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LOOKING FOR A TRAVEL ADVENTURE IN ALAJUELA?
Explore hotels, cabins, rent a cars, restaurants, bars, volcanoes and cafés by locality.
22 Km from San José, 12 Km from Heredia and 37 Km from the peak of the Poás Volcano. A pleasant city that is famous for its good climate, it is located more to the west, it is protected from the rain from the Atlantic and is 200m below the level of San José, and the weather is a little warmer; it stay at between 20 º C and 24 º C all year round. This is why they say that Alajuela is the best place for the elderly. The extreme kindness and good humor of the inhabitants is also one of the main characteristics of the city. The numbering of the streets in Alajuela is much the same as that in San Jose.
Choose between these 20 exiting destinations in the Alajuela area
Choose between these 7 exiting destinations in the Heredia area
Choose between these 9 exiting destinations in the Cartago area
COSTA RICAN CENTRAL VALLEY AREA MAP
WHERE TO GO & WHAT TO DO
You are about to learn about 20 of the most important and exiting places Alajuela.
22 Km from San José, 12 Km from Heredia and 37 Km from the peak of the Poás Volcano. A pleasant city that is famous for its good climate, it is located more to the west, it is protected from the rain from the Atlantic and is 200m below the level of San José, and the weather is a little warmer; it stay at between 20 º C and 24 º C all year round. This is why they say that Alajuela is the best place for the elderly. The extreme kindness and good humor of the inhabitants is also one of the main characteristics of the city. The numbering of the streets in Alajuela is much the same as that in San Jose. There is a central avenue that goes from east to west and a main street that goes from north to south. To the north of Central Avenue, uneven avenues run parallel, to the south even numbered avenues run parallel. To the east of Central Street there are uneven streets and to the west even numbered streets. Framed by Central & 1st Avenues and Central and 2nd Street is the Central Park, the authentic heart of Alajuela, a real mango orchard where there are also some palm trees. One of the main past times of the cities residents is sit in the park and people watch, giving nicknames to passersby.
2. VOLCANO POAS NATIONAL PARK
+ 506 2484-2424.+ 506 2482-2165. http://www.sinac.go.cr/ES/ac/accvc/pnvp/Paginas/default.aspx
E-mail: email@example.com Opening times from May to December 08:00 a.m to 03:30 p.m and from January to April 08:00 a.m to 03:30 p.m, Monday to Thursday from 08:00 a.m to 04:30 p.m, Friday and Sunday. With an extension of 6506 hectares, 2708 meters above sea level. Average temperature 12°C. Created on the 30th January 1971, one of the oldest and most famous in Costa Rica located 37 Km to the north of Alajuela. The indigenous name of the Poás Volcano was Chibuzú.
The Spanish gave the name Botos or Votos; a reference to a tribe that inhabited the plains between San Carlos and Sarapiquí and that fled when the colonizers arrived. Nevertheless this name was not used again until the middle of the XIX century and in its place the volcano began to be called Poás or Púas, today San Pedro de Poás. The main attraction of the Poás Volcano is that it has remained active since before the first official registers in 1928. There are three main periods of activity: from 1888 to 1895, from 1903 to 1912, from 1952 to 1954. At present its eruptions vary in intensity and levels of danger.
Is the canton of Grecia in the province of Alajuela in Costa Rica. It is also the name of the distrito (Spanish, meaning “district”) that includes the city. The district of Grecia covers an area of 6.86 km²,and has a population of 15,457. The city lies at an elevation of 999 meters above sea level in the foothills of the Cordillera Central on the eastern edge of the Central Valley. The city, which was once named “the cleanest city in Latin America, is 20 kilometers northwest of the provincial capital city of Alajuela, 27 kilometers from Juan Santamaría International Airport, and 45 kilometers from the national capital city of San José. Grecia is the first toucan to receive a prosthetic beak, named Grecia because of the name of this city where the bird was found injured prior to its admission to the Rescue Institute at Zoo Ave, south of the city.
Grecia is noted for its unique church, Iglesia de la Nuestra Señora de las Mercedes, made entirely of pre-fabricated steel plates painted red. There are several urban legends about this church. One recounts how the church was donated by some foreign country, and sent to Greece as a gift, but was wrongly shipped to Grecia, Costa Rica. Another legend states that the final destination of the church was the city of Punta Arenas in Chile but was disembarked, by mistake, in the port of Puntarenas, Costa Rica and later sent to the city of Grecia where it was assembled. However, records clearly show that the instruction, shipment, and construction of the church were a coordinated effort of Grecia’s population, the Catholic Church, the Costa Rican government, and Alejo E. Jiménez Bonnefil (1858-1922), a Costa Rican coffee producer and exporter who was in charge of commanding and importing the church from the manufacturer Ateliers de la Société de Couvillet in Belgium, in the late 19th Century.
