14 Fun & Best Things to Do in Liberia, Costa Rica
When people talk about visiting Costa Rica, it’s rare that they say their final destination is the city of Liberia. This may seem surprising at first. After all, Liberia is one of Costa Rica’s largest cities by population.
A little over 45,000 Costa Ricans call it home – and it’s also the location of one of the country’s two international airports. It seems that there must be some things to do there – right? However, if you’ve ever been to Liberia, then you know that this northwestern city is mostly residential and that it’s not exactly a vacation destination.
What is Liberia, Costa Rica, known for? Well, most people fly into Liberia and immediately leave town for the beautiful and alluring beaches for which the Guanacaste province is known or for other more exciting destinations nearby.
Although it’s likely that your visit to Costa Rica will take you elsewhere in the nation for the majority of your trip, there’s still a good chance that you may end up spending some time in Liberia because of the arrival or departure day and time of your flight.
Based on others’ reactions when you mention Liberia, you may expect your days spent there to be lost days – but that doesn’t have to be the case at all. Is Liberia, Costa Rica, worth visiting? Yes! There are actually some great places to visit in Liberia if you know where to look, and there are countless other fun things to do just outside of town. Read on for some suggestions on how to spend your days in and around Liberia – and you’ll likely be happily surprised about the things that you find.
The Hilton Garden Inn Guanacaste Airport is the perfect place to stay when visiting Liberia, Costa Rica. The hotel is located opposite Daniel Oduber International Airport and offers a free airport shuttle service on request. The hotel features an international restaurant, outdoor pool, modern rooms with 32-inch LCD TV, and a well-equipped gym. The Garden Restaurant and Bar offers a full menu for lunch and dinner. Snacks are available at the 24-hour convenience store. The Hilton Garden Inn Liberia Airport is the perfect place to stay for business or pleasure.
This hotel features an outdoor pool, an on-site restaurant serving both typical local cuisine and international dishes, a bar, gym, tennis courts, and meeting facilities. It’s also home to a casino, perfect for those looking to try their luck while on vacation. Free Wi-Fi access is available throughout the hotel, ensuring you stay connected during your stay. The elegant and spacious rooms are all air conditioned and come equipped with ironing appliances, a safe, flat-screen cable TV, and an outdoor lounge area overlooking the gardens and pool area.
The hotel features family rooms, so you can stay comfortably with your loved ones. The rooms are also equipped with balconies, patios, private bathrooms, and flat-screen TVs—everything you need for a relaxing stay. In the morning, enjoy a delicious continental breakfast before exploring the area. Hotel Javy also provides helpful information at the reception to help you make the most of your trip. Book your stay today and experience all that this wonderful hotel has to offer!
- Best Thing to Do With Kids: Ponderosa Adventure Park
- Best Food-Related Attraction: Cafe Tio Leo
- Best National Park Overall: Santa Rosa National Park
- Best Closest Beach: Playa Hermosa
- Best National Park for Hiking: Rincon de la Vieja National Park
- Best National Park for Birdwatching: Palo Verde National Park
Fun & Best Things to Do in Liberia
1. Cafe Tio Leo
Do you like coffee? If so, then you’ll love taking a coffee tour with Cafe Tio Leo, a coffee plantation that’s just outside of town. This is one of the top things to do in Liberia, and it is a great place to start or end your Costa Rican adventure and to pick up some coffee straight from the source.
Each three-hour tour will teach you the history of Tio Leo Coffee, a brand that has been making great coffee since 2014, while you walk through this mountainside coffee farm. You’ll also learn about cooking empanadas, how chocolate is made, how coffee is roasted, and how sugar cane juice is extracted from sugar cane.
A knowledgeable guide will be on hand to answer all your questions, and you’ll have the chance to purchase coffee from the shop at the end. Coffee doesn’t get much fresher than this, folks, and you’ll leave with a wealth of knowledge and some excellent coffee to take with you back home.
