Liberia, Costa Rica Guide

If you are looking to fly directly to Guanacaste and enjoy the many beaches that exist on the West Coast, you can entirely avoid flying into San Jose and fly directly to Liberia.  This page shares with you facts on Liberia, Costa Rica, as well as gives you many travel tips you can use as you navigate yourself from Liberia to other parts of the country.  

Liberia, Costa Rica

At an elevation of 452 feet above sea level (144 meters), Liberia is situated in the gorgeous Northwest region of Guanacaste in Costa Rica right near the coast. In and around Liberia life is abundant, there are many things to do, it has a very rich history and there are many places to go explore. Nearby attractions include white sand beaches, active and dormant volcanoes, coffee farms, zip-lines, jungles and more. A colonial downtown, museum of rich history and incredible food and drinks are just a few of the available amenities for visitors of Liberia. It was even once known as the “white city” or “la ciudad blanca” because of white gravel that was used to pave the roads.

The Scenery in Liberia

We would be amiss if we didn’t acknowledge the natural beauty of Liberia, as it is unavoidable and represents a large portion of the fun of Liberia. Liberia is home to an international airport, a bustling colonial downtown with an historic white church and plaza with surrounding vendors and a beautiful “Museo de Guanacaste” (the Museum of Guanacaste). In addition to the nice International Liberia Costa Rica Airport, the town is also getting a new mall in the area sometime soon. Though quaint compared to a larger metropolis, the whole point of visiting Liberia is to explore the culture, take in the topography and get away from the madness of the city.

Things to Do in Liberia

There are so many wonderful, unique things that Liberia has to offer. The Museum of Guanacaste features incredible art which takes a further look into the abolishment of military intervention that Costa Rica has had on the local population of around 55,000 inhabitants. When fresh off the plane, we recommend that you start out your stay here by visiting the museum in order to “paint the picture” of what the rich history of this town is like.

If you happen to plan your trip to Liberia around the week of July 25th, then you are in for an especially nice treat as that day is the celebration of the Annexation of Guanacaste from neighboring Nicaragua. During this celebration there are a whole host of events going on which include the likes of parades, cattle shows, food vendors, marimba music and folk dances! Children can often be found showing off costumes and masks for the event.

Related:  Activities and things to do in Costa Rica

Places to Stay in Liberia

Liberia Costa Rica hotels are as incredible and varied as the natural wonders and activities which the region itself has to offer. For a taste of city life, check out one of the many AirBnB’s, hostels, and hotels in the city. For a more excursion based stay, check out a couple nearby popular hotels.

The hotel nearest the airport is the Hilton Garden Inn. It’s nothing fancy, but for the area it’s about as good as you get for a mainstream hotel and the location near the airport is nice.

Cañon de la Vieja Lodge, for example, costs just $60 USD per night and has a pool, hot tub, two onsite restaurants, rafting, tubing, rock wall and rappelling close by. 50 of their cabins are immersed in tropical gardens. We recommend either checking out their spa and jacuzzi for relaxation or the nearby suspension bridge and canopy tours if you’re looking for adventure.

If you’re into casinos then the Best Western Sitio Hotel & Casino is the place for you. Day trips to volcanoes, beaches and rainforests are just a hop, skip and a jump away with the Best Western as your base camp. They offer an incredibly idyllic-looking thatched hut next to their pools and offer all of the comforts of Western living. El Sitio has air conditioning, cable television, a safe deposit box, fitness center, tennis courts, a conference center for business meetings, around-the-clock front desk staff, a restaurant, bar, lounge, housekeeping every day, free internet, and incredible gardens on site. All of this comes at just $55 USD per night.

The Food in Liberia

We’ll just cut right to the chase with the food in Liberia, since food is the path to everyone’s heart. “Jugo de Caña”, or sugar cane juice, is the local favorite that we guarantee will have you hooked. “Copos”, short for cups, are snow cone cups from vendors which will keep you cool in the warm Costa Rican climate. Rice and beans are the usual staple of Costa Rican cuisine, and Gallo Pinto (known locally as just Pinto) is no exception. Gallo Pinto, which translates to spotted rooster, is our favorite recommendation for those who want to eat like a local. Fresh vegetables like peppers, onions, and herbs such as cilantro are included in Gallo Pinto.

As a main dish, “casado” is very typical cuisine for Costa Rica. It’s made up of plantains (bananas), rice, beans, salad, and tortillas with your choice of meat. If you’re into spicy food, then we recommend the Chilero sauce as it is absolutely incredible. If you’ve never been to Liberia, then we definitely recommend that you try some casado.

As for desert, one of the most common meals in Liberia is Arroz Con Leche: Rice with milk. It’s much more than just rice and milk, though. Arroz con leche includes sugar, cinnamon, salt, and lemon for a bit of pizzazz. You definitely can’t go wrong with the arroz con leche.

Some other popular dishes include Sopa Negra (black bean soup), Flan (caramel sugar egg custard), Patacones (flattened fried plantains), Chifrijo (fried pork rinds, chips, beans, an pico de gallo) and Olla de Carne (beef stew with rice and beans, adorned with chips, tomatoes and avocado slices).

Activities in the Guanacaste Province

Just outside of Liberia, Guanacaste province has so much to offer in terms of golf resorts, beaches, scuba diving and sport fishing. Canopy jungle tours, zip-lines, surfing, horseback riding, helicopter tours and hiking are also extremely abundant throughout Guanacaste! The entire region is teeming with wildlife if your’e into bird watching, the national park called “Rincon de la Vieja” is very popular amongst travelers because it has an active volcano with hot springs and steam spouts, and no matter what your idea of a perfect vacation is, Guanacaste is sure to deliver it.

Getting Around Liberia

You’ll find many taxis available in Liberia, so if you don’t get a car, you’ll be okay.  There is limited Uber in this area of Costa Rica, so know that it’s not like the United States in that manner.

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Guanacaste has an incredible array of things to do, places to go, and foods to eat. If you’re looking for the safety, security and rich history of a charming yet bustling town as a landing point for all of your adventures then we recommend looking no further than Liberia. Liberia Costa Rica hotels are not far at all from the Liberia Costa Rica airport, and immersing yourself into the rich culture and art scene of the city is perhaps the most comforting feeling that you can get amidst Guanacaste’s largest city: Liberia.