Best Places to Stay in Liberia, Guanacaste, Costa Rica

Best Places to Stay in Liberia, Guanacaste

Liberia is the capital city of the Guanacaste province. It still has the charm of a small, quaint traditional Costa Rican town while boasting fast-paced growth in the last decades. One of the main reasons Liberia has become more popular is the Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport, also known as the Liberia Airport or Guanacaste Airport. It’s the second airport of its kind in Costa Rica, with both international and local flights to various parts of the country.
For this reason, Liberia is often a pit stop for travelers. Most stay one or two nights here upon arrival or before leaving Costa Rica. And there is a good reason for that: Liberia is the perfect entryway to some of Guanacaste’s most stunning beaches with some of Costa Rica’s best hotels.
The town of Liberia itself has a limited variety of accommodations on-site. One of the best is the Hilton Garden Inn Guanacaste Airport, which is only a 10-minute drive away from the airport. It’s also the only hotel in the area that offers its own back-and-forth airport shuttle to customers.
Most think of Liberia as a place they won’t spend much time in, but to those interested, Liberia has options for those searching for cultural and nature-focused experiences.
Aerial view of the Hilton Garden in Guanacaste

The White City: History, Music, Food and Souvenirs

Liberia is often dubbed the White City (la Ciudad Blanca) because of the white gravel used once on the town’s roads, as well as the whitewashed colonial houses once very common in the area. The whole town looked very white in those days, and the name has stuck. Many of the buildings, especially the historical ones, are still white to honor that tradition.
The very center of Liberia downtown is delightful for this and many other reasons. It still has the traditional organization of a colonial town: a park with a famous Catholic church in front, surrounded by small shops and restaurants, and across from the Guanacaste Museum. Here is where most people get a sense of Liberia’s atmosphere.
This bustling and ever-growing town has a lot of cultural opportunities if you have a stroll around. The park has an iconic gazebo and often has live music events on the weekends. The restaurants in the area are also great for exploring the food options of Costa Rica. There are chain restaurants available (such as McDonald’s and KFC), but the best always comes from small vendors. Many walk Liberia in their pushcarts, and we highly recommend getting into the Liberia spirit by drinking fresh coconut water (called pipa locally) as well as sugar cane juice (jugo de caña) or the unmissable copos (snow cones) on a hot day. The town is between 15-30 minutes from the airport and the Hilton hotel, making it a great option to visit during an overnight stay.
Liberia is very proud of its heritage and cultural traditions. If you’re interested, the Guanacaste Museum is a good choice to learn more about Costa Rica’s abolishment of the military, featuring artwork from local artists. Liberia is also an excellent place for souvenir shopping. Peruse all the stands and craft stores for that perfect memento. At various times of the year, Liberia also hosts different festivals, sometimes with traditional bull riding, music, and food stands.
One of the biggest attractions in Liberia is nature. Guanacaste has many impressive national parks, and through Liberia, you can take a trip to the most important ones. Santa Rosa National Park protects both unique tropical dry forests as well as historical sites. Rincón de la Vieja National Park protects the volcano of the same name, and it is good for hiking, therapeutic mud baths, and birdwatching. There are also several famous waterfalls you can enjoy nearby. The most visited is Llanos del Cortés. It’s around half an hour away from Liberia, and after a short, vigorous hike you reach a 40-foot high, 49-foot wide waterfall. Here you can swim in the river too. It’s a unique escapade!

What to Know about Liberia Before Visiting

Keep in mind Liberia is mostly considered a “gateway city.” The airport makes it an easy point of access to all the beaches, nature reserves, volcanoes, and hotels in Guanacaste. It’s an area a lot of tourists and travelers go through to go somewhere else, so it might not have as many highlights as other locations, but it has its own charm.
However, Liberia has been expanding and provides all sorts of goods and services. From supermarkets to fast food, pharmacies and hospitals, as well as regular shops and banks, if you need to make a purchase you have where. This can be particularly convenient for families with small children, who constantly need supplies.
To move around, public transportation is accessible (buses to and from the airport run every hour or so) and taxis abound.
Regardless of the type of stay you’ll have in Liberia, there are options to either relax, explore, or go out in search of adventure. Liberia will welcome you always!
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