Liberia, Costa Rica, started off as a small, colonial town in the north of the country. While it lacked a large tourism industry, it still sported some of the most breathtaking views around. These little-known views stayed a regional secret for years, ending in 2006 with the expansion of the airport. The Liberia airport, originally a small regional airport offering at most one international flight a week, was given a huge face-lift, including a massive expansion of tarmac parking capacity and a new parallel taxiway. Immediately after the reconstruction, the airport started to increase its flight volume. The Liberia International Airport now receives multiple international flights a day. With this influx of international visitors, the well-kept secrets of Liberia’s beauty came out of hiding.
There’s a good chance you’ll find yourself with a full day to spend in Liberia before your flight home. While most tourists make use of this airport because of its proximity to the Pacific Coast beaches, few choose to linger very long in Liberia. Their rush to find the beaches makes perfect sense, but there is actually quite a lot to see in Liberia itself. With the increased arrivals of tourism, the city has started to develop some incredible geographical and cultural attractions. Don’t let your travel day be a complete waste, head to Liberia a day early and spend time getting to know the city. With just one day in Liberia, you might see a whole new side of Costa Rica.
If you have an entire day at your disposal, you’ll want to take a big trip. Make an entire day trip out of it and spend your time seeing the northern region of the country. Trips for groups of all ages and physical ability levels are easily found in this dynamic city.
Those who haven’t gotten enough wildlife time during their trip will head to Africa Mia Adventure Park. This cage-less zoo may not show you a lot of regional animals, but you’ve see sloths, monkeys, and tropical birds during your Costa Rican jungle hike. Your last day in this tropical country can be spent among zebras, gazelle, and giraffes. Africa Mia is the only large cage-less animal park in the region, and as the administrators don’t believe in caging animals, African wildlife run free around the grounds while you tour the area in a protected vehicle. This is the most natural way to see African wildlife interact, and has proven to be a huge favorite among Costa Rican families. The last day of your adventure can be spent off the beaten tourism trail, having wholesome fun with local families. Your trip will not only lead you through packs of African animals, you’ll also have the opportunity to see northern Costa Rican geography, including a large natural waterfall.
Some people may want to spend the day being as active as possible. Costa Rica is a haven for adventurers and extreme athletes, so it would be a shame to spend even one day sitting around. Head to the Rincon de la Vieja National Park. This will be a park that experienced hikers will not want to miss. You’ll have multiple trails to choose from, some being easier and family-friendly, and others being up to 8 hours of difficult trekking only meant for serious hikers. Regardless of the path you choose, you’ll be walking past a huge waterfall, small volcanic crater, natural hot-water pools, and bubbling mud baths. You’ll spend your day seeing exotic animals and the most breathtaking natural scenes.
If you have a whole day in Liberia, you’ll need to at a couple of times. Don’t let this be down time, instead pack an incredible meal into your itinerary. Liberia has multiple culinary specialties and some incredible and inventive restaurants. You’ll have no problem finding something everyone will enjoy.
Grab your lunch at none other than the Café Liberia. This cozy yet tropical restaurant features beautiful hardwood architecture and the perfect calming vibe for a relaxing lunch. The menu will be a mixture of traditional foods and inventive twists. You can wash down your ceviche meal with an incredible cup of local coffee or a fresh fruit smoothie.
For your last dinner in Costa Rica, you’re going to need a large plate of traditional food. Luckily, you’re in the right city. Head to the Restaurante El Pilon. This establishment is famous for the country’s favorite meal, casados. Casados feature locally prepared rice, beans, a large cut of meat, and a local veggie combo. El Pilon offers huge portions of top quality steak, lamb, chicken, fish, and much more. This will be the perfect goodbye to your time in Costa Rica.
After a couple weeks of beach sports and volcano climbing, it may not be a bad idea to spend your last day in the country with some down time. You can still appreciate Costa Rica’s beauty and culture by sampling finding somewhere to sit with an incredible drink in your hand. It may be true that any street vendor can dish up an incredible fresh smoothie, but you’ll want to find a place where you can spend the day.
If you have time, head to Tio Leo’s Coffee Farm. Not only will Tio Leon himself serve you an incredible cup of on-site grown coffee, but he’ll offer your travel group a tour of the grounds. He’ll explain agriculture techniques and folkloric tradition of the Guanacaste area and answer any questions you might have about the region. Tio Leo is not only an expert on coffee, but on Guanacaste in general, so you’ll want to take advantage of the opportunity to ask any pressing questions. Make sure you visit the gift shop before you go for a couple bags of freshly roasted coffee and any last-minute souvenir buys.
If coffee isn’t your thing, maybe beer is. In the end, there’s nothing more Costa Rican than enjoying a cold beer and watching soccer with some friends. Head to Guano’s sports bar. You’ll have your choice of local beer and cocktails, delicious pizza, and an exciting atmosphere. You can sit around the bar and make friends with other sports fans or take your group out to the courtyard and enjoy your last day in the tropics. This bar can fill up quickly for a weekend game, so make you arrive with your jersey on and a sporting attitude.
Your last day in Costa Rica can be spent learning more about the country. After a long vacation, you’ll surely have some questions about the country’s history and geography. Head to the Guanacaste Museum to get answers before your flight home.
At the Guanacaste Museum, you’ll see the newly updated display of local art, culture, and folklore. The historic building used to be a jail, but is now dedicated toward educating the world about Costa Rican tradition. There’s a lot to see at this stop, but you don’t need to spend all day either. Pop in for a couple expeditions and a chat with one of their knowledgeable guides, it will be a great way to end your tropical vacation.