Alajuela, Costa Rica


Alajuela is the third-largest province in Costa Rica. It has an area of 9,753 km² and is divided into 16 cantons and 113 districts. Only Guanacaste and Limón are older than Alajuela. However, it is the second-most populous city in the country, with more than one million inhabitants.

Alajuela is in the Mediterranean region of Costa Rica and stands out mainly for its impressive volcanoes and exuberant natural beauty that make up the central mountain range of the country. The northern lands are flat, almost uninhabited and are drained by tributaries of the San Juan River (San Carlos, Sabogal).

The province, among other activities, is dedicated to agriculture where its coffee, sugar cane and corn predominate. They do it in an artisanal, commercial, and industrial way. In addition to the livestock industry and forestry.

However, the main activity is tourism. In Alajuela we have properties for rent, so you can come and get to know the city, and also the entire country.

What can we see in Alajuela, Costa Rica?

Poás Volcano

The Poás volcano is located in the province of Alajuela, Costa Rica. Not only is it in an active state (although it only releases smoke and ash occasionally) but it also has one of the largest craters in the world. Inside the volcano, many activities can be done between its three internal craters. In one of them, the Botos, it has a beautiful lagoon surrounded in its interior.

Arenal Volcano

The Arenal Volcano is the most visited, not only in Alajuela, but also in Costa Rica. Among its greatest natural attractions are the lava flows, more than 30 years old, the viewpoint of the volcanic cone, and the famous ceiba tree, more than 400 years old.

It also has incredible rainforests and trails from where you can see Lake Arenal and the Tilarán mountain range. Of course, like all the other attractions in Alajuela, it has drinking water services, parking, restrooms, lodging, gastronomy, and so on.

Alajuela Cathedral in Costa Rica

The Alajuela Cathedral stands out for being the only red Cathedral in all of Costa Rica. It arose as a need for the residents of Alajuela, since until then, to attend Sunday mass, they had to go to Heredia.

In this way, the Church of Our Lady of Pilar arose; which, after several years and multiple renovations, would become the Cathedral of Alajuela. In one of its renovations, the dome was built. That which today is an icon of the city and one of the highest in Costa Rica.

If you want to know more about the interesting history of the Cathedral, we invite you to go and receive the complete tour. Both its history and its architecture are exquisite.

Alejandro Morera Soto Stadium

The Alejandro Morera Soto Stadium, in Alajuela, is the third-largest in Costa Rica and the eighth in Central America. This stadium stands out for hosting the U-17 Women’s Soccer World Cup in 2014. But, among other things, for running 100% on solar energy. In fact, it is one of the few stadiums to have this feature in all of America.

Its hybrid turf was certified by FIFA with two stars, so it can host international class A games, whether they are clubs or national teams.

Sarchí, pride of Alajuela and Costa Rica

The town of Sarchí, in Alajuela, is located a few kilometers from the city of Grecia, and is very famous throughout Costa Rica for its handicrafts and the typical carts of the place. These carts are highly demanded throughout the country; to the point where they can also be ordered by Amazon. The Sarchí carts have become a national symbol of Costa Rica.

The carts are decorated, carved by hand, and painted in bright colors. This art has been passed down from generation to generation until it has become a tradition in the country and is used in festivals and national celebrations.

La Paz Waterfall

The La Paz waterfall, in Alajuela, is one of the most beautiful in all of Costa Rica. It has a height of almost 1600 meters and covers an area of 28 hectares. This is one of the 5 waterfalls that the La Paz River has, but it is the most beautiful and the one that attracts the most tourists each year.

In addition to enjoying the rainforests that surround it, on the waterfall tour, you also have:

  • Aviary.
  • Insectarium.
  • Butterfly garden
  • Serpentarium.
  • Frog.
  • Hummingbird Garden.
  • Pet area.
  • Exhibition of orchids, bromeliads, and heliconias.

Bull Waterfall

The Toro Waterfall is a private project, the only one of its kind in Alajuela and Costa Rica. The project is committed to the conservation of the natural state of the environment and therefore, visits to this waterfall are never made by numerous people. It is a private, intimate space where you will enjoy a practically virgin landscape.

It is a unique experience, and you will live it in the same way: unique. Furthermore, it is worth clarifying that the privatized part is not what differentiates these cascades from the rest. The wonderful thing is that from the viewpoints of the upper area, you will see how the water falls into the crater of an old volcano, now inactive.

That makes the landscape very different from other waterfalls, due to the rock and tree formations. This waterfall is considered one of the best in the world.

Rio Fortuna Waterfall

Río Fortuna waterfall, unlike the Del Toro waterfall, is managed by the NGO ADIFORT, founded in August 1969. The income from this waterfall is invested in the community of La Fortuna. The Río Fortuna waterfall is just over 70 meters high and is located in Alajuela, Costa Rica.

It is located in a biological reserve of 210 hectares of tropical forest and is part of the Arenal Volcano National Park and 520 meters above sea level. Visitors, among many other activities, can also bathe in its crystal clear waters.

City of San Ramon

The city of San Ramón is located a few kilometers from that of Alajuela, and is known as the City of Poets of Costa Rica; also like that of the presidents, having 5 originally from this city. The house of one of them, José Figueres, was converted into a museum, where photographs and pieces of art are exhibited.

Right in front, you can see another museum, this one dedicated to the history of the city. Like all colonial cities, it also has a parish church and Central Park. This distribution is classic from the time when the city of San Ramón was created.

Juan Castro Blanco National Park

The Juan Castro Blanco de Alajuela National Park has borders with several districts of Costa Rica, among which the following stand out:

  • Venecia.
  • Aguas Zurcas.
  • Zapote.
  • Tapezco.
  • Laguna.
  • Altamira.
  • Sarchí Norte.
  • Toro Amarillo.
  • Río Cuarto.

Quite a diverse topography. In this National Park, you will find active and inactive volcanoes, hills, births of more than 50 rivers, lagoons, waterfalls, forests, and mountains. This diverse landscape is home to the great biodiversity of flora and fauna. Among the fauna, animals such as the Quetzal and the armadillo stand out.

Maleku Indigenous Reserve

The Maleku indigenous reserve in Alajuela is one of the oldest in Costa Rica. The members of this tribe are divided into three clans: the Palenque Margarita, Tonjibe, and El Sol. These tribes still speak their Maleku dialect and not only speak it among themselves and over the radio, but also teach it at school, in addition to the Spanish.

Caño Negro National Wildlife Refuge in Alajuela, Costa Rica

Caño Negro is one of the most important wetlands in the world, not only in Alajuela or Costa Rica. In fact, it is a protected area, not only by the Tico government but internationally since 1991. Caño Negro is a must for anyone who wants to see the strangest and unique flora and fauna on the planet.

Some of these animal species are in danger of extinction; while others, you will only be able to see them while they are passing through the country on their migratory journey.

A freshwater lagoon, Caño Negro covers more than 800 hectares and is located between the monsoon climate of the Pacific, the lowlands, and the humid climate of the Caribbean coastal zone.

Join The Discussion

Compare listings