Liberia, Guanacaste

Liberia is located in the northwest of Costa Rica, on the Guanacaste province, and has all the makings of a popular tourist spot: an international airport, a modern churches, an authentic colonial atmosphere, a rich history, and a central park.

While Liberia is mostly used as a way-station to move on to Guanacaste’s more developed surrounding cities and white sand beaches, the capital city isn’t a bad place to have a quick stay.

With Guanacaste province offering visitors some of the country’s most incredible white sand and blue water beaches, rainforests, and volcanoes, the traffic through the gateway city of Liberia is not going to slow down anytime soon.

More than 55,000 Costa Ricans call Liberia home, and they will soon be living in an even more exciting and enticing area, as the airport is making the area so popular that renovations and expansions are planned for the city, including a mall.

For residents and visitors, there are many restaurants and city amenities to make life interesting.

Staying in Liberia

Besides getting a glimpse at the daily life of an authentic Costa Rican town, those that stay in Liberia can also treat themselves to some great food, celebrations, and local spots. Some of the most important things you need to experience while in Liberia include getting Jugo de Caña (sugar cane juice) and Copos (snow cones) from local vendors.

In July, the city hosts an expo that celebrates the annexation of its home province, Guanacaste, which took place in 1824.

Liberia is also home to Guanacaste Museum (Museo de Guanacaste), which displays work from local and national artists to represent Costa Rica’s abolishment of military, and its effect on the civility of the of the country as a whole. This is a great place to visit to get a true cultural experience.

Traveling to Guanacaste Beaches

As a gateway city, Liberia might just be a short stopping place for you on your way to the white sand beaches of the province.

There is good reason for this too, Liberia is close to the resorts and beaches on the Pacific Ocean, including Papagayo Gulf, Playas del Coco, Playa Hermosa, Tamarindo, and Playa Conchal.

These are some of the most sought-out destinations in Costa Rica. Playa Hermosa boosts calm waters, incredible sport fishing, and unforgettable scuba diving.

Traveling to Guanacaste National Parks

While the beaches of Guanacaste are amazing, there are some pretty incredible destinations in land too, including several national parks.

These areas of preserved nature are great spots to see the diverse flora and fauna that has made the country famous, and they are also great places for adventures like hikes and canopy tours.

National parks located on Guanacaste province, and accessible through Liberia, include Santa Rosa National Park and Rincon de la Vieja National Park.

Santa Rosa National Park is one of Costa Rica’s oldest parks, established in 1971, and it is admired by locals and visitors alike. While not confirmed, there is a surf spot called Witches Rock that just might be the best surf spot in the country.

This park also has historical significance, as it is home to the Hacienda Santa Rosa monument (also called the La Casona) and museum, which memorializes the local peasant army that took down William Walker and his mercenaries.

The park itself spans over 12,000 acres and includes many habitats, from swampy lands to tropical forests.

When most people visit Rincon de la Vieja National Park, it is to see the active volcano housed on the property. The volcano produces steam spouts, hot springs, craters, and mudpots; all of which are very popular visiting and hiking spots for visitors.

You can also view some of the many waterfalls and rivers of the area while hiking or horseback riding along one of the park’s trails in the rainforest.

The park is only about two hours outside of Liberia, and there are plenty of beautiful lodges for tourists to stay at, and the area is less crowded than the beaches.

If you plan on visiting the volcano, you’ll want to check ahead to see if any recent activity or eruptions has caused hazards that might limit the access that visitors have to the area.

Guanacaste Escape Adventure Tour
7 Days / 6 Nights
Starting at $779 per person
Costa Rica Beach & National Park Tour
14 Days / 13 Nights
Starting at $2,084 per person
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Distance: 125 miles / 200 km
Drive Time: 3 hr 12 min
Distance: 193 miles / 309 km
Drive Time: 6 hr
Distance: 288 miles / 461 km
Drive Time: 9 hr
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Where to Stay near Liberia

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Blue River Resort & Hot Springs
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Borinquen Thermal Resort
Starting at $113 / night
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Hotel Hacienda Guachipelin
Starting at $87 / night
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Coyote Sportfishing Tamarindo
Starting at $475 / Day
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Hotel Playa Negra
Starting at $80 / night
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The Coast Beachfront Hotel
Starting at $163 / night
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RipJack Inn
Starting at $105 / night

Things to Do near Liberia

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Del Mar Surf Camp - Nosara
Starting at $65 / person
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Coyote Sportfishing Tamarindo
Starting at $475 / Day