The flying time between New York and Liberia is roughly five hours, but don't sleep straight through! Not only are the movies free on JetBlue international routes like this one, but also the stunning tropical scenery out the window begins well before landing. Grab a window seat!
Speaking of landing, Liberia's little airport turned out in full force to welcome the debut arrival of Flight 1691. There was the water cannon salute! And traditional dancing! And empanadas! And jealous passengers of neighboring United and American Airlines flights wondering why the heck we got to have all the fun.
Pretty soon everyone traveling through Liberia Airport gets to have way more fun anyway, as they're on the verge of opening an entire new airport terminal next door to the glorified corrugated metal tents that serve as the terminal now. Stay tuned for more on this exciting news (plus photos, naturally).
· Liberia is the gateway for tourism to the lush Papagayo Peninsula, the excellent surfing and scuba spots on the Pacific coast, several volcano national parks, centers of eco and sustainable tourism, and adventure experiences like canopying and ziplining through forests that look torn from scenes Jurassic Park. Actually Jurassic Park was filmed on a Costa Rican island off the coast, so that's not too far from the truth.
· The proper pronunciation of Liberia is Li-bare-ee-ya, not lie-beer-ee-ya
· The town of Liberia has one traffic light, so it's not the most happening place on its own. It is an ideal excursion for local grocery shopping at a pulperia (small grocery store) and seeing the blindingly white church and chill main square in the center of town.
· There is no WiFi or A/C at the airport (yet).
· With 150 seats onboard JetBlue's A320, approximately 4,358 gallons of fuel is burned on a one-way flight from JFK to LIR. That's 29 gallons per passenger.
· Since JetBlue began flights from Orlando to San Jose in 2009, over 200,000 have flown to Costa Rica on the airline. The new Liberia route (the only JFK-Liberia direct service currently available from any airline) means more, more, more!
· To celebrate the launch, JetBlue is waiving all oversize checked baggage surfboard fees for travel through December 17, 2011.
Disclosure: We zipped down to Costa Rica as guests of JetBlue and the Costa Rica Tourism Board, but rest assured that all opinions and all photos are completely our own.
[Photos: Cynthia Drescher for Jaunted]