Liberia Costa Rica: 20 Things You Should Know

Liberia is a district in Guanacaste, one of the provinces in Costa Rica. Most people traveling to Costa Rica know it as the airport town where they land before passing to other parts of Costa Rica. 

Visiting Liberia, Costa Rica, was on my bucket list for years before I decided to make the trip. My friends had repeatedly recommended it, but I wondered if there was enough to see or keep me busy. Hence, in this article, I explain all there is to see and do in Liberia. 

Key Takeaways From This Article

Liberia, in Guanacaste, Costa Rica, is one of the most underrated towns. Liberia has much to offer besides being a transit town to other parts of Costa Rica. In this article, I highlight a few takeaways. 

  • Liberia is Guanacaste province’s capital city. The main economic activity is farming and cattlekeeping.
  • Liberia is home to one of Costa Rica’s five most active volcanoes. 
  • There are so many beach towns near Liberia that you’ll find it challenging to choose the best one. 
  • Liberia has some spectacular waterfalls and national parks. 

Where is Liberia, Costa Rica?

Liberia Costa Rica

A map of Liberia, Costa Rica.

Liberia is the largest city in Guanacaste province. The town dates back to 1769, when it started as a cattle town. Originally, Liberia was part of Nicaragua before becoming part of Costa Rica in 1826. You can still see a lot of the colonial buildings. Despite the modern buildings, Liberia still has that agricultural and cowboy feel. 

The main economic activity in Liberia is cattle keeping and crop growing, which are Liberia’s main economic activities. Many tourists, ex-pats, and locals love shopping in Liberia. 

Guanacaste International Airport, the second-largest airport in Costa Rica, is one of the reasons many people first landed in Liberia. It’s a gateway to the many other towns and cities in Costa Rica. 

Liberia has a sound transport network system. It connects Costa Rica and Central America through its location on the Pan American Highway. Liberia allows you to access various beaches in Guanacaste province. 

Geographical and weather features in Liberia

Liberia has a wet and dry season. Although Liberia is hot and dry most of the year, the most rainy months in Liberia are September and October. However, compared to other towns in Guanacaste, Liberia receives slight rainfall.

When you first land in Liberia, explore the town for a day or two. You can then proceed to the “Gold Coast,” a few minutes from the town center. From Liberia, you will have the choice of traveling to see the following geographical features:. 

  • Guanacaste has more than 70 beaches. The nearest beaches to Liberia include Conchal, Tamarindo, Hermosa, Avellana, Danta, and Coco, among many others. 
  • Volcano tours: Rincon de la Vieja, Miravalles, and Tenorio. 
  • Wildlife parks: Palo Verde, Rincon de la Vieja, and Ponderosa.

Tourist attractions and activities in Liberia

While you can visit Liberia any time of the year and still have fun, two festivals are a must-see. One is the Tope de Toros, which has a lot of bulls and horses and a lot of partying celebrating cowboy culture. The locals hold it every March.

The Annexation of Guanacaste, the second festival, takes place in July. The locals have a party on the streets to celebrate the day they became a part of Costa Rica. You can stay in the town center at Hotel Boyeros, 15 minutes from Liberia International Airport. 

While in Liberia, visit Central Park, where locals host live music on the weekends. You’ll interact with the local community and learn more about Liberia. The Guanacaste Museum, which showcases Costa Rica’s rich history, is also located in the center of the town. 

In one of my walks around Liberia town, I came across the Casa de Vico, also known as the newspaper house. Locals paste newspaper clippings all over the building’s exterior. 

Which beaches and coastal areas are in Liberia?

There are several beaches a short distance from Liberia Airport. Hence, if you are in Liberia for a short stay, you can still visit these beaches to swim, dive, snorkel, and watch marine life. You should have no problem getting accommodation at some of the best Liberia Costa Rica hotels.

In the table below, I highlight the beaches in Liberia and the activities you can enjoy. 

Name of the Beach
Location and Activities
Coco It’s 35km away from Liberia town.
Swimming, fishing, playing soccer, kayaking, jet skiing, and snorkeling are popular at the beach.
Hermosa The beautiful beach is 35 kilometers from Liberia International Airport.
It’s famous for scuba diving, sports fishing, snorkeling, and horseback riding.
Conchal It’s 63 kilometers away from Liberia Airport.
The beach comprises more seashells than sand.
Ocotal 39 km from Liberia airport is the small black sand beach of Ocotal.
Its primary activities include scuba diving, snorkeling, fishing,
Danta The beach is 36km from Liberia airport.
Enjoy paddleboarding, kayaking, swimming, and scuba diving. 
Tamarindo The distance from Liberia to Tamarindo is 77km.
Various activities at Tamarindo include ziplining, kayaking, golfing, horseback riding, sunset sailing, and snorkeling.