Is the canton of Valverde Vega also known as Sarchí in the province of Alajuela in Costa Rica. The district of Sarchí covers an area of 15.11 km², including the central area of the city. It has a population of 6,912. The district of Sarchí Sur covers an area of 6.51 km², and has a population of 4,659. The city lies at an elevation of 1000 meters above sea level on the slopes of the Cordillera Central (Central Mountain Range) at the eastern edge of the Central Valley. It is 27 kilometers northwest of the provincial capital city of Alajuela, and 46 kilometers from the national capital city of San Jose. Sarchí is Costa Rica’s most famous crafts center. The town offers more than 200 stores and small family-operated woodworking factories producing wooden bowls and other tableware, fold-up rocking chairs of wood and leather, and a wide variety of kitschy items. The most popular items on sale are “carretas”, elaborately painted oxcarts that traditionally carried coffee from the highlands down to the port on the Pacific coast. Originally was settled by Ambrosio del Jesús Alfaro Avilés in the first half of XIX century, the earliest reference to it in 1836 The original nahuatl name Sarchí means “potrero” or open field used to keep horses and cattle, the first settlers found it in that condition, and surrounded by tropical rain forest. Reference from Evly Inksetter, the first county historian. The name of Sarchí comes from the Aztec word “xalachi”, which means “relax place” or “down the sand place” The town was granted the title of “ciudad” (city) by a law of September 21, 1963.
Church of Sarchi
It was also the place where serial furniture manufacture started in Costa Rica, around 1890 decade with a design of Daniel Alfaro Corrales, and later mass-produced by his brother Pedro Juvenal Alfaro Corrales, those furnitures, in special the chairs are known as “sillas sarchí” and are easily recognized because most of the parts were turned. Eloy Alfaro Corrales, the youngest brother was partner with Pedro Juvenal, but later started his own business of Oxcart making when he bought the workshop of Sem Perez who in turn bought it from Hacienda La Eva. Around 1900-03 Daniel Alfaro Corrales also designed the modern and improved oxcart including the segmented wooden wheel in use today from the previous very crude and primitive platform known as “Cureña”, in the particular case of the wheel is stronger than the original one piece, or the lightly improved three pieces design. The canton was established by a decree Number 766 on October 26, 1949. It is named in honor of Dr. Carlos Luis Valverde Vega, a medic and founder of the Unión Médica Nacional (National Medical Union)who was the first death of the 1948 revolution. The members of the board that struggle to accomplish it are: Samuel Alfaro Alpízar, Efraím Zamora Castro, Dauve Alfaro Castro, Pedro Alfaro Zamora, Hebly Inkseter Soto, Otoniel Alfaro Alfaro and Eliécer Pérez Conejo and they are known today as the founders. The Canton was inaugurated on January 1, 1950, after several years of struggle.
5. BAJO DEL TORO AMARILLO
This beautiful village is located 24 Km to the north of Sarchí with some 300 inhabitants, drive towards the north of Sarchí, passing by the park, look for the gas station and some 500 meters north head towards the stadium, then take a right turn, from there you will begin to go uphill on the main highway a few kilometers along you will find La Luisa and continue straight on, this trip will take you through beautiful mountains, when you begin your decent you will find the small but beautiful and picturesque village, those that live in the area call it the Swiss Alps.
There is a bus that departs from Santa Isabel de Río Cuarto at 06:30 a.m, destined for Grecia passing by Toro Amarillo and returning to Grecia at 03:30 p.m,1.60 US$. Tourists can enjoy trout fishing, cabins and horse riding as well a walks along mountain paths and past the four splendid waterfalls. The trout fishing establishment does not charge an entry fee, you only pay 4 US$ per kilo of trout and in the same place they will prepare and grill the fish. You can also go canoeing or free fall, attached to a harness you will descend down a wall of 75 meters and then free fall for 25 meters into the Toro Waterfall. Only for people over 15 years of age. Opening times from 10:00 a.m to 04:00 p.m, price per person 18 US$ and visit to the waterfall 1.15 US$.
The city of fruit
It is located in Tárcoles Valley. Irrigated from the west to the east by the Río Tárcoles. This area has very picturesque landscapes, and the people are friendly, noble and hardworking. Located 67 kilometers from San José. Orotina is located a privileged area as it located in the tourist corridor of the Central Pacific, that consists of the protected areas such as the Carara reserve and Manuel Antonio National Park; coastal areas with beaches such as Herradura, Jaco, Punta Leona, Doña Ana, Hermosa Beach, Esterillos and much much more, these beaches are 30 or 60 minutes journey, you will also be able to see the Conservation Project Iguana Park, the hot springs, Chompipe mountain. The hammock bridge over the Río Grande de Tárcoles and Río Machuca.
