The international airport of Liberia in Costa Rica is the country’s second international airport which serves the many popular beach destinations throughout the Guanacaste coast & Nicoya Peninsula. Other than domestic flights, the most frequent flights are from major US cities like Miami, Houston, Dallas & Atlanta. Not too far away from the airport are some famous beaches like Tamarindo, and national parks such as Rincon de La Viejas, Guanacaste, Santa Rosa, Barra Honda & Palo Verde. What most people miss is the fact that there is more to the town of Liberia than just an international airport, and a day trip through the small city can give you a real perspective on the life and culture of a true “Tico” town that has yet to become touristy.
Having a mere population of 40,000, Liberia is quite a small town regardless of its rapid transformation and frequent arrival of international flights. The colonial facade of numerous buildings in Liberia is a proof that it is one of the oldest towns in Costa Rica. Liberia is also called as the ‘White City’ due to the red tile roofs & whitewashed walls of the buildings. In fact the navigation to the attractive points in the town is eased by Broad Avenues & sensible city planning. The oldest church of the town, the Iglesia de la Agonia, represents the colonial era of Liberia. The Spanish look, twin pillars & arched entrance add beauty to the exterior of the church. In addition to this, the Sabaneros Museum, called as the Museo de Sabaneros in local language, pays homage to the cowboy roots of Guanacaste. The blocks surrounding this museum is the oldest neighborhood of Liberia. The colonial style houses in the neighborhood were built around a hundred and fifty years ago and comprise a lot of small architectural gems.
The cattle industry of Costa Rica is ably supported by Liberia with the help of numerous ranches which surround the town. Through local and international exports, the town provides a market for farmer goods. The ever-present cowboy culture represents the identity of Liberia due to the ranches around the town. The timeless tradition of Guanacaste, Rodeos is the most popular sporting events. A lot of locals from all over Liberia are intrigued by an opportunity to witness brave cowboys hurled by furious bucking bulls. People of this region got independence from neighboring region Nicaragua in 1812. On July 25th, the Guanacaste Day, people celebrate the province’s independence. A lively cowboy fiesta is created at the time of these celebrations as annual horse parade takes place along with a bullfight and a rural fair.
Downtown Liberia is famous for its good food, entertainment, bars & accommodations that are available year around. There are numerous hotels and lodges of various types for different types of people according to their tastes and budgets. In dry season, the hotels often fill up completely so it is recommended to the visitors to reserves their hotels rooms well in advance, at least a few weeks before arriving.
It is a four and a half hour drive between San Jose to Liberia. The drive goes along the Inter-American Highway and covers 145 miles or 234 km. there are a lot of bus terminals in Liberia and on a workday, they provide countrywide transportation. Car rentals are easily available at Airport.
Things to do in Liberia
Visiting a lively and lovely town like Liberia, you can hardly get bored. Beaches, rivers, mountains, rainforests, ranches are something you get easy access to in Liberia. Your interests and the amount of your free time decide what you can do in Liberia. There are different things for you to do in Liberia, so you can decide between relaxing yourself of get into something dangerous and adventurous.
There will be a lot of confusion for adventure freaks in deciding what to start with. If getting wet and trying out some nature is your idea of adventure then a river rafting trip down the Tenorio or Corobici river might suit you. If this is not your thing and you are more interested in ancient history as an adventurer, then you can go check out the Barra Honda National Park to explore some amazing underground caves. These caves go really deep down under, in fact, at some places they go as far as 787 ft. These caves have calcium formed stalagmites which reflect lights in the caves. For those who do not find any of this interesting and are more interested in traditional type adventure, must consider a horseback ride across the beach, canopy tours in rainforests, and hikes in one of the national parks such as Rincon de La Vieja, Arsenal, and Miravalles. There is this one tour in which your skills as a cattle hand can be found out. In this tour you can spend your day in learning horse riding & lasso, rope and tying calves.
There are also slower-paced and relaxing activities to do in Liberia. The Tizate Wellness Gardens is a great place to relax yourself or you can even get a massage in one of the spas in the area. Nature observers would like to take a slow boat ride down the Tempisque River. Bird watchers can make the same trip, but in the morning. For those interested in cultural activities, a tour to a Liberian town or a one-day outing to Granada, the historical Nicaraguan city is recommended. In this outing, you will pass though century-old streets & visit cultural attractions such as churches, restaurants & plazas.
All in all, people of all type, age, gender, etc. will have their share of something to look for in Liberia. There is also a combo tour available for those who do not have enough time to visit all destinations one by one and enjoy Liberia slowly. Canopy tours, spa visits & hanging bridge walks, all in a single day are the special feature of these combo tours.