Matt and Jenn,
Great website – thank you for making all this content available. Our flight arrives in Liberia at 4:30PM and we were thinking of driving that evening to the Santa Teresa/Malpais area — until we learnt about travel time and road conditions. Is it advisable to drive to Santa Teresa the same evening? If not, what options would you recommend – should we consider other towns instead (Tamarindo/Nosara/Samara) or is there an intermediate destination you would recommend that is reachable from Liberia the same evening?
No, it’s not the best idea to drive to Santa Teresa that same night. By the time you get out of the airport and do the rental car paperwork, it will almost be dark (it get’s dark in Costa Rica at around 6pm all year-round). The road starts off as highway but gets more and more rough as you go. You could make it to a beach destination that is about an hour or so away like Tamarindo or Playa Hermosa. But you could also just stay close to the airport and get an early start to Santa Teresa the next morning. The drive is really beautiful in the daytime. The Hilton Garden Inn is a good option if you do that.