8. SAN MATEO
The canton of San Mateo in the province of Alajuela in Costa Rica. It is also the name of the distrito that includes the city. The district of San Mateo covers an area of 64.89 km², and has a population of 2,678. The city lies at an elevation of 254 meters above sea level in coastal lowlands near the central Pacific coast. It is 31 kilometers east of the port of Caldera, 44 kilometers southwest of the provincial capital city of Alajuela and 53 kilometers from the national capital city of San Jose. The canton covers an area of 125.90 square kilometres and has a population of 7,600. The northern border of the elongated province is formed by the Río Jesús María, Río Machuca, Río Agua Agría, Río Calera and Quebrada Zapote. The Quebrada Concepción, Río Grande de Tárcoles and the Río Machuca establish the southern border. Cerro La Lana is a landmark that delineates a northeast tip of the canton.
9. SAN RAMON
It has an extension of 990.63 square kilometers. To the north it borders with San Carlos; to the south with Esparza, San Mateo and Atenas; to the east with San Carlos, Alfaro Ruiz, Naranjo and Palmares, to the west with Tilarán, Miramar and Esparza. The climate in San Ramón is usually humid with temperatures ranging from between 17ºC to 22°C approximately. The majority of land in the area is pasture land, followed by forest and farm land. The city of San Ramón, located in the central district, it is 1.057 meters above sea level.
10. ZARCERO - ALFARO RUIZ
Alfaro Ruiz County: 1.736 meters above sea level. 20 Km to the north of Naranjo and 69 Km from San José, 48 Km from Alajuela and 30 Km from San Carlos (Ciudad Quesada). When the road was opened to the north of San Carlos and Los Guatusos the pioneers found a beautiful valley where there where a lot of zarzamora (blackberry) plants; they began to call the area El Zarcero. Later on a house was built so that travelers would have somewhere to stay. It was here where people began to settle and it grew into a small village. The inhabitants found fertile soil to cultivate fruit and vegetable crops. The climate is pleasant throughout the year, although a little fresh because of the altitude. Average temperatures are between 16ºC and 18ºC; and this is why delicious peaches are grown here, a rare fruit in the rest of the country. Vegetable and flowers for exportation are also grown here. Zarcero is also known for its dairy products, such as a variety of fresh cheese from palm. A dessert also known as stuffed grapefruit is also very popular as well as peach conserves. The population is surrounded by green mountains covered in small forests of the slender cypress trees. The most visited place in Zarcero is the famous park, located opposite the church, with a large variety of flowers and bushes and shrubs, sculpted into human figures, animals and planes.
Is the sixth canton in the province of Alajuela in Costa Rica. The canton covers an area of 126.62 square kilometres, and has a population of 45,005. The Río Grande forms the western and southern boundaries of the canton. The Río Espino is on the north, and the Río Colorado and Río Molino establish the eastern border. The canton was established by a decree of March 9, 1886. It is named for the citrus plantations found in the area.
Valley of Orchids
It is a welcoming valley, situated in the foothills of the Miner Cordillera, known by the name of Montes del Aguacate. It is surrounded by mountains and hills, whose heights range from 1200 and 1480 meters above sea level, reaching a maximum height at the border with San Ramón, and its lowest point being the Rio Grande, at 850 meters above sea level. Although the colonizers from Palmares where those that initially settled here and founded the population of San Ramón, Palmares was a district that went by the name of Barrio Mercedes and on the 7th of November it became independent from Parish of Patronato de San Anselmo de Cantorbery, which is why Patrona Titular Nuestra Señora de Mercedes was changed to the Patron Saint of the Bishop of that time, Monseñor Anselmo Llorente and La fuente. This was established with decree 69 on the 30th of July 1888 supported by Monseñor Esteban Echeverri Cura Parroco from the area. It was firstly named Valle de los Palmares, because of the abundance of palm trees that surrounded the area and where used by the first inhabitants to build roofs on their homes.
13. CIUDAD QUESADA - SAN CARLOS
The official name of this village is Ciudad Quesada and is known as San Carlos, buses are usually marked with this name. It was created on the 26th of September 1911, it was converted into the tenth county of the province of Alajuela, and since then it has become a fine and prestigious village. With an extension of 3.347,98 Km2. Its climate is classified as tropical and rainy, mainly in the lower northern region, with an average yearly temperature of 25ºC. The highest areas to the south have a climate that is tropical and humid of 20ºC. The Pre-Columbian period that presently corresponds to San Carlos, it was inhabited by the indigenous. The name, according to popular stories, was because of Nicaraguans that came from San Carlos in Nicaragua, at the beginning of the XIX century and came into the area via the Río San Juan that the indigenous named Cutris, but the Nicaraguans named San Carlos, a name that previously referred to the region as a whole.
