Liberia airport is in the Guanacaste region of Costa Rica and has non-stop flights to Atlanta, Houston, Los Angeles, and New York throughout the week. Liberia, then, is an alternative for American travelers who don’t want to fly into San Jose, Costa Rica’s capital, which is regarded as dirty, over-crowded, and dangerous.
I flew into Liberia Friday night and took a taxi to Playa Samara, which is a beach town along the Pacific coast (as opposed to the Caribbean coast). It takes about two hours by car from the airport.
Samara is very much a tourist town. Not only is the beach is beautiful (right out of a postcard), but there’s also a successful Spanish language school here called Intercultura which attracts hoards of Americans and Europeans (mostly Swiss, for whatever reason). It’s a well run operation and I’m taking one week of Spanish classes (4 hours a day) at the school. The classrooms / school are about 30 yards from the beach.
I’m here during the “wet season” which means it’s insanely hot during the day (tropical climate = Ben sweating for like 48 hours straight upon arrival) and usually rains for a few hours in the evening. My second night in Samara it rained so hard that the thunder sounded like bombs exploding right outside the window and an hour later all the power in the town went out. I heard an American ask someone “Does the power go out often here?” and the response was, “No, not so much. Last time it happened was three weeks ago.” The natural reaction when there’s no power is to light candles in your room. What I learned in the Amazon jungle in Ecuador, however, was that candles attract bugs and other insectorial creatures. So, I shunned candles and went to bed early. Sleep proved elusive because with no power there’s no fan and with no fan you die in the heat.
The downside to spending a week in a tourist town is that the restaurants are generally overpriced and there’s more English spoken. The upside is there’s more infrastructure for tourists (such as laundry service and the like) and the town knows tourism drives the economy, so they don’t hassle out-of-towners.