Liberia is a charming colonial town, nicknamed "the white city" ("La Ciudad Blanca") because of its whitewashed colonial buildings.
Founded in the 18th century, it has an impressive whitewashed church with Spanish colonial architecture. The city also has a fabulous array of restaurants serving food from around the world and shops all along the central square.
Start your tour by immersing yourself in the history, traditions and legends of the city. Later, go shopping and stock up on souvenirs.
Liberia is one of the best things to do in Costa Rica.
How to get Liberia from San Jose Costa Rica ?
Liberia is a city located in the northwestern region of Costa Rica, and there are a few ways to get there from San Jose:
- By Car : You can rent a car in San Jose and drive to Liberia, which is about a 4-hour drive. There are several rental car companies located in San Jose.
- By Bus: Take a bus from San Jose to Liberia, which takes about 4-5 hours. Buses depart from the San Carlos Bus Terminal in San Jose and arrive at the Liberia Bus Terminal.
- By Shuttle : Many tour companies offer shuttle services from San Jose to Liberia. These shuttles usually include transportation by van or bus and can be booked through a tour operator or travel agency.
- By Air : You can take a domestic flight from San Jose to Liberia, which takes about 45 minutes. Domestic flights are available from Juan Santamaria International Airport in San Jose to Daniel Oduber Quiros International Airport in Liberia.
No matter which option you choose, it's important to plan ahead and book your transportation in advance to ensure availability.
Museum of Guanacaste
The building of the former Comandancia de Plaza de Liberia stands out as the first military fortification in Costa Rica.
Transformed since 2009 into the headquarters of the Guanacaste Museum, it is worth a visit to get an overview of the history of the province of Guanacaste. Plus, admission is free, so no excuses for not going!
Calle Real: the oldest street in Liberia
The portion of Central Street that stretches several blocks north to south from Liberia City's Central Avenue is very picturesque with its adobe and lime buildings and houses located in the heart of the old town.
These old buildings have been restored and are part of the identity of Liberia,
Ermita de la Agonía Church
This amazing church dates back to 1866. It is blindingly white on a sunny day, reflecting the whitewash fashion that earned Liberia its nickname "White City".
The exhibition illustrates the art, culture and daily life of 19th century Liberia through the sculptures, fabrics, books and antique furniture on display. To get there, simply follow Avenida Central.
Mario Cañas Ruiz Park
The Kiosk of the City of Liberia Park, built in wood, is one of the oldest existing in the country. It is a building of typical vernacular architecture of the area, from the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, built at the same time as the Central Park, with which it forms an architectural unit.
The kiosk and the park are the main feature of the old town. You will enjoy strolling and walking around.
Ponderosa Adventure Park
This is an amusement park and zoo for tourists where you can spend the day with your family in a crowded place.
You will see animals in captivity (even species that are not native to Costa Rica, such as giraffes or African zebras) or go canopy riding and other attractions.
If you want to help with the conservation and welfare of the animals, don't feed them or take a selfie with them. This is not recommended in order to protect these wild animals.
Entrance fees: you can buy the pass according to the activities you prefer (Includes: safari, horse riding, waterfall, kayaking and canopy) the price varies according to the season.
You can budget your visit according to your different plans:
Full day tour: Children $56 / Adults $63.
Half day: Children 40$ / Adults 48$.
Safari excursion: Children $28 / Children $35
Cost of buffet lunch: approximately $15
Nightlife in Liberia takes place - outside of the resorts - in bars and small pubs, neighbourhood bars where locals and tourists come to socialise over a drink.
Start with a bar around the corner, and see where the night takes you soon - there will probably be several good places in town.
Imculada Concepción de María Church
This modern church was designed by the architect Luis Guillermo Rojas Chávez using prefabricated structures. It has three naves, symbolizing the three divine persons (Father, Son and Holy Spirit).