Is the 13th canton in the province of Alajuela in Costa Rica. The canton covers an area of 1,580.67, and has a population of 48,910. Upala Cantón is bordered by Nicaragua on the north, the Río Las Haciendas on the northwest, Río Rito on the southeast, and the Cordillera de Guanacaste on the south. The Rincón de la Vieja, Santa María, Miravalles and Tenorio volcanoes are landmarks along the southern border. The canton was established by a decree of March 17, 1970. Upala is the capital city of the canton of Upala in the province of Alajuela in Costa Rica. It is also the name of the distrito (district) that includes the city. The district of Upala covers an area of 245.62 km2 , and has a population of 13,518. The city lies at an elevation of 48 meters above sea level in the northwest corner of the San Carlos Plain (Llanura de San Carlos) in northern Costa Rica, 76 kilometers southeast of La Cruz, 124 kilometers northwest of Ciudad Quesada, 195 kilometers from the provincial capital city of Alajuela, and 214 kilometers from the national capital city of San José. Upala is a supply center for cattle ranchers and rice growers in the area. A hospital, bank, medical clinic, pharmacy and gas station are here. There is a busy commercial marketplace in the town center where vendors sell fruits, vegetables and a wide array of other home-grown products. Several small restaurants share the market area, and there are other restaurants and a few places to stay in the town.
This village is situated on the extreme north of the northern plains, 9 km south of the border with Nicaragua. There are dirt roads that cross the border, but they are not official entry points to Costa Rica or Nicaragua. Sometimes there is passport control next to the bridge on the Southern side of the village, arriving via San Rafael de Guatuso, and another close to Canalete via the Cañas highway, from the Interamerican. This is the center of the cattle and rice industry; some Guatuso Indigenous lives here. The secondary road to Upala that leads from the Interamerican opened in the eighties, which offers good connections with the buses from San José.
15. LOS CHILES - CAÑO NEGRO
Distance from San José, 233 kilometers. It was declared a county on the 17th of March 1970. With a surface of 1.358.88 Km2, and 43 meters altitude, it is bordered with Nicaragua, 3 Km, to the west with the counties of Upala and Guatuso and to the east and the south with the county of San Carlos. The main road is asphalt and is in good condition. The main attractions are the wetlands and the Gaspar fish considered to be a living fossil, that existed 120.000 years ago, you can only find these in the Río San Juan and its streams. It looks like half a crocodile and half a fish and can reach 1.5 meters in length. Los Llanos Medio Queso are located in the northern region of Huetar, specifically the alluvial plains, that cover the lowest part of the Río Medio Queso, with an extension of approximately 35 and 40 km2, it is considered to be an area of great ecological importance, because of the rich biodiversity of species.
Los Guatusos Plains
The counties of Upala, Los Chiles and Guatuso. San José is 236 Km from Upala, 233 Km from Los Chiles and 245 Km from San Rafael de Guatuso. Upala, the main city, is situated on the left bordering the Rio Zapote, flowing from the Nicaragua Lake, which you can get to by boat. It is a very picturesque village, as the river flows past houses, forming pools where the locals bathe. The rivers in the area are abundant in Guapote and Gaspar fish.
The area of San Rafael de Guatuso
It is known locally as Guatuso, which crosses the Río Frío, and is located 19 km to the northeast of Nuevo Arenal, arriving here via a dirt road of 40 km to the northeast of La Fortuna, via an asphalt road with panoramic views of the Arenal Volcano to the south. Some 10km before San Rafael, there is a gravel route of 10 km that leads to Venado, a good place for a one day visit, there are also cabins here.
17. THE VENADO CAVERNS
Located in the district of Venado, 3 km to the east, on the road to Upala, only 67 km from Ciudad Quesada. The Venado caverns where discovered in 1962, when the first expedition was made to the 350 meter cave and in 1969 when three explorations were made and they discovered 1.550 meters of 8 different caverns. In 1991 another exploration was made and they found four more caves, the total area of caves that have been discovered is more than 2000 meters. In the different caves there are stalactites and stalagmites and there is enough room for tourists to be able to go in and see them. You can explore this area for, 5 US$ entry, they are situated 4 km to the south of Venado. You can contract local guides in the village, or enroll on one of the circuits that the local hotels organize in Caño Negro or La Fortuna. There is a bus that leaves in the afternoon from Ciudad Quesada. Before you get to San Rafael; the route crosses an Indigenous Reserve of the Guatuso. In the rainy season, you can rent a boat to navigate the Rió Frio from San Rafael to the Caño Negro Refuge for Forest Wildlife. Some 5 km to the northeast of Guatuso, there is a 10km road which begins with a sign that says “Los Teñideros.” This route leads to the Río Celeste.
