He proposes a boycott of the airport in Liberia

Watch Out for Liberia airport in Costa Rica.

For expats departing Costa Rica, it is usually more economical to fly out of San José than Liberia by up to $200.  The downside is that most of the U.S.-bound flights out of Liberia are in the afternoon in comparison to the San José flights  which are usually in the early a.m. which could facilitate an overnight stay, but there are bed & breakfast hotels which do offer transportation to the airport.

You also have to watch out for the duty free stores that give bad information on the quantity of alcohol and tobacco products you can legally take.  I have experienced exaggeration on several trips which is in excess of what is allowed to bring into the U.S., which creates a real hassle with U.S. customs.

If for some reason your luggage is misplaced coming into Liberia, and it arrives on a different flight/different day, the airline will assure delivery of it to you. But they fail to make clear that it goes directly to airport customs, where they open it and rummage through it, and anything they consider of value. They want to stamp your passport, which makes you have to wait six months to bring any other items or make any purchases at duty free. Worst of all, you will be forced to make another trip to the airport to claim what is rightfully yours.

The irony of all of this is that customs will not release the baggage to be returned to the airline until the passenger appears in person with their passport to have it stamped.  The airport customs makes their own interpretation of the law and feels that any item(s) worth between $1 to $500 that you get your passport stamped, and their sentiments is that you should bring as many items as possible as long as total value is less than $500 dollars and receipts to show proof that it does not exceed that max amount or they will in turn provide their value of the merchandise which would be much more than the actual purchase price in the U.S.

So it’s very important to have receipts to show proof.  Note the actual stamp on the passport clearly shows an allotted space to list the monetary value of the items which they simply leave blank, which lends to confirmation that the Tico employees of customs do not have the capacity to perform basic arithmetic.  Basically, everyone traveling would be carrying items of some monetary value.

As far as the Liberia airport is concerned, not much thought went into vehicle short- and long term parking despite having adequate land.  Also, should you need handicap assistance such as a wheelchair, you have to wait until you are in line and arrive at the ticket counter to ask the airline directly for this assistance.  There is no seating at all on the lower level where you see passengers off and passengers arriving, despite the government of Costa Rica collecting millions of dollars in airport tax in addition to a $29 departure tax from Costa Rica.

Hopefully, if Liberia Airport is boycotted enough, somebody will see the light and amend their ways. But at present, the reception to raise legitimate concerns is to have the employees there simply turn their back on you and walk away.

John Kouns
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