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  • Photos of Alajuela
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Alajuela
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How to get there?
From San Jose, take the route #1 on the Pan-American Highway until you get to the Juan Santamaria International Airport, where you should take the exit for Alajuela downtown (route #3).

Alajuela is the second most important province of Costa Rica because of its great commercial, political and agronomic development. It was named after the Spanish word for slabs (type of river stones), which is “lajas”.

Alajuela is part of the Central Valley and along with the capitals of the provinces of San Jose, Heredia and Cartago, they form the Great Metropolitan Area. It is a strategic point for tourist arrivals because the Juan Santamaria International Airport is located in this city.

This is a connection center for national and international airlines, and it also has a hangar for the experimental airplane of the NASA that performs Costa Rica’s mapping. This airport undergoes constant improvements and expansions with VIP rooms, among other amenities.

Alajuela was home to Juan Santamaria, who is considered national hero after burning Guerra’s Porterhouse, place used as hiding shelter by the American Army when they were trying to conquer the national territory.

The name of El Coco International Airport was changed to Juan Santamaria International Airport on his behalf, and a Historical Museum was built in his honor. In the park Juan Santamaria, there is a bronze statue of him and a set of plates with the names of the soldiers that perished in battle. It was placed there in 1891, and there’s another statue in the Legislative Assembly of Costa Rica.

In the center of the city (downtown), there are beautiful buildings of historical importance, like the Former Jail and the Old Arms Quarter, which are nowadays both part of the Juan Santamaria Historical Museum. It displays historical features related to the Central American war held against the freebooter William Walker (1856-1857), such as oil paintings, portraits, documents and weapons, among others.

This city is commonly known as “The Mango City” because there are plenty of leafy and large mango trees in the Central Park. Its shape reflects the influence of the Renaissance period, where the center of the park serves as starting point for the rest of the tracks. This relaxation site is very important for history of the country.

Here you can also find the Ascension Esquivel Ibarra School, built in 1936, which has a great architectural importance and is part of Alajuela’s history.

Alajuela was established at the base of the Poas Volcano, a cone-shaped volcano that is 2.708 meters high. The main crater is 1.320 m wide and 320 m deep, and is one of the largest volcanoes in the world. In its bottom you can see a hot lagoon that constantly changes its color and has a diameter of 350 meters.

The permanent gas and vapor emissions cause acid rainfall, which affects the vegetation and the surrounding properties. You can drive all the way up to the active crater, where you will see the parking signs.

If the weather allows it and there are no clouds blocking the view, you can see the Pacific and Atlantic oceans from its highest point.
Another interesting site is the Botos Lagoon, which has a trail that goes directly to it. This cold-water lagoon used to be an active crater and has an amazing, charming beauty.

The Poas is part of the Poas Volcano National Park, which has an extension of 6.506 hectares and is covered by a dense, humid forest, with a very rich biodiversity. This sanctuary protects more than 70 species of birds, 20-m tall trees and small mammals like felids and rodents, coyotes and different types of bats.

The National Technical University is located in Alajuela and you can also find other public and private universities in this city. It has trade zones, the San Rafael of Alajuela Hospital and shopping malls.
Accommodations and gastronomy

There’s a great variety of restaurants in Alajuela that offer typical Costa Rican food, usually close to sites of interest for tourists. Tortillas with sausages (“gallos”), corncobs (“elotes”) and rice with chicken are always part of the menu.

There are also fast food and fancy restaurants, offering a wide variety of options for every need and budget.

Close to the airport there are several apartment complexes and small hotels that are special for tourists. There are also international hotel chains with services that go beyond the basic requirements, with their own swimming pools, spa centers and restaurants.

