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Costa Rica
Type of Location
About Location

Alajuela Is the capital city of the province of Alajuela in Costa Rica. It is also the name of the district that includes the city. Alajuela serves as the capital for the canton of Alajuela, an area much larger than the district. It is the birthplace of Juan Santamaría, the national hero of Costa Rica. It hubs the Juan Santamaría International Airport, the main airport serving Costa Rica (IATA: SJO / ICAO: MROC), which is located 3 kilometers south of the city.

The province of Alajuela is one of the largest in the country. It borders to the north with Nicaragua, to the south with the province of San Jose, to the east with the province of Heredia and to the west with the provinces of Guanacaste and Puntarenas.Its participation in important historical events has ensured it has a privileged place in Costa Rican history. The national hero Juan Santamaría, who died during the campaign in 1856 to remove invaders threatening Costa Rica's sovereignty, was born in Alajuela. This historical event is celebrated and remembered every year on the 11th of April and it is a national holiday.

The main exports are coffee, sugar-cane, corn, beans, tobacco, citrus fruits, strawberries, tubers like cassava, flowers and ornamental plants. Other commercial activities include poultry farming, beekeeping, pig farming and the dairy industry.


How to Reach

By Air

Located only 3km from Juan Santamaria International Airport, Alajuela is cheaper and quicker to reach than San Jose. A cab ride into the center of town costs only around US$5, as opposed to US$20 to San Jose.

By Bus

There are lots of public busses that criss-cross the city or travel to nearby towns. There are two main bus companies, TUASA and Station Wagon, that provide service between Alajuela and the capital, San Jose. The busses are cheap, less than $1 US, and run every few minutes. There are also busses that depart to other nearby towns like Sarchi, San Ramon, Heredia, and Poas. Also, you can catch busses to farther destinations that regularly travel through Alajuela on the way to Pacific destinations.

By Taxi

Taxis are often the easiest and a cheap way to get around the town.Taxies are red and there are many taxi stands scattered around the city. While the orange airport taxies will accept US dollars, the red taxies will only accept Costa Rican colones.Tipping is not expected, but you can let a taxi driver keep the change.

Key places to visit
The Central Cathedral, Iglesia La Agonia, Juan Santamaria, Poas Volcano


Places to Visit

The Central Cathedral

Alajuela's Central Cathedral is the very center of the town as is traditional in colonial Spanish urban planning. The church is pretty, but not a spectacular piece of architecture. In front of the cathedral is the central park which is a nice spot for people watching and you may get a glimpse of wildlife such as parrots and a sloth that is an elusive resident.

Iglesia La Agonia

Located five blocks east of the Central Cathedral, this landmark church has an ornate Baroque style, even though it was built in 1941.

Juan Santamaria

Alajuela is the hometown to Juan Santamaria, the Costa Rican National Hero. Around the city you can see the location of his home, although now there is just a small palque and garden as the house in long gone. A block south of the Central Park is the Juan Santamaria park with a statue of the hero and a small collection of 1860s era cannons. A block north of the Central Park is the Juan Santamaria Museum, which shows some era pieces explaining the legacy of Juan Santamaria and the 1856 Campaign against the filibusters invaders, who wanted to take control of Central America.

Poas Volcano

Alajuela is the closest major city to the Poas Volcano National Park. The park is a popular desitnation for both foreign and Costa Rican tourists. Poas allows tourists to see into the crater of an active volcano. You can often smell sulfer from the crater while visting the peak. There are many guided tours offered to the volcano through private tour companies or you can catch a daily "tourist" bus provided by the TUASA bus company. The TUASA bus will take you to the top of the volcano and then return you to Alajuela after several hours.

Right Time to Visit

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