions are given by landmarks. These are your directions if you’re renting a car. If you’re taking a taxi, see the instructions at the bottom of this page.
Assuming you are renting a car, the drive to White Palms is simple and takes about 25 minutes. When you come out of customs, you will be greeted by a wall of people from various resorts and rental car companies. Once you find your company, and perhaps wait for anyone else on the flight, they will drive you the short distance, up to a mile or two, to the agency, and they’re all on the main highway. After you rent your car, ask which direction to Coco for the first turn out of the agency.
After a few miles, you will see the Do It Center on the right. It’s a Costa Rican Home Depot, with the same color orange sign. Continue past it, across a steel bridge, and there will be houses and business on both sides. There is a paved road on the right at the end of the stretch that you’ll want to turn on. Last time I looked, there was even a sign there for Coco.
The road gently weaves through the countryside. Particularly at night the locals are often out walking along the road. It’s dark, and they’re not wearing reflective clothing, so use caution. They get very upset if you hit them or their children.
When the road drops down towards the ocean, you are entering the village of Playas del Coco. Right after the end of the median is the start of the shopping district, there are two banks with ATMs, and the two main grocery stores where you’ll find everything you need, including beer, wine, and liquor. They accept credit cards, Dollars and of course Colonel.”
On the right just beyond the grocery store is the Coldwell Banker real estate office. Stop there to pick up the key, and they will take you to White Palms and show you where all the switches are located, etc.