See Related: Best Costa Rica Excursions to Book Today
2. Ponderosa Adventure Park
Costa Rica is known for its abundant wildlife, but most visitors don’t expect to also have the opportunity to view and interact with African animals like giraffes and zebras while visiting this Central American country! That’s where Ponderosa Adventure Park comes in. This fantastic, multi-faceted adventure park has so much to offer, and wild animals roaming in wide-open spaces is just one of them.
In addition to animal encounters, this park also gives guests the chance to swim at the base of a waterfall, kayak along a river, zipline and try high-ropes activities, and ride horses through the forest on tranquil trails. You can pick and choose the activities you want if you’re short on time, or buy a full-day entry ticket and do it all!
This is a great way to experience so many of the wonders of Costa Rica all in one place. If you’re looking for things to do in Liberia with kids, this is a great opportunity for families or for adventurers of all ages. This is one of the best things to see in Liberia; don’t miss it.
3. Immaculate Church of Concepcion de Maria
There are people of all religions living in Costa Rica, but a majority of Costa Ricans identify as Catholic. As a result, you’ll find many Catholic churches throughout the country and many are quite beautiful. If you find yourself in downtown Liberia and would like to visit a particularly striking and unique-looking church, the Immaculate Church of Concepcion de Maria is worth a stop. It seats 600 and is always open.
It’s newer than many of the other churches you’ll find in Costa Rica, and it has a more modern look than others; it has no air conditioning and was constructed with airflow in mind, although it’s still quite warm on hot days. This is one of the best free things to do in Liberia.
See Related: Costa Rica Packing List: What to Pack for Your Trip
4. Museo de Guanacaste
If you’d like to learn a bit about the history of Costa Rica and about the Guanacaste province in particular and are looking for Liberia attractions, then this museum is worth checking out. The Museo de Guanacaste is housed in the former city headquarters and jail, so it has the feel of a fortress, but the in-development exhibits inside the focus on cultural exhibits, Costa Rican heritage, and Costa Rican art. This part of the country is rich in archaeological finds, and some artifacts are on display here, particularly from the years between 1000 and 1350 AD.
Staff is sometimes on hand to answer questions about the things you see. This museum is a work in progress, though, so keep that in mind; it will be quite a while before this museum reaches its full potential.
5. Numu Brewing Company & Maderos Brewery
Whether it’s the beginning of your trip to Costa Rica or the end, it never hurts to sit back and drink a nice, cold beer. These two breweries in Liberia will welcome you with open arms and are excellent spots to knock back a brewski.
Both breweries make craft beer that you’ll love, and they both have excellent food options as well. You’ll be happy in either one, but why not try both?
See Related: Best Things to do in Playa del Coco, Costa Rica
6. Guanacaste/Daniel Oduber Quieros International Airport
Most people don’t think of an airport as an attraction, but if you find yourself staying in Liberia, then you are probably coming from or going to this airport. It’s one of four international airports in Costa Rica and is the second busiest after the main airport in San Jose.
A new, 250,000-square-foot terminal was completed in 2012. Many people fly into Guanacaste Airport each year; it’s the airport with the easiest access to the popular northwest corner of the country.
Most people who visit Liberia choose to stay near the international airport for ease of arrival and departure. There are several hotels and vacation rentals just a step away, but even the hotels and vacation rentals that are a bit further out offer easy access by cab or ride share to the airport.
The closest hotel to the airport is the Hilton Garden Inn Guanacaste Airport. This hotel is well-rated and has a restaurant and a pool, and is less than a mile away.
However, if you prefer to stay in a more resort-like atmosphere, then you might prefer to stay on the beach. It’s only about eight miles or forty minutes away. Hotel El Velero in Playa Hermosa is beachfront and offers a lovely pool, a private beach, a restaurant, and more.
Vacationers and visitors who like privacy might like a vacation rental best. The Explore Paradise-Linda Vista Cottage sleeps six in two bedrooms with four beds and has a pool, air conditioning, internet, and television. Pets are allowed, but children are not. This is a bit south of Liberia, but it’s a quick, 40-minute jaunt to the airport from there.
