Liberia is a city that is found in northern Costa Rica, near the Nicoya Peninsula. The colonial-style Ermita de La Agonía is a Catholic church with a white facade that is in the center of the downtown. To the northeast are the active Rincón de la Vieja Volcano and the dormant Miravalles Volcano that have lots of outdoor adventure hiking trips. There is lush jungle nearby with horse riding to hike and see waterfalls in the jungle. There are beautiful beaches within an hour to be on the beautiful coast and surf some famous areas.
The Daniel Oduber International Airport (LIR) is also known as the Liberia Airport. The airport is about a 15 minute drive into downtown. There are taxis, car services, and public transit to get into the city center. The taxis take 10-15 minutes to get into the city and cost $16-$26 USD cash only (in US dollars or colones). There are car and bus services that are private and are great options to have reserved especially if you are arriving at night or are in a group. This is the most expensive option and the rates and details are found here. The public transit is the cheapest option to get into the city. The public bus from the Liberia International airport to Liberia downtown departs at the following times: 6 a.m., 8 a.m., 9 a.m., 2 p.m., 3 p.m., 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. The same bus goes back to the airport 30 minutes after arriving in the city center of Liberia. The bus time is around 20-30 minutes and costs about 500₡.
Things to do
Guanacaste is filled with colonial style architecture and is a charming historical city close to the beach, jungle, zip lines, hot springs and volcano adventures. Iglesia de Barrio Los Ángeles is a beautiful catholic church in the city center, as well as in its old quarter, the Museo de Guanacaste has cultural and historical exhibitions. The Museo del Sabanero showcases local cowboy memorabilia, including photographs. Outside the catholic church at night is a huge courtyard and city park. This is one of the central gatherings in the area with a skatepark that all the locals and kids come out to skate, hang out on the church steps and grab snacks from street vendors in the park. There are old Coke murals on the walls, beautiful architecture as well as cute iguanas walking around the city streets. There is so much to see and do in taking a walking tour of the city.
Eat at El Patio
The best restaurant in Liberia hands down! This restaurant is amazing local delicious meals and drinks prepared in a beautiful sunny outdoor courtyard restaurant with lots of plants and wood tables. They are known for their smoothies (especially their Pina Coladas) and their herb iced tea drinks made with Herba Buena. This green smoothie drink pictured above is so refreshing and delicious. Their chifrijo dish is pictured above as well which I loved. Their tacos, soups and salads are all amazing. I had something different each time and loved them all. We definitely went here several times.
Hours: 11:30am-3pm, 6-9pm daily
Experience Easter Celebrations
Costa Rica being a devout Catholic country, has huge festival celebrations for Easter. The whole city closes down and shops are shut for a holiday. The festival occurs in the streets with locals parading through the streets singing worship music in traditional wear and costumes. There is a Jesus play that happens in the streets with actors as well as statues and props of the story of the Gospel being carried. This is a beautiful and interesting cultural experience to have if you are traveling near or on Easter time. There is mass held at the local churches after an all day procession through the city streets.
Restaurante La Casa de Cala
This is a local courtyard outdoor based restaurant with delicious local food and strung lights and a charming courtyard. This restaurant is in the main town square across the street from the main park and church. There is delicious homemade lemonade at this restaurant as well as pineapple basil smoothies. Their grilled chicken is amazing and I had a salad with the grilled chicken and it was delicious. This was our other favorite restaurant after El Patio. These two offer great local food that is delicious and budget friendly.
Hours: 11am-9pm daily
Horse Back Riding & Waterfalls in the Jungle, zip line tours & hot spring mud baths
There are several companies to do tours and adventures coming out of Liberia. The two closest adventure companies are Vandara Hot Springs & Adventure, and Vida Adventura Nature Park. Both of these companies offer horse back riding in the jungle close to the volcano as well as zip line canopy tours of the jungle and mud baths/thermal pool hot springs. This was one of my favorite experiences in Costa Rica and not that far (about 50 minutes) outside the city center. You can do day adventure tours that take you from horse riding through the jungle, to see waterfalls, to zipline tours through the jungle and finishing up with a local meal and dips in the thermal pools.
- A full day pass is $67 per adult. This is without transportation included which would be an extra fee.
- Full Day Pass includes:
- zipline course
- a horseback riding expedition on the landscapes of Guanacaste
- a trapiche cultural tour to get to know the most important aspects of our costa rican culture an adventurous water slide
- a revitalizing mineral mud bath & volcanic hot springs.
