FODOR'S GO LIST 2015
The top 25 places we think should be on every traveler's radar this year.More
The lively city of Heredia, capital of the important coffee province of the same name, contains a couple of the country's best-preserved colonial structures, along with a contrasting, youthful buzz provided by a concentration of young people attending the National University (UNA) and century-old colegios (high schools) scattered around the town. Heredia is nicknamed the City of Flowers (La Ciudad de
Flores in Spanish), which refers less to the flowers that decorate the city than to a leading founding family named Flores. Flores also refers to beautiful women, for which Heredia is known. (On the topic of names, remember that "h" is always silent in Spanish. Pronounce the small city’s name air-AY-dee-ah.) Founded in 1706, the city bears witness to how difficult preservation can be in an earthquake-prone country; most of its colonial structures have been destroyed by the tremors and tropical climate—not to mention modernization. Still, the city and neighboring towns retain a certain historic feel, with old adobe buildings scattered amid the concrete structures. Nearby Barva is also notable for its colonial central square and venerable adobe structures. From Heredia, scenic mountain roads climb northeast, passing through the pleasant, high-altitude coffee towns of San Rafael and San Isidro, each centered by a notable, Tico-style Gothic church and a pleasant central park.
Because of its proximity to the international airport (5–10 minutes away) many travelers spend their first or last night in or near Alajuela...
By the time you get this far west in the Central Valley, you’re likely headed for Costa Rica’s famed Central Pacific beaches, but the countryside...