Liberia Costa Rica is the capital city of Guanacaste, a region considered by many to be Costa Rica’s ‘wild west’. Liberia Costa Rica isn’t usually considered a primary tourist destination in its own right, but many travelers make Liberia their home base for explorations of Guanacaste’s popular Santa Rosa National Park, as well as Guanacaste and Ricon de la Vieja National Parks. Knowing where to eat in Liberia, along with the best places to stay and shop in this bustling capital is essential.
Liberia Costa Rica is a beautiful city with ample colonial charm. Founded in 1769, the city features some of the most beautiful colonial architecture in all of Costa Rica. The streets are narrow and lined with adobe buildings with red tile roofs and large second story windows and balconies. Wooden doors and woodwork are typically heavy and ornately carved in the Spanish style. Two square blocks facing the church form a central plaza where citizens and visitors gather and plan their days.
Accommodations in Liberia Costa Rica are modestly priced and comfortable. The most luxurious choice is the Best Western El Sitio Hotel and Casino. Located just a half block off the main road to Santa Cruz, the Best Western El Sito features a restaurant and bar, an in-ground pool, a well-equipped gym, and authentic, hacienda style décor with cool tile floors. Native Costa Ricans like to vacation at the El Sito as well, and the prices are quite moderate.
Closer in, travelers looking for a budget base from which to set up local explorations have a variety of excellent optionss. The Hotel Boyeros in Liberia Costa Rica is older than the El Sito but quite comfortable, and also features Spanish décor. A large courtyard at Hotel Boyeros features two swimming pools and some playground equipment. The coolest rooms are upstairs.
For clean functional rooms at rock bottom prices try the Hotel Guanacaste, especially popular with students, or the humble little pension Posada del Tope, a beautiful restored Colonial home with shuttered windows facing the street, and a traditional red tile roof.
Good choices for where to eat in Liberia Costa Rica abound, and the shopping in town is well worth an afternoon excursion. Pizzeria Pronto and Pizzeria de Beppe are two of the most popular pizza and pasta restaurants. For a good steak and other thick fresh cuts of broiled meat try Steakhouse La Tablita. El Café serves French food and European coffees, and Restaurante Paseo Real offers some of the best tico dishes in the city, and is located right off the Liberia Costa Rica town square.
A walk through downtown Liberia Costa Rica makes a pleasant afternoon, especially the area surrounding the town square, which is packed with classic examples of traditional colonial buildings. The Sabenero Museum serves as both an information center for Liberia Costa Rica and nearby attractions, and also offers an exhibit displaying old photos of local colonial life and history.
At the end of a long day, tourists feeling homesick or tired will find a modern, air-conditioned shopping mall on the southern edge of town, complete with a movie theater and North American-style food court—a perfect place to recharge and regroup before setting off on another exotic Costa Rican adventure.