- BOOK HERE
ADVENTURE PASS $75: Includes: Canopy Tour, Horseback Riding, Trails, Mud Bath, Thermal Pools, Water Slide and Lunch. BOOK HERE.
SUPER COMBO $119: Adventure Pass + Ground Transportation. Enjoy all activities plus transfer from your hotel.
>> Get a special discount when booking Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Tour a live volcano
There are several tours and companies available to take an hour trip outside the city north to go into a national park and explore near the volcano. There are countless trails, waterfalls and jungle glory for hiking and seeing the volcano. Day tours that are whole day adventures around 12 hours with transportation and food normally are around $150 per person with Arenal Volcano Tours.
Local Coffee Scene (Cafe Liberia)
This coffee shop and cafe called Cafe Liberia is right next to Liberia Hotel. This cafe is just as local and beautiful historic architecture as the hotel. This is the best place to get quality coffee in the city because they mostly export their great coffee. You can buy beans wholesale from this owner to take home with you as a souvenir as well. This cafe gives you historic wood and windows over the city with an airy and light atmosphere and great coffee.
Hours: 11am-9pm Tues-Sat, closed Sunday, and Monday 4:30pm-9pm
Souvenir Ocarina Shopping
This is a touristy little souvenir shop in the main downtown of the city. Even though it is touristy and there is alot of cheap things there are also some cool local artisan products as well as Pura Vida gear and stickers as well as lots of cute sloth souvenirs with shirts, toys, and stickers. This tourist shop does sell local coffee as well which is delicious and a great souvenir to take home.
Hours: 9:15am-12pm, 2-6pm daily
Work out at Aloha Gym
This is a newer gym by a few years in downtown Liberia that is a killer strength training gym. There are lots of squat racks as well as free bars and weights to power lift. There is a set up like a crossfit gym with stations and is a great quality gym if you want to work out on your vacation. The drop in price for those who are visitors and don’t have memberships is so cheap at $6 bucks a person.
Hours: 6am-11am, 4pm-9pm daily
Price: Drop in rate is $6USD per person!!!
This is a beautiful beach on the western coast of Costa Rica about 1 hour 40 minutes outside Liberia city. This beach has a restaurant with great food and trees with tons of monkeys always around. The beach is known for a famous fat pig that lived there in a pen named Lola. The old Lola is gone and now there is a new pig named Lolita. The beach is known for good surf and is a beautiful beach with palms and other trees as well as an interesting driftwood forrest wooden walkway to get to the beach. This beach has a lot of character and beautiful seating areas as well as close restaurants for great drinks and food for your beach day.
Surf Witches Rock
View this post on Instagram
Check out the latest blog from Witchs Rock Surf Camp. 🌊🏄🏼♀️❤️. We sent our ladies team to witchs rock on an epic swell and…….they scored 🌊🏄🏼♀️🌊💪 read about their trip and their passion for surfing. Click on the link https://witchsrocksurfcamp.com/get-on-board-ladies/ Remember we still have some dates open for the women’s retreat, if you have any inquiries, link is in the bio @witchsrocksurf @gosouthadventurescr @surfgirlmag . . #surfergirl #wslwomens #womenshealth #surfretreat #girlstrip #womensurfing #surfcostarica #surf #oceanwoman
Playa Naranjo, also known as Witches Rock or Roca Bruja in Spanish, is one of the most famous beaches for surfing in this province. The beach is known among surfers and has beautiful views. The waves and remote location of this beach make it for the dedicated and advanced surfer. The beach is part of Santa Rosa National Park. Naranjo Beach is in the middle of nowhere surrounded by hot, tropical dry forest, mangroves and wildlife. You have to hike with your board through the jungle to get to the beach. Witches Rock (Roca Bruja) is a giant slab of a boulder from the ocean bottom and towering out of the water. Tamarindo is the best beach for beginners so be careful heading to this beach without experience.
When: Rainy season. Between May and December, there are the largest waves as well as more turtles at the beach, if you can get a permit.
Where to Stay
This is a modest budget hotel in a Colonial-era building, offering open-air dining & free parking. The hotel is a local architecture and open air feel. The rooms are clean and simple and for a budget price. The hotel had colonial style space with a huge beautiful patio and rooms all facing inward towards the patio. The hotel breakfast and meals are delicious local food prepared and are one of the best parts of the historic centrally located space. This hotel is apparently now permanently closed (2019) since I went there in 2017 unfortunately.