If you want more space to spread out, then you might like this Simply Breathtaking. Simply Exquisite Villa. It’s 4700 square feet in size with a private pool, four bedrooms, and four bathrooms. It has a view of the Pacific, laundry facilities, internet, air conditioning, and so much more. This one allows children, but not pets. This accommodation is north of Liberia but is only about thirty minutes from the airport.
See Related: Fun & Best Things to do in Tamarindo, Costa Rica
Best Things to Do Near Liberia
7. Palo Verde National Park
There are four national parks within easy driving distance of Liberia, and they’re all winners; if you’re looking for Liberia things to do, then national parks are a great option. Palo Verde National Park is south of town and covers 45,492 acres.
Much of Guanacaste province is tropical dry forest, but this park focuses on the conservation of floodplains and marshes, one of Costa Rica’s most endangered ecosystems, so the environment is a bit different from nearby and surrounding areas. This park is best known for its diverse bird species that use the marsh for nesting and for a migratory stops, so it’s a birdwatcher’s paradise. Over sixty species of birds are commonly seen here, so bring your binoculars and come early in the day for the most successful sightings.
See Related: Most Stunning, Unique Costa Rica Animals
8. Barra Honda National Park
Barra Honda National Park is also south of Liberia, and if you have time, you can easily combine a trip to it and Palo Verde National Park in one day. This park is quite tiny at only 6,177 acres, but it exists mostly to protect what’s underground.
The limestone caves here were created by rain filtering back into rivers over the past 70 million years, and the cave complex today is believed to only be 50% explored so far. The deepest cave found so far plunges 740 feet into the earth’s surface, and archaeologists have found pre-Columbian human remains artifacts and jewelry dating as far back as 300 BC in some of the shallower tunnels. Cave tours are offered daily, but you must book your visit in advance.
9. Santa Rosa National Park
North of Liberia and on the coast, you’ll find Santa Rosa, National Park. It was originally founded to protect the site of the Battle of Santa Rosa, one of the most important battles in Costa Rican history, in which Costa Ricans successfully stopped invasion from the north, first by filibuster William Walker in 1856. Later, Costa Ricans also fought off invasions by Nicaraguan forces in this same area in 1919 and 1955.
In addition to the historical significance of this area, it is also protected for its natural diversity. There are ten unique natural habitats within the park, from savannas to forests to marshes to mangrove woodlands, to name a few. Over 250 bird species and 115 mammal species are found in Santa Rosa National Park, and there are numerous trails for visitors to explore on its 96,000 terrestrial acres.
See Related: Best Places to Visit in Costa Rica & Things to Do
10. Rincon de la Vieja National Park
Do you want to see a volcano while you’re in Costa Rica? If you’re not headed over to La Fortuna and Arenal Volcano National Park to the east, then a visit to Rincon de la Vieja National Park to the north of Liberia may be your best bet.
This park is on the smaller side at only 34,000 acres, but it encompasses three volcanoes – Rincon de la Vieja, Santa Maria, and dormant Cerro Von Seebach. Rincon de la Vieja last erupted in 2017 and is still very much active; you never know when it will come alive again.
This park, like all parks in Costa Rica, is home to abundant wildlife, including a wide variety of mammals and over three hundred species of birds. There are also volcanic vents and geysers in the park and numerous spectacular waterfalls that are well worth the hikes it takes to reach them.
If you don’t have a rental car, there are lots of tours that will take you up to Rincon de la Vieja. One great option if you have five hours to spare is this Rincon de la Vieja One-Day Nature Tour from GetYourGuide. It includes lunch, a visit to hot springs, a waterfall, and more.
11. Playa Hermosa
If somehow you’ve found yourself in Liberia and you have not yet been to a Costa Rican beach, then you need to focus on fixing that right away. There are countless incredible beaches in the Guanacaste province on the Nicoya peninsula, but the closest and most directly accessible one from Libera is Playa Hermosa.
