Hi, Liberia airport has flights from US. To visit Arenal and a lovely beach in May you are much better off to fly in and out of Liberia. Roads are generally good in the NW beach areas and on over to Arenal...over all you will do a lot less driving this way. NW Pacific beach coastline has 60 miles of what is called "gold coast" so lots of choices Tamarindo is nice small town on the beach with lots restaurants, nice beach etc or you may choose of the all inclusives big properties in that area...but you will enjoy that area. I invite you to read my Costa Rica Travel blog, all categorized for easy reading. I write articles about Arenal volcano and the area as well as the NW Pacific beaches, and much much more. I believe you will find it very helpful. Im on the web costaricalearn Hope this will help you make up your mind. Regards, Ann
We flew from CLT to LIR in April. We stayed at the JW Marriott (sort of near Tamarindo in Guanacaste region) for a few days then went to Arenal. Took about an hour or so to get from LIR to JWM and then 4 hours from JWM to Arenal. We had a car (rented from Thrifty).
There are a ton of beautiful towns on the coast in Guanacast with excellent restaurants as well.
I recomend Liberia. You are right there and you can move to diferent beach areas, Rincon de la Vieja, Monteverde and even Arenal, planning a loop. The beach area and Rincon de la Vieja is also a good option. You can see turtles in several areas, dive around Papagayo or Catalina Islands.
Liberia would be my choice. www.guachipelin.com
we just got back from our 5th trip to costa rica. i highly recomend flying into liberia and exploring the nicoya peninsula, etc. the drive or ride in and out of san jose is brutal: its hilly, curvy not mountanous but full of semitrucks, literally. going out we were stuck between two averaged 15 mph. going in we were in a line of 20 cars behind a semitruck going 10 mph in the rain. what a stress out. if you fly into san jose stay there and do stuff around there only. no beach. the previous trips we had flown into liberia.
may turned out to be good as it was not as hot or humid and hardly any bugs. we had only been during july and august previously.
the peninsula is beautiful but a bit dyrer than the south. playa de coco, flamingo or tamarindo are all very nice or any place in between. you can seen volcanoes, zip lines, etc just east of liberia.
enjoy, it is still amazing
May can be rainy in the southern part of the country. (we had 41 inches of rain here at our house in the mountains this month) may want to think about going north. I prefer the southern part but if you are on vacation you don't want to be sitting inside all afternoon. Most mornings are nice enough so you can still get out and do some things.
Some airlines do let you fly into one and out of the other.
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