Central Valley: Places to Explore

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  • Alajuela

    Because of its proximity to the international airport (5–10 minutes away) many travelers spend their first or last night in or near Alajuela, but the beauty of the surrounding countryside persuades some... Read more

  • Cartago

    Although earthquakes have destroyed most of its structures from the colonial era, Cartago still has some attractive restored buildings, most of them erected after the devastating 1910 earthquake. The city... Read more

  • Escazú

    Costa Rica's wealthiest community and the Central Valley's most prestigious address, Escazú nevertheless mixes glamour with tradition, BMWs with oxcarts, Louis Vuitton with burlap produce sacks. As you... Read more

  • Heredia

    The lively city of Heredia, capital of the important coffee province of the same name, contains some of the country's best-preserved colonial structures along with a contrasting, youthful buzz provided... Read more

  • The Orosi Valley

    If you have a day to spend near San José, this idyllic valley makes a classic day trip, passing through coffee plantations shaded by poró trees, oceans of chayote-squash vines, and small towns backed by... Read more

  • San Antonio de Belén

    San Antonio de Belén has little to offer visitors but its rural charm and proximity to the international airport. The latter led developers to build several of the San José area's biggest hotels here... Read more

  • Santa Ana

    Santa Ana's tranquil town center, with its rugged stone church, has changed little through the years, even if metro development, with the accompanying condos and shopping malls spreads out in all directions... Read more

  • Santo Domingo

    Between Heredia and San José, the pretty town of Santo Domingo de Heredia, established in the early 19th century, has wide streets and fine examples of traditional, tile-roof houses, and a monumental church... Read more

  • Turrialba

    The relatively well-to-do agricultural center of Turrialba is a bustling town, with a youthful vibe from the nearby university, a colorful open-air market, and a tree-shaded central park filled with an... Read more

  • Volcán Irazú

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