On December 8, 1972, it was consecrated by the Bishop of Tilarán, Román Arrieta Villalobos. At the beginning of the 21st century, with Óscar Valerio Vargas as the priest in charge, the bell tower was installed.
Rincón de la Vieja National Park
Rincon de la Vieja National Park is located in the northwest corner of Costa Rica, in the province of Guanacaste. It has 7 different trails winding through beautiful scenery, breathtaking waterfalls, boiling mud lakes and fumaroles.
The Rincon de la Vieja is an active volcano of 1895 meters high. It is one of the five volcanoes of the Cordillera de Guanacaste. This large national park of 14,127 hectares is ideal for day trips to Guanacaste for those who love hiking and mountain adventure.
Entrance fees and opening hours :
The park is divided into 2 sectors: Santa Maria and Pailas. Las Pailas is the most popular sector.
The Rincon de la Vieja National Park is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 8am to 3pm for the Las Pailas sector. The Santa Maria sector is closed. Only the Las Pailas sector is open.
The entrance fee to Rincon de la Vieja National Park is US$ 16.95 for foreign adults and US$ 5.65 for children aged 6-12 years.
Guanacaste National Park
It is located in the province of Guanacaste, 36 km north of Liberia. It is composed of three sectors: the Maritza sector, the Pitilla sector and the Cacao sector, where the biological stations of the scientific and related groups are located. Access is by four-wheel drive vehicle and reservations must be made.
Residents: ₡1,100; non-residents: $15.
Maritza Sector: located on the slopes of the Orosi volcano at an altitude of 650 m.a.s.l. inside the park, 59 km from the city of Liberia and 37 km from La Cruz, in the northeast of the province of Guanacaste.
Pitilla Sector: the Pitilla biological station is located 58 km northwest of the city of Liberia or 1 km south of the city of La Cruz, on the slopes of Cerro Orosito.
Cacao Sector: it is located on the slopes of the Cacao volcano at an altitude of 1,100 m.a.s.l., inside the park, 61 km from the city of Liberia, in the northwestern part of the province of Guanacaste. The best time of the year to visit is only during the dry season.
Santa Rosa National Park
Santa Rosa National Park is located in one of the driest regions of Costa Rica. This 386 square kilometer park protects the largest remaining expanse of dry tropical forest in Central America.
Located in the far northwest of Costa Rica, Santa Rosa has pristine, secluded beaches and is ideal for bird watching, wild surfing and sea turtle nesting.
There are several beaches, historic buildings, a lookout and trails. There is a wide variety of species such as deer, howler monkeys, white-faced monkeys, among others. This area is also historically significant because of the Battle of Santa Rosa that took place here.
Beaches of Golfo de Papagayo
Panama Beach: Playa Panama is a very nice beach with fine sand, small waves and no rocks, which makes it an ideal place for swimming.
Hermosa Beach: Excellent for watching beautiful sunsets, walking, horseback riding and water sports.
Calzón de Pobre Beach: A small hidden beach Difficult to access but beautiful with its pure white sand and turquoise water.
Penca Beach: Popular for its white sand, located at the northern end of Coco Bay.
Coco Beach: One of the most popular and frequented beaches in Costa Rica, located on a small bay with a beach village with bars and restaurants of all kinds.
Ocotal Beach: One of the best places for snorkeling and diving along the Guanacaste coast.
Prieta Beach: Charming with its white and black sand that wraps around a small blue bay with a small fishing village, the green and shady beach remains isolated and quiet.
Llanos del Cortés Waterfalls
The Llanos de Cortes waterfall is located 20-30 minutes south of Liberia. It is just outside the town of Bagaces and is sometimes known as the Bagaces Waterfall, in the province of Guanacaste.
Discovering this natural beauty is a worthwhile low-budget adventure.
A visit to the Los Llanos de Cortes waterfall is an opportunity to take memorable photos that will delight your friends. You can spend half a day on this refreshing and inexpensive adventure.