18. TENORIO VOLCANO NATIONAL PARK
+ 506 2200-0135 + 506 8895-9671 + 506 2200-0135 + 506 2402-1330 + 506 2200-0176 + 506 8359-6235. Public Service Hours: from 08:00 a.m. to 04:00 p.m. / Schedule of entry to the Park trails from 08:00 a.m. to 02:00 p.m. to complete the tour / from 02:00 p.m. to 03:00 p.m. pm Only Catarata / Entrance Fees 10 US $ for foreign visitors not resident in Costa Rica, except Central American / 1.50 US $ for national visitors and residents in CR / 0.55 US $ for primary and secondary students.
19. CELESTE RIVER
Right in the center of the mountains, with crystal water, which are an intense turquoise blue there are several hot springs along the way that are very inviting places for tourists to relax. This is the Río Celeste de Guatuso, which is also known as Teñidero. Located on the northeast foothills of the Tenorio Volcano, some 26 kilometers from San Rafael de Guatuso. The color of the water is a product of a dye that runs from the rocks and gives it an attractive tone. To see this you will need to take the road in between San Rafael de Guatuso and Upala County; although, if you want to walk through the mountains to the source it is 5km to the south of the Río Celeste community. Be careful with the hot springs as the temperatures are very high, and visit the majestic 15 meter waterfall that is perfect to go bathing. The river, with its dyed waters is approximately 36 km in length.How to arrive and leaveTo visit the Celeste River within the park, two different routes are used, entering the park through two different sectors: Sector el Pilón “Administrative Office of the Park”, from Cañas 7 Km along the Interamerican highway, then turn off to Upala 42 Km passing through the community of Bijagua and again deviate east 11 km towards the community of Pilón de Bijagua. La Paz Sector; (in La Fortuna de San Carlos), from El Tanque 40 km to San Rafael de Guatuso and 15 km road to Upala to Katira de Guatuso. Then you must deviate 11 km east towards the community of La Paz de Guatuso. The buses leave Tilarán or Ciudad Quesada every two hours, some continue as far as San José. Upala is located 40 km to the north east. The road is asphalt.
20. CUARTO RIVER
Is the 16th canton of the province of Alajuela, Costa Rica. It is the most recent canton of the country, when being promoted to such after agreement of the Legislative Assembly of Costa Rica in second debate the Thursday 30 of March 2017, and was segregated from the canton of Grecia, although it was not bordering on it. It is located to the north of the Poás Volcano. It limits to the north and the west with the canton of San Carlos, to the east and also to the north with the canton of Sarapiquí to the south with the cantons of Alajuela and Alfaro Ruiz. Its head, the city of Río Cuarto, is located 70.8 km north of San José, the nation’s capital. (1 hour 52 minutes on Highway 126, the fastest route, taking into account the traffic). Rio Cuarto is one of those places where it seems that the nature wasted all its charms. The vegetation overflows with green, multicolored flowers, fruits and trees. The fauna is composed of dozens of species, some with animals as striking as the caribbean monkeys, the lazy, and birds of all tones. The type of vegetation is typical of the Humid Tropical Forest, characterized by the presence of trees up to 40 meters in height, ferns, epiphytic plants and mosses. The area also has abundant fruit plantations, ornamental and medicinal plants. It has an estimated population of 11,074 inhabitants (2011). The canton is composed of the city of Río Cuarto, located at an altitude of 425 meters above sea level.
Choose between these 7 exiting destinations in the Heredia area
Located 11 Km to the north of San José and is a smaller and historic province. Its extension is 2.657 Km and is known as the city of flowers. Its altitude is 1.150 meters above sea level, similar to that of San José. It has a university population as it is very close in the east to the Universidad Nacional de Costa Rica. The city was established in 1706 and is colonial in character. The main reason why you should visit. The Central Park is where you will be able to see old buildings; towards the east is the Inmaculada Concepción Church, build in 1797. Thanks to its solid form it is very attractive and has prevented it from becoming damaged by the earthquakes.
To the north of the park there is a colonial tower that is considered to be a national historic place, an architectural masterpiece not only in Heredia but in all of the country. It was inaugurated during the middle of 1876, during the government of Don Tomas Guardia. Its creator, Fadrique Gutierrez Flores, was the son of a first cousin of Don Tomas. Fadrique participated in the overthrowing of the state on the 27th of January 1870, that put Guardia in control and he was apparently badly injured, this impresses the leader who later named him a Commander. El Fortin is completely built of brick. The eastern base of the building is 5.80 meters wide and 13.24 meters tall, and is divided into two main floors.
Casa de la Cultura, on the northwest corner, this is the old residence of the president Alfredo Gonzalez Flores (1913-1917), it at present houses cultural and artistic expositions. In the center, there is a music kiosk, where they also hold occasional presentations.
