Central Valley Travel Guide
Plan Your Central Valley Vacation
As you set out from San José to explore the towns to the north, you first encounter nothing but asphalt, hotels, and malls—not especially scenic. Santo Domingo and San Antonio de Belén blend into the outskirts of San José, and it's only when you get to the heart of these small towns that you feel you've arrived in Central America. Farther north, Alajuela and Heredia are bustling provincial capitals with charismatic central parks. Throughout this area, tucked into the urban scenery and lining volcanic slopes, are fields of that quintessential Costa Rican staple, coffee.
Most international flights fly into Costa Rica in the evening and head out again early the next morning, meaning you likely... read more
Growing Escazú has become as metropolitan as San José and has the restaurant selection to prove it. Elsewhere, as befits... read more
Things To Do in Central Valley
Explore the best sights, entertainment, and shopping with our top choices and insider tips.
Avian adventures: Flock to Tapantí National Park to see emerald toucanets, resplendent quetzals (if you're lucky), and nearly... Read more
The word Irazú is likely a corruption of Iztaru, a long-ago indigenous community whose name translated as "hill of thunder." The... Read more
Suburbia oozes out with each passing year, eating up once-idyllic Central Valley land, but it's still surprisingly easy to find vast... Read more
Spanish in Costa Rica tends to be localized. This is a land where eloquent speech and creative verbal expression are highly valued. For... Read more
When the Costa Ricans drove U.S. invader Walker's army from their country in 1856, they chased his troops to Rivas, Nicaragua. The army of... Read more
On the night of August 1 and well into the early-morning hours of August 2, the road to Cartago from San José clogs with worshippers,... Read more
Need a break from the big city? View 42-hour itineraries from 13 cities.More