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San Jose (Central Valley) Region

San Jose and the surrounding area is a lot more than a simple stop over after landing at the international airport. Many travelers make this their home base for popular day trips to some of the country's most visited attractions: La Paz-WaterfallPoas and Irazu Volcanoes, coffee plantation tours, canopy tours, whitewater rafting adventures and a lot more. Historical attractions in Cartago and San Jose, including churches, museums and monuments make these cities a must-see. The artisan markets are great for souvenir shopping, and the central market, with all its tropical fruits and veggies, will literally give you a taste of Costa Rica.

Where is It?

As its name implies, the Central Valley region is in the middle of the country. It is composed of the main cities of San Jose, Heredia, Cartago and Alajuela. Also included are Escazu, Santa Ana, Atenas, Grecia, Sarchi, Turrialba and the Orosi Valley.

How's the Weather?

Perfect...almost all of the time. Warm, sunny and breezy from December until February or March. Rainy season begins in April or May and runs until November. Mornings are usually sunny, with rains moving in mid to late afternoon.

Average Temperature: 75°F with 75% humidity

Hot Spots!

Alajuela

Mangoes

The mango capital of Costa Rica, Alajuela is where the Juan Santa Maria International airport is located and a is great location for popular day trips to Poas Volcano, La Paz Waterfall & Gardens, coffee plantations and much more.  There are a few luxury spas and lots of garden centers.

Contact us to book a day trip to any of these locations

Cartago

Rafting

The original capital of Costa Rica until 1823, Cartago is rich in pre-Colombian history and home to the most important national religious shrine in Costa Rica, the Basilica de Nuestra Senora de Los Angeles. People from all over the country congregate here on August 2, Virgin of the Angels Day, after walking from their homes to the church. Some people walk for ten days or more in this traditional event. The central park in Cartago includes the "ruins" of the main church of Cartago (the parroquia of Santiago Apostol).

Contact us to book a day trip to any of these locations

Escazu

Bromiliad-with-sun-stars

The Beverly Hills of Costa Rica is filled with large shopping malls, a wide range of restaurants and is home to many of the expats living in this country.  Some of the areas most luxurious hotels and homes are nestled in the Escazu Hills. A drive through this area will leave you wondering weather or not you're still in Costa Rica.

  • 5 Star restaurants
  • Designer clothing stores

Heredia

Heredia landmarks

Even though the City of Flowers is a much smaller city than San Jose, it offers all the amenities of a big city. It is home to the National University and several Spanish schools where students from all over the world come to study.  Bars, botique shops and more shoe stores than you can possibly imagine cater to the hip, youthful crowd.  So if you want a more intimate city experience, Heredia is your best bet.

  • Central Park
  • The National University
  • INBioparque

San Jose

Assorted Flowers

In 1835 San Jose City (known as San Jose) became the capital of Costa Rica, and today it is a modern, cosmopolitan city with all the conveniences you would expect. Public transportation, shopping, movies, markets, malls, restaurants, museums, parks and several notable historical sites make San Jose (city) an interesting destination. A visit to the central market is a very colorful experience. And if you've got souvenir shopping to do, the La Casona mall or the artisan market near the Children's Museum offer excellent variety and prices.

  • Museums & Gardens
  • National Theater
  • Central Avenue Promenade
  • Plazas, Parks & Churches
  • Shopping at artisan markets & the Central Market

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In the San Jose Region, you   this:

Coffee Tour

Museums & Gardens

  • Britt Coffee Plantation
  • Cartago's Church,  the Basilica de Nuestra Senora de Los Angeles
  • Churches in San Jose and surrounding area
  • Doka Coffee Plantation
  • INBioparque
  • La Paz Waterfall and Gardens
  • Lankester Botanical Gardens
  • Museums (Jade, Gold and Art Museums)
  • Plazas and Parks in San Jose
  • Simon Bolivar Zoo
  • The Butterfly Farm
  • Zoo Ave & Fraijanes Recreational Park

Especially for Kids:

  • The Children's Museum
  • Parque de Diversiones (amusement park)
  • La Paz-Violet-Saberwing-Hummingbird

Popular Parks & Reserves

  • Braulio Carrillo National Park
  • Irazu National Park
  • Juan Castro Blanco National Park
  • Poas Volcano National Park
  • Tapanti National Park

Other Protected Areas

Bosque Alegre Wildlife Refuge, Boyero National Monument, Caraigres Protected Zone, Central Volcanic Forest Reserve, Cerro Atenas Protected Zone, Cerro Chompipe Protected Zone. Cerro de La Cangreja Protected Zone, Cerros de la Carpintera Protected Zone, Cerro las Vueltas Biological Reserve, Cerros de la Carpintera Protected Zone, Cerros de Escazu Protected Zone, Cerros de Turrubares Protected Zone, Cuenca Rio Tuis Protected Zone, El Chayote Protected Zone,  El Rodeo Protected Zone, Fernando Castro Cervantes Wildlife Refuge, Finca Hacienda La Avellana Wildlife Refuge, Grecia Forest Reserve, Guayabo National Monument, La Selva Protected Zone, Los Santos Forest Reserve, Rio Grande Protected Zone, Rio Navarro & Rio Sombrero Protected Zone, Rio Macho Forest Reserve, Rio Toro Protected Zone, Rio Tiribi Protected Zone, Surtubal Wildlife Refuge, Turrialba National Park Poas Crater

Volcanoes

Other Volcanoes:

Cacho Negro Volcano, Congo Volcano, La Platanar Volcano, Porvenir Volcano, El Viejo Volcano

Read more about these inactive volcanoes.

Waterfalls

  • One of five waterfalls at La Paz Waterfall & Gardens Park
  • Bride's Veil Waterfall in the Orosi Valley; It's one of the tallest falls in Costa Rica

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In the San Jose Region, you this:

Nature Activities

  • Bird and Wildlife Spying

Adventure & Recreational Activities

Tu-Ru-Bari-superman-flying
  • Bungee Jumping
  • Canopy Tours (zip lines & aerial trams)
  • Coffee Plantation tours
  • Casino Gambling
  • Golfing
  • Hiking
  • Whitewater Rafting & Tubing
  • Tennis
  • Volcano Tours

Contact us to book an adventure tour.

Cultural Activities

Rafting-waterfall
  • Dancing
  • Festivals, Parades & Carnivals
  • Fine Dining
  • Shopping
  • Theater

Read About Other Regions:

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