2. MONTE DE LA CRUZ
Located 8 kilometers from the center of San Rafael de Heredia on a totally paved access road, possessing spectacular vegetation and with a wide view of the central valley. Ideal for family activities and special groups, has many of the facilities of a private club; but with entrance fees available to everyone. Among its attractions we can mention: Panoramic View of the Central Valley, Privileged Climate (Humid Tropical Forest), Children’s Games and Multipurpose Court, Trails and Forest Areas, Volcanic Lagoon, Ranches for Activities. The current schedule of the Whereabouts is from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm every day of the week and holidays; The direct telephone number for any additional information is + 506 2267-6401. https://www.munisrh.go.cr/ Double Ranches; Equipped with barbecue grill, drinking water and table with benches to serve meals; They have space for a maximum of 12 people per ranch. Specials for family activities. These are not separated in advance and are subject to the availability of the day. Main ranches; Fully equipped, with grill for grilling, electric current, potable water, sanitary services and space for a total of 80 people; 50 of these, comfortably seated. Ideal for your parties and special activities of the company or family, both beginning, mid or end of the year. To rent it, please do it in advance to the phone indicated above. Soccer field; Located in a strategic sector, away from the ranches to avoid the blows in the people who are located there; the court has the standard dimensions for the practice of this sport. It is currently in a phase of removal where the permanent demarcation of the land, the placement of networks and the reinforcement of the frames are planned.
3. VARA BLANCA
Is a small village located between Poas Volcano and Barva Volcano in Heredia Province in Costa Rica. It is an important crossroad location for all major traffic connecting the northern parts of Costa Rica especially the Sarapiqui River delta area with the major population area of the San Jose Central Valley.
LA PAZ WATERFALL GARDENS
La Paz Waterfall Gardens is the #1 Most Visited Privately Owned Ecological Attraction in Costa Rica featuring the best hiking near San José, the most famous waterfalls in Costa Rica, animal sanctuary with over 100 species of animals, and an environmental education program.
4. BRAULIO CARRILLO NATIONAL PARK
+ 506 2268-1038. Braulio Carrillo National Park is named in the honor of the third chief of state of the country and was created in 1978. When the San José highway to Guápiles was finished in 1987; they protected this area of 47.583 hectares. The virgin areas on both sides of the motorway are large enough to conserve a large and varied amount of species and animals. The landscape is formed by small villages and large coffee plantations; the highway allows you to see the undulating peaks or cliffs covered in abundant mountain rain forest. The buses that drive along this route rarely make stops before their final destination. The diversity of plants and animals that there is in Braulio Carrillo is partly due to the difference in altitudes, that range from 2.905 meters at the top of Barva Volcano to the lowest of 50 meters on the Caribbean plains, creating an abundant habitat. If you visit the park there is also the possibility of going up to the Barva volcano and get close to Cacho Negro Volcano at 2.150 meters, before going down to the plains where you can see the most famous birds of Costa Rica, the quetzal, the umbrella bird, the toucan, the trogon, the curassows, the eagle as well as others. The mammals that can be spotted in the area include jaguars, pumas, ocelots, as well as tapirs.
5. NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF BIODIVERSITY
The surrounding area of Heredia
Barva village is 2.5 Km to the north of Heredia, founded in 1561 and is a national historic monument; where the church and houses dating from the XVIII century are of particular importance.
El INBio + 506 2507-8100, + 506 2507-8274. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org www.inbio.ac.cr . Located in Santo Domingo de Heredia, this non profit establishment was founded in 1989 to promote the knowledge of species and conservation. There are several clearly signposted footpaths, a restaurant, souvenir store, library, video room, photocopier and internet access. Prices are between 8/ 12/ 15 US$, open from 07:30 a.m to 04:00 p.m.
To access the park it is better to enter via San José de la Montaña. In route, there are footpaths that take you to the summit of the volcano; the journey there and back would take around 5 or 6 hours. One of the footpaths is close to 9 Km from Paso Llano (Porrosatí), and goes down to Sacramento, almost everyone leaves from Sacramento, which is 5 Km from Paso Llano. Nearby there is a forest post. Sometimes the forest rangers offer guided excursions of 4 Km to the highest point of the mountain. The footpath that goes up to Sacramento to the summit of Barva is well signposted. The footpaths that go to the north of the volcano go into the plains and are more difficult to find as are the signposts. It is possible to walk along some paths that are immersed in exuberant vegetation, that cross the park up to La Selva, close to Puerto Viejo de Sarapiquí; the excursion lasts four days. It is an adventure for experienced trekkers, with knowledge in map and compass reading. Barva has one of the best view point to see quetzals. There are several lakes close to the summit; the largest being the Danta, the Barva and the Copey, with diameters of 500, 70 and 40 meters. Camping is permitted although there are no facilities. The forest rangers have built platforms where you can pitch tents: one close to the crater and the other close to the Barva Lake. Temperatures can drop to several degrees below zero.
