A friendly city flush with quiet activity, Liberia (pronounced Lee-beh-ria) is your
portal to paradise. Set within the northwestern corner of the Guanacaste province,
this capital city offers a wonderful introduction to Costa Rica’s renowned “Pura
Vida,” or pure life, one that consists of countless attractions, magnificent beaches,
and dazzling natural beauty.
Once deemed a mere pit stop for tourists clamoring to get to Costa Rica’s better
known coastal regions and Guanacaste beaches and rainforests, Liberia is a gem all
its own, and has rightfully emerged as an up-and-coming destination, thanks in part
to its new Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport (Liberia Airport).
Rich in culture, tradition, and history – both Nicaragua and Costa Rica laid claim
to the region at different times in the past – Liberia’s “Tico” flavour and vintage
feel are reminiscent of bygone colonial times. In fact, Liberia is often referred
to as “Ciudad Blanca” (white city) by its residents because the town is dotted with
handsome, whitewashed colonial homes, built using bahareque, a unique white clay
found within the city limits.
Whether in Liberia for a night or a week, the best way to experience the city is
on foot. A lazy stroll down Liberia’s main, Guanacaste tree-lined streets reveals
amiable local merchants and wonderful architecture. Sample local delicacies such
as juego de cana (sugar cane juice) or copez ricos (snow cones), and capture photographic
memories in front the Iglesia Inmaculada Concepcion de Maria, Liberia’s main church,
which faces the Plaza Central, adjacent to which are several little shops, cafes,
Despite its year-round, tropical climate (temperatures seldom dip below 22°C), a
visit to Liberia during the months of February and July is particularly rewarding.
The Fiestas Civicas de Liberia celebrates the city’s culture and tradition, and
occurs during the last week of February. Then, during the month of July, Liberia
hosts its annual expo in celebration of the Guanacaste province’s annexation to
Costa Rica, which took place on July 25th, 1824. The former kicks off with a colourless
fireworks show, known as bombetas, and culminates with a Tico style bullfight, the
gist of which can be summed up as follows: one ring, 300 plus bullfighters, and
one angry bull chasing after them. In contrast, the latter brings color to the streets
of Liberia with parades, horse shows, rodeos, and music bands.
No matter when you choose to visit Liberia, however, you’re guaranteed a real feel
for, and glimpse into the local customs, not to mention the chance at an authentic
Costa Rican experience, one never to be forgot
Some hotels have smoking restrictions and designated areas have
been assigned at some hotels.