It’s a straight shot west on Route 254. Actually, Playa Panama is a bit closer still (by only about seven minutes), but Playa Hermosa has everything you’re looking for in an afternoon at the beach, and you’ll be there from Liberia in just forty minutes. Curl up on a beach chair for a few hours, sip some cocktails, and take a dip – it’s a great way to kill time before your flight or a perfect way to introduce yourself to the wonders of Costa Rica before you move on if you’ve just arrived.
Once you’re done at the beach, if you have time, many boat tours leave from this area as well. You can probably easily find a tropical sunset tour to end your day by watching the sun dip down below the horizon before you head back to your hotel in Liberia. There are so many exceptional outdoor activities to enjoy in this area; don’t get tied up too long, though, and be careful not to miss your flight!
See Related: Best Things to Do in Guanacaste, Costa Rica
Tours Leaving from Liberia
12. Chocolate Private Tour
If you’re in Liberia without a car, you’re in luck! There are dozens of great tours that include transportation to many of the places described above and more, and they all fall under the umbrella of fun things to do in Liberia. For example, this Rainforest, Wildlife, Waterfall, and Chocolate Private Tour from Viator will take you and your companions on an unforgettable adventure around the area.
You’ll stop at Tree Chocolate Farm to learn about how chocolate is farmed and made, the LLanos del Cortes waterfalls for a swim, and the Finca Verde Lodge for wildlife viewing and lunch. This is a complete and wonderful day with little effort on your part; your guide will take care of all the details.
13. Volcano and Hot Springs Day Trip
Another tour you might enjoy is this Arenal Volcano and Hot Springs Day Trip from Guanacaste from Viator. It includes transportation and guided hiking at Arenal Volcano National Park and a visit to the world-famous Mount Baldi Hot Springs in La Fortuna. You’ll also learn about local wildlife from your enthusiastic guide, and it even includes breakfast and lunch.
See Related: Visiting Las Catalinas, Costa Rica: Best Things to See & Do
14. Adult Canopy Zipline, Hot Springs, Horses, and More
If you want to get up into the canopy and see the forest as the wildlife does, then this Zipline, Hot Springs, Horses, and More Tour from Viator is for you! You’ll get to participate in all of the above activities, and the guide will pick you up and drop you off at your hotel in Liberia. You will also get to enjoy an authentic Costa Rican lunch during your trip. This excursion will surely be a day to remember!
15. Adult ATV Mountain Tour
An ATV is a great way to see the woods and mountains of Costa Rica, and you can do exactly that on this exciting ATV Tours Guanacaste Costa Rica Tour from Viator! This is a great option if you have limited time as this tour is only three hours, but those three hours will be jam-packed with fun and adventure. The tour operator will pick you up at your hotel in Liberia for a morning or afternoon ride and will lead you through the forest, where you’ll see abundant wildlife. This is an adventure that you’ll never forget!
Is Liberia safe?
Although Liberia is one of the biggest cities in Costa Rica, it’s still rather small as cities go. For the most part, it is safe, but it’s still a city – use your street smarts, keep your wits about you, and don’t drop your guard, and you should be just fine.
How can I get around near Liberia, Costa Rica?
As you can see, most of the organized tours listed in this post include pickup and drop-off at your hotel, so if you opt for one of those, you won’t have to worry about transportation. However, if you wish to go out on your own, you can rent a car at the Liberia airport, or you can take cabs or ride-share services to get around. If you feel comfortable taking public transportation, there are also plenty of buses in this area – simply ask a local which one to take to get where you want to go – they’ll be happy to help if they can.
When is the best time of year to visit Liberia, Costa Rica?
Honestly, any time of year is a great time of year to visit any part of Costa Rica. The rainy season is from May to November, but even those months are a joy in this tropical paradise. Furthermore, rain is light and uncommon in Guanacaste province anyway. You’ll be happy with your visit and will enjoy yourself no matter what time of year you choose to go.
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