The city of Liberia, located at the center of this popular province and only 40 minutes from the Pacific coast, is developing itself as the economic and service center for this area. Recently completed projects in Liberia include the Plaza Centro Liberia and Plaza Santa Rosa, both popular retail centers. Driven by this momentum, the Costa Rican government has partnered with private investors to position the city for the future. A $300-million mixed-used development, Solarium, is currently under construction across from the Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport. When completed in 2010, Solarium is expected to include residential condominiums, office space, retail space, restaurants, and free-trade zones. Other projects under construction include Villa Guanacaste, a business park; and Plaza Futura, a business park with retail space. The Guanacaste Country Club, currently under construction, is just one of several upscale residential developments that have been proposed or already broken ground near the city.
Increasing tourism and a developing infrastructure could both enliven and put pressure on the city of Liberia, which currently lacks quality lodging facilities. While the city generates a significant amount of commercial and leisure demand, beach resorts located within an hour of Liberia offer luxury accommodations that siphon much of this demand away. Upcoming hotels, such as the proposed Hilton Garden Inn and the proposed Holiday Inn Express, will help the city accommodate travelers. However, additional new facilities and/or major renovations of existing ones will be necessary in order to satisfy the needs of travelers to this city and to keep up with the forecasted increase in demand. As the Guanacaste Province matures as a popular tourist destination, Liberia will continue to develop as its economic and service support center. Moreover, with development of first-class hotels, retail, and recreational facilities in the city, Liberia promises to be not just a gateway for this tropical country, but a destination sought on merits of its own.