Alajuela, Costa Rica

Central Valley, Costa Rica
Province of Alajuela
Population: 885,571
Elevation : 952 mts.

Rescate Wildlife’s Rescue Center


Alajuela - Costa Rica Travel Guide

Alajuela Province is home to the Poas and Arenal Volcanoes. Ticos call it “La Ciudad de los Mangos” and celebrate every July "La Fiesta de Los Mangos"  with an arts and crafts fair and parades. Alajuela is also the birthplace of Juan Santamaría, the national hero of Costa Rica and the figure who gives the name to the country's main international airport.

The climate is tropical, typical of the Central Valley, but slightly warmer than San José. Recently, Alajuela has seen important investments in free zone parks and heavy industry companies, with a considerable number of them dedicated to manufacturing a variety of 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 important beaches of the Pacific Coast and National Parks.

Things to do in Alajuela

Visit to 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.

Alajuela tours to other destinations nearby

La Garita
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.

Poas Volcano
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.

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