Liberia, Costa Rica is a great, central place to fly into if you are looking for both jungle and beaches. While most people may fly into Liberia and then drive to a destination, some might choose to spend a day or two there. What is there to do in Liberia? Well, there are actually a few fun things to do in Liberia, Costa Rica.
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Here are a few fun things to do in/near Liberia. Some we were able to do, and some we missed and would love to do next visit! I’ve researched (and experienced) some great things to do with kids near Liberia and would love to hear if you get to do them.
Where is Liberia, Costa Rica?
Liberia is located inside the western coast of Costa Rica. It is a short drive from the most popular beaches and resorts of Costa Rica.
Which Airport Should You Fly Into in Costa Rica?
If you’ve begun to plan your trip to Costa Rica, you’ve probably seen two main airports: San Jose and Liberia. Which one should you fly into?
It really depends what you’d like to see. Liberia is definitely more convenient if you are heading to the beaches of Guanacaste. Some beaches, like Playa Hermosa, are as close as 30 minutes away and Playa Flamingo is an hour. From San Jose, the same beaches would be 4-6 hours away.
However, if you are wanting to experience beaches on the east side of Costa Rica, then San Jose is definitely closer.
To visit La Fortuna, either airport is roughly the same distance.
We chose to fly into San Jose strictly because it was much more affordable than Liberia. This is often (but not always) the case. San Jose is the larger city and more central if you are exploring all over Costa Rica.
Even if you fly into Liberia, you can make the most of your drive from Liberia to La Fortuna!
Check out these fun coloring pages around Costa Rica!
Is Liberia worth Visiting in Costa Rica?
While Liberia has some cool things to see in town and great food, I would recommend just a night (maybe 2) in Liberia. There are some awesome adventures nearby, but the reason you came to Costa Rica is probably not for the things to do in Liberia.
That said, if you have 1 extra night to spare, I do recommend spending a day in Liberia. There are plenty of things to choose from to find adventure for a day.
Fun Things to do in Liberia with Kids
Disclaimer: Most of the really fun thing to do are not actually IN Liberia, but Liberia is a great base to stay in while visiting these nearby attractions.
Visit Parque Mario Cañas Ruiz
Located in Liberia
This area of Liberia is a great place to find street vendors, roam around, see the popular Central Church of Liberia, or grab something to eat. It’s in the heart of Liberia, really giving you a feel for the town.
Enjoy handmade arts and crafts for sale and food vendors. At Christmas time, you’ll find a large tree lit up in the plaza in front of the church. The church’s interior is lit up at this time of year as well, but beautiful to see year round.
Stand Under the Guanacaste Tree
Located in Liberia
The national tree of Costa Rica is the Guanacaste. The official “Arból de Guanacaste” (Guanacaste tree) is located in Liberia.
What makes it so great? Well, it’s huge. It takes up a whole lane on the road with its branches, and would take about 7 people holding hands to wrap around its trunk.
If you happen to be in Liberia June 15, you’ll get to enjoy Día del Arbol, or Day of the Tree.
Read more about Guanacaste’s tree history.
Ponderosa Adventure Park
Distance from Liberia: 15 km, 15 minutes
For fun, unique things to do in Liberia, you’ve got to try this safari!
I had looked into going to the Ponderosa Adventure Park, but wasn’t sure it would be worth it. At the last minute, we decided we would give it a try after all.
It was SO. MUCH. FUN. It was such a great thing to do in Liberia with kids.
Ponderosa Adventure Park is actually located just outside of Liberia in El Salto.
The main highlight of the park is the safari tour. It is so fun getting to climb aboard and be driven through large open spaces filled with animals like zebras, giraffes, African cattle, and more. And you can feed them.
But it’s not just a safari, you can also go to a waterfall, zipline, kayak, or horseback ride (age restrictions apply to some activities).
Check out my full post on the Ponderosa Adventure Park if this sounds like something your family would love.
Rincón de la Vieja National Park
Distance from Liberia: 25 km, 37 minutes
We had big plans to go to Rincón de la Vieja National Park with the kids, but ended up making other plans instead.
We would have loved to do the Sendero La Pailas. This trail is just over 2 miles and takes you past some boiling mudpots, which I thought the kids would really enjoy.
There are other trails as well that take you past some pretty impressive waterfalls. The trails are a little longer and may be more suitable for older kids, or at least kids who are accustomed to longer hikes.
The park is open 8am to 3pm
You can make reservations ahead of time through the official park website.
Suggested Tour: Mud Baths, Rincon de la Vieja, Hot Springs (Ages 5+)
Visit Llanos de Cortez Waterfall – fun things to do in Liberia
Distance from Liberia: 27 km, 22 minutes
We really enjoyed visiting Llanos de Cortez waterfall with kids on our family vacation to Costa Rica.
Llanos de Cortez (“Llanos de Cortes,” locally) is located in Bagaces. It’s not far off highway 1 and makes a great morning out.
A large parking lot includes a changing area and bathrooms and it’s just a short hike (with a bunch of stairs) down to this incredible waterfall. If you are chasing waterfalls in Costa Rica, do not miss this one! It’s an easy waterfall to get to with kids.
Read about our full experience at Llanos de Cortez Waterfall (and how not to get tricked into being led to the unofficial entrance!) This is definitely one of the fun things to do near Liberia with kids.
Llanos De Cortez, Hanging bridges, and sloths in this tour
Take a Mud Bath and Other Adventures- things to do in Liberia
Distance from Liberia: 20 km, 30 minutes
Taking a mud bath was high on my list. At Hotel Hacienda Guachipelín, you can take a nice, messy mud bath and then soak in the natural hot springs. What kid wouldn’t like being encouraged to play in mud?
You don’t have to be staying at Hacienda Guachipelín to experience the mud. Day passes are available and include options for mud baths, hot springs, nature tours, zip-lining,…or if you have older kids, you can do waterfall canyoning or tubing down the river.
La Leona Waterfall (one of the beautiful things to do in Liberia)
Distance from Liberia- 15 km, 20 minutes
Le Leona is on the way to Hacienda Guachipelín and Rinon de la Vieja, so if you’d like to pack in a couple experiences along the same route, this is a good one.
Like Río Celeste, Le Leona also takes on a beautiful blue hue (best blue from December to April. Otherwise you risk brown waters during rainy season).
Unlike Río Celeste, La Leona is much less known to tourists.
La Leona is a gorgeous waterfall, housed within a canyon for a truly unique experience.
The only way to see La Leona is on a guided tour. This is because it can be hard to find on your own. The hike to get to La Leona is around 6 km and takes around 3 hours, but can vary based on the tour you use.
Can kids do this? Yes! Well, it’s required that kids are at least 4 years old to visit La Leona. There is obviously some hiking and even going into the water that is required, so it’s not ideal for babies or really little ones.
If you take kids, you need to book a private tour so that you can take the hike at a slower pace.
If your kids are older and ready for an adventurous hike, you can do the regular tour with a small group.
What do to in Liberia with Kids
While Liberia may not be your main destination in Costa Rica, it makes a great stopping point on your way from La Fortuna to Guanacaste. It's a great chance to stretch out and explore some lesser visited areas, like Rincón de la Vieja. If you have younger kids, I would definitely recommend the Ponderosa Adventure Park.
Either way, at a least a day is great for finding fun things to do in Liberia, Costa Rica with kids can be a lot of fun!
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