Alajuela, Costa Rica
Many people only know Alajuela, Costa Rica as the city in which the main international airport in Costa Rica, Juan Santamaria is located. This makes it a great central location to stay in while visiting various parts of Costa Rica.
Alajuela has a population of approximately 47,000 and lies at an elevation 3,123 feet above sea level in the Central Valley. It is 11.8 miles northwest of Costa Rica’s capital city of San José. The climate in Alajuela is considered one of the best in the world.
Alajuela is also the home of the national hero, Juan Santamaría, who died during the campaign in 1856 to remove invaders threatening Costa Rica's sovereignty. This historical event is celebrated and remembered every year on the 11th of April and it is a national holiday.
The nickname for Alajuela is the City of Mangoes and each year they have a mango festival which lasts for 9 days in July and features parades, music, outdoor food markets and arts and crafts fairs.
Alajuela, the capital of Alajuela also offers a variety of activities as well:
The Butterfly Farm
La Guácima de Alajuela, Costa Rica is the site of The Butterfly Farm which offers a two-hour guided tour discussing the butterfly’s natural history, mythology and symbolism. The culmination of the tour is where visitors have an opportunity to discover human transformation through the metaphor of the butterfly. For more information visit the web site at: http://www.butterflyfarm.co.cr/
Considered the best zoo in Costa Rica, this zoo runs a breeding program for rare and endangered birds, all of which are destined for eventual release. It has 115 bird species including the quetzal, fiery-billed aracari, several types of eagles, ostriches, toucans, hawks, parrots and macaws. They also have crocodiles, monkeys, wild cats and turtles. Also see the impressive mural featuring the 850 bird species of Costa Rica painted to scale here.
Botanical Orchid Gardens
Here you can learn about orchid cultivation and observe hundreds of orchid species. Hike the trails which meander through a demo orchid nursery, laboratory, orchid showroom, and extensive gardens, where a permanent orchid flower exhibition is always on display. Visit the coffee shop and souvenir store. For more information visit the website at orchidgardencr.com/home.html.