Located in 1 Km to the north of Barva, the road is divided into two routes. The right way goes to San José de la Montaña, 5 Km to the north of Barva, situated in a pleasant spot at 1.550 meters of altitude on the southern lateral of the volcano. From there, there are three buses that leave daily to Sacramento; from this route there is a footpath that goes up to the Barva Volcano, one of the attractions of the Braulio Carrillo National Park.
San Rafael de Heredia
3 Km to the northeast of Heredia situated in San Rafael de Heredia, from which a road of 8km leads towards the northern direction of Monte de la Cruz. The village offers good views of the mountains, the central plateau and San José, is a good place to go on foot excursions. The private reserves of Bosque de la Hoja, El Chompipe, Cerro Dantas and Jaguarundi are recommended places to visit.
6. VOLCANO BARVA
7. SAN JOSÉ DE LA MONTAÑA
Choose between these 9 exiting destinations in the Cartago area
It is the fourth province of the Central Plateau, and is also the oldest. Established in 1563. It was the capital until 1823. A volcanic eruption in 1723 and earthquakes in 1841 and 1910 destroyed nearly all of the historic buildings. At an altitude of 1.435 meters, in a valley between the Central cordillera and that of Talamanca, close to Irazu Volcano, it is the third largest urban population in the country and is located 23 Km to the south east of San José; both cities are connected by a good road and good transportation services.
2. VOLCANO IRAZU NATIONAL PARK
Located on the Central Volcanic Cordillera, 31 km to the west of the city of Cartago. It was created with the Nº 1917 article from the Organic Law created by the Institute of Tourism on the 30th of July 1955. From 1970 the services of the national parks manage this national park. It has an extension of over 2.309 hectares. It is an area of great hydrological importance. It is here where several rivers flow into the Río Chirripo, Río Reventazon, Río Sarapiquí and Río Grande de Tarcoles.
The origin of its name is due to the indigenous population that lived on the outskirts of the volcano called Iztarú, a word that for them meant tremor and lightning, nevertheless, through the years, oral communication meant that the name gradually changed to Irazu. The main point of interest in the national park is Irazu with an altitude of 3.432 meters; it is an active volcano and is the tallest in Costa Rica. Its eruptions and those of other volcanoes have made the land of the central plateau more fertile. Eruptions have been recorded since 1723, when the Governor of that Province of Costa Rica, Diego de la Haya Fernandez, gave a description about what had happened. One of the main craters is actually named after him. The last significant eruption of Irazu was memorable. It happened on the 19th of March 1963; the eruption coincided with the arrival of the President of the United States John F. Kennedy. In San José, Cartago and almost all of the Central Plateau was covered in centimeters of ash; in some areas there was more than half a meter. The agricultural land to the northeast of the volcano was temporarily uninhabited because of rocks and boulders that had been displaced from the crater. Since then the activity has been reduced to soft and humid smoking emissions. The summit is barren with ash and craters. The main crater measures 1.050 meters in diameter and has a depth of 300 meters; Diego de la Haya has a diameter of 690 and a depth of 100 meters and a small lake. But there are two smaller openings; one of them also has a lake. There is also a pyroclastic cone that was formed by the volcanic activity. From the car park to the viewpoint, footpaths have white and blue signposts, there are also signs pointing out restricted areas. From the top of the volcano it is possible to see the Pacific and the Caribbean. The summit is cold, windy and cloudy with temperatures of 3°C to 17°C with a yearly rainfall of 2.160 mm.
+ 506 2551-9398, regional office. An asphalt road takes you close to the summit where you can park and there is also an information office. There is also a souvenir store. During the dry season and the weekends they sell snacks and simple meals; although there is no accommodation or camping area, open from 08:00 am to 03:30 pm, entry is 6 US$ per person.
3. OROSI VALLEY
One of the eldest populations of the country is Located in the Orosi Valley. This región houses the biggest Costa Rican preserve, the reserva Forestal de Río Macho. With 99,105.oo hectáreas, this región encompasses three river basins which are part of several hydroelectric projects. Two of the hydroelectric projects are the Rio Macho and Tapantí projets, which also provide shelter to Quetzals and are the habitat of a number of plants that includes ferns and cedar trees, among many others. The Orosí Valley has two lookout points where visitors can admire two áreas of the valley; Orosí and Ujarrás communities. These were two of the first settlements established back in the times of the spanish conquest, and there área colonial churches also dating from those days; the famous Ruinas de Ujarrás and the beautiful Orosí Church.
