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Liberia Costa Rica - gateway to the North Pacific Coast and north-western National Parks of Costa Rica.   by Julia Thurston

Liberia International Airport is growing in popularity as an entry point to Costa Rica, providing a more amenable alternative for the north western region than San Jose is able to offer. The airport is as yet (although redevelopment is on the cards by 2007), reminiscent of a somewhat provincial domestic airport where you must make your own way across the scorching tarmac to the small airport building. Yet don't let this put you off! The benefits include a rapid exit and less time through customs, an instant view of the Costa Rican landscape with volcanoes in the distance and nature all around you. On exiting the airport, there is no trouble negotiating your way through unknown foreign city roads in your unfamiliar rental car, as your only options are a straightforward left or right when you meet the highway.

From Liberia Airport you can be at the beach in as little as 20 minutes. Playa del Coco (the closest) is an old fishing village, that provides one of the best locations from which to enjoy a spot of diving or fishing on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica. A little further away (about 45 minutes) is the Papagayo Peninsula, renowned for its beauty and the pleasure of having the largest area of all inclusive hotels in Costa Rica. This area is earmarked for a huge investment injection mostly from foreign investors who are seeing big development prospects here. Heading south you will find the famous beach of Tamarindo, just a hour and a half from Liberia. When you compare this to the 4 hour trip from San Jose, you can see the benefits especially for those whose time is short.

Liberia also provides an access point to some of the best Costa Rican National Parks and reserves. Santa Rosa National Park, the last remaining piece of dry forest in the region also contains a Costa Rican historical site, famous for the rebuff of the north american filibuster William Walker who attempted to invade Costa Rica in 1856. The park is also home to the famous Witch's Rock, renowned among surfers all around the world.

Just 45 minutes from Liberia is the Rincon de la Vieja National Park, home to the active volcano Rincon de la Vieja. The park includes several trails that pass by fumaroles and boiling mud pots. You can also reach the crater of this volcano and look down upon the acidic lake while taking the utmost care not to lose your footing!

The city of Liberia itself is a welcome relief for many foreigners from the chaos of San Jose. It bears the mark of a relaxed, provincial town, but it one awaking from its long slumber. The Guanacaste region's growth as a tourist destination has allowed for an increase in employment opportunities in Liberia, the business center for the region. This, along with the several university colleges in the town, has meant that a more vibrant, youthful culture is making itself apparent. This is especially evident in the proliferation of bars with a more modern, western style to add to the flavor of the local nightlife.

Liberia, is a town in the making and one hopes that it will continue in its beneficial growth to aid the local population and to delight visitors to Costa Rica.

About the Author

The author, Julia Thurston, lives in Liberia and works through Liberia Costa Rica Info where you can find information on hotels, transportation and tours in Liberia, the North West Pacific beaches and the Guanacaste region.

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