What outdoor activities can I do in Liberia?

Because Liberia experiences dry weather most of the year, you can enjoy some outdoor activities, no matter which month you visit. However, if your purpose is to mainly experience outdoor activities, avoid visiting during the rainy months of September and October. 

While you can book tours with some tour companies, renting a car from car rental services will be more convenient. 

Wildlife Viewing

One of the parks that I had the pleasure of taking my kids to was Ponderosa Adventure Park. It’s a private wildlife park with exotic African wild animals, including zebras, wildebeests, giraffes, and ostriches. The park is in El Salto, 11 kilometers south of Liberia. Ziplining, horseback riding, and access to La Perla Waterfall are other activities you can enjoy at the park. 

You should visit the Rincon de la Vieja National Park, which has a dry forest with diverse wildlife. The park is also home to the Rincon de la Vieja volcano, the most active in Guanacaste. The park has many bird species and rare animals, including the two-eyed sloth, beehive, and congo monkeys. 

If you’re a nature enthusiast, visit Palo Verde National Park. The park has freshwater, brackish swamps, evergreen forests, and wild animals. Over 300 bird species co-exist with the other wild animals in the park. The park is also home to different species of flora and fauna.


A little town called Bagaces, south of Liberia, is home to one of the most spectacular waterfalls in Guanacaste province, Llanos de Cortés. At its base, the waterfall creates a swimming pool with warm water. If you want to experience the waterfalls without the crowds, be there before the park’s official opening time, 8 a.m. 

Another spectacular waterfall to visit is the Leona waterfall in Curubande, a few minutes’s drive from Liberia. The Blanco River, which flows from the Rincon de la Vieja volcano, feeds the waterfall. To access Leona Waterfall, go through a hole at the top of the canyon with orange walls. 

Leona waterfall

Volcano Tours

Costa Rica has five active volcanoes, and one is in Liberia. Rincon de la Vieja stands at 6,282 feet (1,916 meters). At its base, it has therapeutic hot springs that fill several hotel pools. Most tour operators combine visiting the volcano with horseback riding, ziplining, and seeing wildlife at the national park. 

Miravalles Volcano, located near Liberia, is an inactive volcano. It stands at 6,6654 feet (2,028 meters) and is best known for its thermal hot springs. The Miravalles is the tallest volcano in Liberia, Guanacaste, Costa Rica. The government has several industrial plants to generate geothermal electricity. 

Tenorio Volcano gives its name to the famous Tenorio Volcano National Park. The Rio Celeste River, one of Costa Rica’s most beautiful rivers, results from volcanic activity. The Torino Volcano has two craters and four volcanic peaks. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Which are the best resorts to stay at in Liberia, Costa Rica? 

El Mangroove, Occidental Papagayo, Four Seasons Resort, Westin Reserva Conchal, and Borinquen Mountain Resort are some of the best resorts in Liberia. The Occidental only caters to adults. 

Westin and Borinquen offer the best stays for those looking for a luxurious stay in Liberia. Not only will you enjoy their luxurious accommodations, but they also offer adventure near the beach and nature reserves. 

How can I get to Liberia, Costa Rica? 

Liberia Guanacaste Airport (Daniel Oduber Quiros International Airport or LIR Airport) can be used to get there. It is the second-busiest airport among the four in Costa Rica. 

It’s also the most convenient airport for anyone traveling to the northern part of Costa Rica. The airport is 13 kilometers outside the town of Liberia. Flights to the airport from Costa Rica and other parts of the world are available every day. 

Which are budget-friendly accommodations in Liberia, Costa Rica? 

Hotel Guanacaste, Asserradero, Javy, Boyeros, and El Bramadero are some of the most budget-friendly accommodations in Liberia. 


There are so many things to do in Liberia, Costa Rica! However, many people use this town on their way to various attractions in the rest of the country. I always recommend to my friends planning to visit Costa Rica that they spare a day or two and tour Liberia. 

Please share your experiences if you’ve ever traveled to Liberia in Costa Rica. Which places did you have the most fun? 


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Born in California, Michelle traveled extensively through the USA and Europe before moving to South Florida during the pandemic. Her career in Marketing has taken her all across the world. Her favorite country is France but she'll never turn down a beach vacation!

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