4. TAPANTI NATIONAL PARK
5. REVENTAZON RIVER
The Reventazón River, is a river in Costa Rica which forms part of the Reventazón-Parismina drainage basin, it is 145 kilometres long and flows into the Caribbean sea. It starts at the base of the Irazú Volcano, passing through the east side of the Central Valley, and flows through the Orosí and Turrialba Valleys. After reaching the Caribbean coastal plains it joins the Parismina River and forms what is called the Reventazón-Parismina. In its upper segments, the Reventazón River is the source of 25% of the drinking water of Costa Rica’s largest metropolitan area centered on San Jose. The river is very important for power generation. Three reservoirs in the river, Lake Cachí (100.8 MW), Angostura (177MW) and Reventazón Dam (305.5MW) are used for generating a significant share of Costa Rica’s electricity. The dam for a third reservoir, Reventazón (305MW), was completed and opened in 2016. The river is also important for tourism, specially for whitewater rafting.
It is a bustling city. Its streets and parks are always full of people. Along the street where the train departs there are fruit and vegetable stalls. Turrialba is famous for its water rafting and parachuting because of its strong currents. It is ideal for all of those that practice this sport. Several kilometres from Turrialba is the CATIE post (Centro Agronómico Tropical de Investigación y Enseñanza) + 506 2558-2000. It is a plantation for the investigation of tropical agricultural, it has an extension of 800 hectares, a group of scientists have experimented with the introduction of over 5000 varieties of 335 classes of crops with great economical potential. More than 2.500 varieties of coffee, 450 of cocoas well as a variety of bananas and pejibaye integrate the CATIE seed bank. In this center they also look for solutions to serious deforestation problems that affect the Central American continent. The guides show groups of visitors the processes and care required to cultivate a crop of palm, coffee, cocoa and orchids.
7. PACUARE RIVER RAFTING
The Pacuare River, or the Río Pacuare, flows approximately 108 kilometres to the Caribbean. It is a popular location for white water rafting, whitewater kayaking and riverboarding. The rainforests that surround the river are home to exotic animal species such as jaguars, monkeys, ocelots, and a very large number of birds. Also it was considered one of the 5 nicest rivers to practice rafting. The Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad – Costa Rica’s state-owned electricity agency – suggested in 1986 the possibility of building a hydroelectric dam on the river. This plan was finally rejected in 2005 due to concerns about the pollution and other impacts on tourism and the ecology of the river and its surroundings. The Pacuare River is divided into approximately sixteen sections. Starting from the top the three commonly run sections are known as The Upper Upper, The Upper and The Lower.
8. PEJIBAYE RIVER
Born in the foothill of Cordillera de Talamanca, extended throughout the Jiménez canton and surrounded by the picturesque Tucurrique and Pejibaye towns is the beautiful Pejibaye river, one of the most important natural areas in this region due to its crystalline water and its rain forest. It is adequate for rafting as people of any age can enjoy completely by mixing adrenaline with landscape beauty. This section of the Pejibaye river has class II and III rafting ideal for nature lover adventurers and for family joy. During the two hour journey you can admire a great variety of birds like: toucans, herons and cormorants.
9. VOLCANO TURRIALBA NATIONAL PARK
E-mail: email@example.com http://www.ovsicori.una.ac.cr/ + 506 2562-4001, + 506 2261-0611, + 506 2261-0781, + 506 2261-0303.
Open from 08:00 a.m to 03:00 p.m, entry 6 US$. With 3.330 meters in altitude and three well defined craters, this colossus dominates the whole valley in Turrialba. From there, on a clear day, you can sea the Atlantic and the Pacific Ocean; there are natural footpaths where you can see the flora and fauna belonging to this volcanic area. During the ascent, the dairy farms that exist on the outskirts of the volcano offer a fantastic view. The first Spanish colonies called them Torre Alba, because of the columns of smoke that came out of the cone. It is only 15 km to the northeast of Turrialba, and its last eruption was in 1866, although at present the volcano is dormant. The summit has three craters; the one in the middle is the largest and the only one that shows sings of activity with vapor and sulphur. Underneath the peak there is a humid rainforest that is full of moss, tree fern bromeliads and bamboo. To go up to the volcano, you can get on a bus to Santa Cruz, after a journey of about 18 Km you will reach the summit. The first 10km of this route is on an asphalt road, but the road does become worse; you will need a 4×4 to get to the top of the volcano. Close to the crater there is a picnic table with a footpath. This is the official route to get to the park and is well signposted. Another alternative is to get on the bus from Cartago until you get to San Gerardo, on the southern side of Irazu volcano. From here, a road that is in bad condition will lead you to Turrialba; it is the longest stretch of road that leads to Santa Cruz, and is also the highest. You will need to drive for about 25 Km and then continue on foot.