 
 
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Where to go?
Poas Volcano National Park
This park is one of the main attractions in Costa Rica due to its amazing and beautiful sceneries (...)
Juan Castro Blanco National Park
There are many different formations in this park, such as active volcanoes (Platanar Volcano) and (...)
La Garita Old Customs House Historical sites
The Old Customs House disappeared during the colonization period, but its masonry walls still (...)
Old Governorate Historical sites
The hermitage was built with adobe building systems, obsolete techniques, being one of the few (...)
Ascension Esquivel Ibarra School Historical sites
It has an important role in the urban context of Alajuela and is part of the historical center of (...)
San Rafael Hospital (South Front) Historical sites
The main front is an architectural element in the urban landscape of the city, of the early XX (...)
Methodist Church Historical sites
The Methodist Congregation exists in Costa Rica since 1917 and is one of the traditional gathering (...)
Institute of Alajuela – Assembly Hall Historical sites
French Revolution, two industrial revolutions, bourgeois revolutions, Imperialism, universal (...)
Central Park Historical sites
This park has green areas in its interior with geometrical shapes, where several species were (...)
Catholic Temple of the San Jose Neighborhood Historical sites
This building has a neo-classical style and has elements and constructed materials of religious (...)
Cultural and Historic Center Jose Figueres Ferrer Historical sites
Law of Creation
The Cultural and Historic Center Jose Figueres Ferrer was (...)
Cultural Center of Alajuela Historical sites
It is home to the Municipal Archive, the Municipal Music Conservatory, the office of the sports (...)
Old Prison Historical sites
The Juan Santamaria Cultural Historic Museum is located here. (...)
Cultural Historic Museum Juan Santamaria (MHCJS) Museum
Building
Construction date: second half of the XIX century.
Built during (...)
Cities
Alajuela
Alajuela is the second most important province of Costa Rica because
Barva – Birri
The city of Barva is one of the oldest cities in the history of Costa
Cartago
Cartago was the capital of Costa Rica in 1823. This city has many
Heredia
The city of Heredia is the header of the province of the same name
Perez Zeledon
The city of San Isidro del General is one of the most populated in
Poas
The zone of Poas extends through towns like San Pedro of Poas,
San José (Downtown & East Side)
The capital city of Costa Rica charms its visitors with all the
San José (West Side)
In the west section of San Jose, the capital, you can find the towns
Turrialba
Turrialba is a town located in a valley, surrounded by mountain
Valley of Orosi
The peaceful Valley of Orosi offers many natural and tourist
News
Observe beautiful birds in the Juan Castro Blanco National Park
Octuber 31, 2012

The park is one of the newest in Costa Rica, and has an impressive water resource very important for the Northern Zone of the country
Amarillo Cian y Magenta is offering concert in the UCR
Octuber 02, 2012

The band is known for a combination of rhythms of different places and cultures in the world, resulting in fusion music, just like Costa Rican culture
Poet Ernesto Rodriguez is offering shows at the Juan Santamaria Museum
August 24, 2012

The return of the artist to Costa Rica is for his participation in the International Book Fair 2012, where he will present his editorial “Diego Pun Ediciones”
Juan Santamaria Museum has free activities during August
August 14, 2012

Stories, exhibits, documentaries, guided visits and many others are the activities the visitors can enjoy during August
Juan Santamaria Airport has the 4th place in technological evaluation
July 19, 2012

This airport was placed above the International Miami Airport and the airport of Brasilia, but below the airport of Argentina Ezeiza-Ministro Pistarini, which received the first place
Enrique Bunbury is performing in Costa Rica
May 25, 2012

The concert will be held at the Palacio de los Deportes in Heredia, at 9:00pm
EXPHORE 2012 is coming!
May 24, 2012

This business fair gathers the main providers of Costa Rica for them to show their services and products to representatives of the hotel and restaurant sector
“Concherias” arrives to Heredia and Desamparados
April 18, 2012

Around 60 artists will participate in this project, among directors, actors, dancers, musicians and designers, who are part of this multidisciplinary show
XI International Poetry Festival will honor Costa Rican youth and children
April 12, 2012

During 9 days the festival will promote reading and the poetic creation in educational centers, public libraries, prisons and hospitals around the country
Costa Rica will have new international airport by 2026
March 29, 2012

One of the innovations of the new airport is that it will have two landing strips