Alajuela is one of the seven provinces of Costa Rica. This city is the second largest in the country and is located approximately 20 kilometers northwest of the capital, San Jose.

So, if you are planning a visit to Costa Rica, you cannot miss exploring this beautiful province of Alajuela. Located in the heart of the country, this region offers a wide variety of tourist attractions, from breathtaking natural landscapes to interesting cultural histories.

According to studies conducted by the Costa Rican thinker, Luis Felipe González Flores, its name derives from the river La Lajuela. Over the years and for reasons of ease of pronunciation, the local population began to omit the article “La” leaving the toponym “Alajuela”.

Its unique history is striking from the beginning. When walking through the streets of Cantón Central, a striking figure of a man with a torch in his hand, welcomes them victoriously. It is Juan Santamaría, the national hero, born in this province, who during the Battle of Rivas in 1856, set fire to the Mesón de Guerra in an act of bravery that was crucial for the Costa Rican victory. In his honor, Juan Santamaría Day is celebrated every April 11 throughout the country.

Downtown: history, beauty and warmth.

If within your trip, you wish to do more relaxing activities, you should visit the Juan Santamaría Historical and Cultural Museum. Located in downtown Alajuela, you will be immersed in the history and culture of the province. Here you can learn more about the life and exploits of Juan Santamaria, as well as explore exhibits that highlight Alajuela’s cultural heritage. Admission is $5 per person.

End your visit at Juan Santamaría Park, just 200 meters from the museum, and appreciate his iconic sculpture, from which you can take lots of photos to share.

A mandatory stop is the majestic Cathedral of Alajuela, located in the heart of the city. This neo-gothic style church will captivate you with its impressive architecture and artistic details. In addition, you can enter for free and admire its interior.

Very close to downtown, you will find the Rescate Wildlife Rescue Center (formerly Zooave), a non-profit foundation dedicated to conserving Costa Rica’s wildlife. The animal sanctuary and wildlife rehabilitation center is the oldest of its kind with 30 years of experience in rehabilitation, reproduction of endangered species, habitat preservation and lifelong care of animals that cannot survive on their own.

This is an ideal place for animal lovers. Admission costs between $15 and $30 per person, you can request a guided tour and even volunteer.

Pack your bags and enjoy a trip of a lifetime!

Your tour of Alajuela should include visiting the most impressive places you can imagine, and the Poas Volcano National Park is one of the places you can’t miss.

Here you can admire the largest active crater in the world, surrounded by lush vegetation and walk its attractive trails, while enjoying a cool climate tinged by a light drizzle that prevails most of the year.

The entrance fee for foreign visitors is $15 dollars per person and if you enter on a motorcycle or a larger vehicle, you pay a little more than $2 to use the parking lot.

Nearby you will find a place you can’t miss. The La Paz Waterfall Gardens Zoo has a wide variety of local species, such as monkeys, jaguars and tropical birds. In addition, you can walk along trails surrounded by beautiful waterfalls. But also, if you wish, you can stay at Peace Lodge, a five-star boutique hotel with 18 rooms that you will never forget. The entrance fee to the zoo is $50 per adult and $32 per child.

If you like coffee, near the slopes of Poas Volcano you can find several coffee tours where you will experience unique flavors that this region gives to this delicious beverage and its derivatives. Among the most popular are Doka Coffe Tour and Hacienda Alsacia Starbucks Coffe Farm.

But this volcano is not the only one you can fall in love with. Alajuela is home to the majestic Arenal Volcano, one of the most active volcanoes in Costa Rica. In addition to enjoying the panoramic views of the volcano, you can relax in the nearby hot springs or venture out on a hike through the trails of Arenal Volcano National Park. The entrance fee to the park is $17 for non-residents.

Within the town that houses this volcano, La Fortuna de San Carlos you can find activities such as Canopy, Rappel, visit to indigenous communities, visit to water springs and even a volcanic mud bath can be part of the adventure.

Smells and flavors of a province that is much more than beautiful landscapes.

But what you will definitely take in your soul and memories will be the delicious gastronomy of this province. When visiting Alajuela, you can not miss the delicious typical dishes of the region. Some recommendations we give you are:

Sopa de mondongo: This traditional soup is very popular in Alajuela. It is made with beef broth, mondongo (beef stomach), vegetables and spices. This is an ideal place for animal lovers. The entrance fee is between $15 and $30 per person, you can request a guided tour and you can even taste it in some local eateries for around $6.

Casado: This is the national dish of Costa Rica and consists of a combination of rice, beans, meat (chicken, beef or pork), ripe plantain, salad and tortillas. You can find it in local restaurants for an average price of about $10.

Coffee: Alajuela is known for its coffee plantations, so you cannot leave without tasting a cup of this exquisite elixir. You can visit a coffee farm and enjoy a coffee tasting for about $15.

Explore Alajuela in a rental car or motorcycle with SL1 Rental!

To make the most of your adventure in Alajuela, we recommend renting a car or motorcycle with us. We offer a large fleet of reliable and safe vehicles so you can explore the province at your own pace.

Our location in Alajuela provides you with a convenient option so you won’t waste a second to start enjoying your stay. We pick you up at the airport and if you wish, we can also take you to all the places you want to visit. 

Don’t miss the opportunity to discover all the wonderful places Alajuela has to offer!

Click on our form to make your reservation in advance, we are waiting for you to enjoy an unforgettable experience in Alajuela, Costa Rica!