Alajuela Costa Rica
Alajuela Costa Rica is a region blessed with natural and cultural wealth. Active hikers will find an exciting adventure at the Arenal and Poas Volcanoes, two of the most active volcanoes in the country. Alajuela also hides rivers and famous waterfalls sites within its luscious wilderness. Ticos call it “La Ciudad de los Mangos” because of its large number of mango trees all around. They celebrate "La Fiesta de Los Mangos" every year with an arts and crafts fair and parades. Alajuela is also the birthplace of Juan Santamaría, Costa Rica’s national hero. It is also the figure who gives the name to the country's main international airport. Recently, this region has seen important investments in free zone parks and big industry companies, with a considerable number of them dedicated to manufacturing medical devices. Alajuela offers tourists all of the comforts and services that they would need without going into the capital's hustle and bustle. It is a natural starting point for routes that lead to the most popular beaches of the Pacific Coast.
Things to do in Alajuela
Visit a Coffee Plantation
On the slopes of Poas Volcano you will find coffee farms you can visit and discover step-by-step the process of seed germination to the first crop of the coffee plants. You will also learn about the history of coffee and the land, the production and varieties of plants and the traditional ways of cultivating the grain.
Museo Historico Juan Santamaria
This museum is located next to the central park. It opened its door in 1980 and it is one of its kind, displaying the National Campaign of 1856-1857 against the Nicaraguan forces. You will find murals and antique photographs of Alajuela's history. Given the fact that Costa Rica never had to fight a war to obtain independence, the Rivas battle represents the first time the Costa Rican people took up arms to defend their sovereignty and territory.
Rescate Wildlife Rescue Center
This rescue center provides lifetime care for over 800 non-releasable wild animals including 125 species, among them sloths, jaguars, tapirs, pumas, coyotes, and monkeys as well as a wide variety of birds and reptiles. Your visit will help support not only the care of all the sanctuary animals but also helps the wild animals that are rescued to be returned to their rightful place in the wild. Within the sanctuary you will find trails, a souvenir shop, a coffee shop and a restaurant. It is a great place for kids to visit and learn to love and respect animals. Rescate Wildlife Rescue Center also has a mini-farm with a variety of domestic animals including; miniature horses, a miniature donkey, a miniature pig, sheep, chickens, rabbits, guinea pigs, love birds, parakeets, doves, canaries, a golden and a silver pheasant and numerous white peacocks.
Alajuela tours to other destinations nearby
La Garita is a small town in Alajuela that lets you get up close and personal with some amazing wildlife and stunning Costa Rica flowers. It's located just 30 minutes away from the Juan Santamaría International Airport. This town has remained largely undiscovered by tourists, although it’s a favorite destination for many Costa Rican locals.Visit the Botanical Orchid Garden, the Zoo Ave, the Wildlife Rescue Center. In town you will find many restaurants famous for offering authentic Costarican cuisine.
Sarchi is a small village located about 30 kms /19 miles away from the northeast of Alajuela. It is considered to be the craft work center of Costa Rica. You will find lots of furniture workshops and stores scattered all over the city where you can buy different kinds of Costa Rica souvenirs. The Oxcart, manufactured and painted in Sarchi, is national symbol of Costa Rica and plays a key role in the country’s history, as they were used to transport coffee beans and other goods to nearby and faraway markets and ports. Highly ornate, these oxcarts are elegantly carved and are usually hand-painted with bright colors. The painting of the oxcart is a Costa Rican tradition that has been passed down from generation to generation.
Zarcero is a small town in Alajuela that offers picturesque views of the surrounding coffee plantations and a quiet place for travelers to stop and relax. Its elevation is responsible for the brisk mountain climate that has made it part of the agricultural zone of Alajuela, where the local farmers take pride in their organic farming practices. Zarcero is famous for their topiary gardens centrally located in front of the church. They were created by Evangelisto Blanco in the 1960’s who was inspired to trim the bushes to turn the area into an amusing park. Since then, the beautifully sculpted shrubs have become the main attraction. Visitors and locals love to stroll through the arches and marvel at the various shapes that have taken form. Another attraction in Zarcero is the church located right up the steps from the park. This pink and blue church built in 1895 is an impressive one with beautiful paintings and decorations inside.
Grecia is a less known tourist destination, but it has been a popular destination for the expat community for years. Its pleasant weather, the mountain views, the cleanliness, cute cafes, overall safety, and cheaper prices, have attracted retirees for years.
Arenal Volcano National Park
Arenal Volcano National Park is a protected area in the north of Alajuela. It’s known for the amazing cone shaped active volcano, the hot springs, wildlife watching and many adventure activities such as rafting, canopy and horseback riding.
Stretching up 8,885 feet tall, Poas Volcano is one of the most active volcanoes in the country. The raid-fed main crater is nearly a mile in diameter and descends nearly 1,000 feet. Besides the area around the main crater, the park features dense vegetation and is a great place for travelers to catch a glimpse of native wildlife. There are also several different life zones, including a cloud and mountain rain forest.
Location and Map
Alajuela Province is located in the north-central part of the country, bordering Nicaragua to the north.