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The city of Heredia is the header of the province of the same name and is located only 10 km north from the city of San Jose.

It is commonly known as the city of flowers, and even though there are many stories that explain this name, its probably due to the beauty of its women instead of the large amounts of flowers that decorate the city.

Historically, the city was established in the early XVII century under the name of Cubujuqui, along with a small parish. By 1763, it was officially named Villa of Heredia and on November 11th, 1824, it received the title of city by the Constituent Congress of Costa Rica, led by Juan Mora Fernandez, the countrys first Chief of State. This is one of the cities that along with Cartago offer excellent samples of colonial architecture. 

In the center of the city you can easily find buildings with thick adobe walls and tile roofs, as well as in the nearby towns of Santo Domingo, Barva and San Pedro.

Its streets are regular blocks similar to the ones of San Jose, but the central area of Heredia has a small slope in a north-south direction that goes along the topography of the Barva Volcano. This allows you to appreciate wonderful panoramic views of the south section of the Central Valley from any spot of the city.

This city is very active and has lots of businesses, where you can find clothing stores, fabric stores, electronics stores, many offices of professionals in different fields, supermarkets and variety stores, among others. Something that draws the attention of every visitor is the surprising amount of shoe stores found in the main streets and avenues of this picturesque city.

Among the new and very old buildings you can perceive a hint of colonial remains and styles. Some of the most representative buildings are located close to the Central Park, which is the main and most visited of the four parks that decorate the center of the city.

The parish church, known as the Cathedral, was built in honor to the Immaculate Conception of Heredia and was finally sanctified on March 18th, 1880 after many restoration processes.

In the north side of the park you will find El Fortin, which is an important symbol of this beautiful city. This fortress is 13 m tall and was built in 1876, and displays typical military architecture. Towards the left of the fortress you will find the Post Office Building and Telegraph, which stands out for its beautiful front. This elegant building represents what used to be the communication center between this city and the rest of the world.

Other structures like the Republic of Argentina School, the House of Culture and the Lyceum of Heredia complement the set of historical buildings of this city. The Lyceum of Heredia played an important part in the countrys education because its facilities used to belong to the former Escuela Normal (Normal School), which was an academic institution in charge of preparing teachers for the literacy of all the country.

The central marketplace is another interesting site to explore. Here you can find spices, flowers, vegetables, fruits, meats and endless amounts of products. If Christmas time is near, you can find all the ingredients you need for making the traditional pork tamales.

Another place you must visit is the Parque de los Angeles (Angels Park), where you will find one of the few catholic churches in the country that is not facing west. It is in front of the Barva Volcano, facing north, and probably who built it were more concerned about pleasing the volcano, and thus preserving its long inactivity.

The Palacio de los Deportes (Sports Palace) is also very important because of all the cultural and recreational activities that are arranged here. The Universidad Nacional is the second most important state university and is located towards the east of this city. Part of the daily activities of this area are strongly influenced by college life.

Accommodations and gastronomy
In almost every block close to the Universidad Nacional you will find many different restaurants of different categories. The taste of coffee and cypress woods are popular in many of these restaurants, which serve meat and chicken dishes, oven-baked pizzas, seafood and typical Costa Rican meals, and are also located along the road to San Francisco of Heredia and the road to Monte de la Cruz. This last spot receives lots of visitors during the weekends and from here you can see a wonderful panoramic view of the Central Valley.

If compared to other cities of Costa Rica, Heredia has fewer hotels in the center of the city, being the east side the one that offers more options. These hotels are usually medium-sized and have plenty of services that will satisfy every need of their guests.

Heredia has different ways of celebrating and partying; first, the religious celebrations that are related to the patron saints of the small towns, where devoted people show their catholic faith; and second, all the bars, nightclubs and discotheques where people dance and party all night long.

You can also visit some of the shopping malls that are located outside of town, and go to their stores, fast food restaurants and movie theaters.

Since August 2009, Heredia has a modern passenger train that goes directly to San Jose, towards the old Pacific station, which puts Heredia only a few minutes away from the capital city. This train serves as well for exploring the city: tourists can come to Heredia in the early morning, go over the interesting sites of the city and go back to their hotels in the afternoon. This way you can go over the railway that was once used for coffee transportation, produced by the famous coffee farms of Heredia.

Where to go?
Braulio Carrillo National Park
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House of Culture Alfredo Gonzales Flores Historical sites
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