Liberia, Costa Rica

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Liberia, Costa Rica

Liberia, both the capital and largest city of Guanacaste province, is — despite its lower profile — the country's major centre for tourism, as well as a regional hub of Costa Rica's northwest. The town attracts visitors from all over the world thanks to its beautiful natural surroundings, interesting architectural heritage, and a rich culture.

The City

Nicknamed 'la ciudad blanca' ("the white city"), after the white gravel that was once used to build the city's roads and the bleached colonial houses, the city no longer retains much of its white hue, despite many of the buildings still standing. Thousands of tourists flock to Liberia every year, and in contrast to old-time travelers who used to pitch their tents here centuries ago, the visitors of today see Liberia not merely as a stopover on a longer journey, but a prime destination for experiencing the rich and diverse culture of the country's high north. Liberia experienced around 150 years of a most interesting history: founded in 1769 as a strategic settlement between the roads leading from Rivas, Bagaces and Nicoya, the city not only formed itself without a legal act, but was also caught in between the countries of Costa Rica and Nicaragua. Holding ties with Nicaragua until 1826, Liberia (formerly Guanacaste, until 1854) grew in importance that further increased after being adjoined to Costa Rica, and it has held the status ever since. Today, Liberia's city centre features modern buildings as well as multiple attractions of its unique cultural heritage, while the surroundings boast beautiful nature with a rich flora and fauna.

Top Day Trips from Liberia

The town of Liberia is your gateway to countless amazing destinations. A short bus or car trip will take you to beaches, waterfalls, national parks, wildlife, adventure tours, and plenty of other exciting places. Here are just some of the most exciting and convenient day trip ideas for your next trip.

Do & See

With its historic buildings and a growing cultural scene, Liberia boasts a lot of opportunities to learn about its rich history and culture — start your stroll at Calle Real, Liberia's oldest street, to see where it all began, and where renovation and expansion are already planned ahead. The town makes an excellent launch pad for exploring the nature and beaches nearby (and farther afield), as well as getting around the impressive province of Guanacaste for a deep dive into the diversity of Costa Rica and its unfathomably beautiful nature.


Dining in Liberia can be as distinct as its culture, and as most Costa Ricans love good food, dining out can become a great opportunity to mingle with locals. Make sure to try jugo de caña (sugar cane juice) and copos (snow cones), and take a stroll around town to locate your own hidden gems of authentic cooking.


The Guanacaste region has excellent coffee. The dramatic mountainous geography gives local coffee beans a smooth body with light acidity and defined bitter and salty notes. Third wave coffee shops have only now started popping up in Liberia, but that doesn't mean that coffee connoisseurs will be left wanting. Plenty of cafes serve cups of delicious liquid gold prepared the traditional way. Many cafes also serve light meals.

Bars & Nightlife

Nightlife in Liberia happens — outside the resorts — in bars and small pubs, neighbourhood dive bars where locals and tourists come to socialise over a drink. Start off at a bar around the corner, and see where the night will soon take you — it will likely be across several good spots in town.


While the manifold variety of restaurants and cafes will introduce you to Costa Rican food customs, the city's shops will allow for a glance at local culture and craft tradition. Stroll along the town's streets, and drop into tiny shops that draw your attention.

Tourist Information