Heredia Province, Costa Rica
Just 12 km northwest of the busy streets of San José, lies the smaller yet greatly respected province of Heredia. Affectionately referred to as 'The City of Flowers', Heredia consists of charming little towns surrounded by an extensive array of coffee plantations and exuberant vegetation.
Heredia is also known for its amazing colonial architecture that can be admired through out. One of the main attractions in Heredia city is the historic church La Inmaculada Concepción, built in 1796 with a solid time-tested foundation and bells that originate from Peru.
La Inmaculada Concepción church is located in Heredia’s Central Park, one of the best places to experience the local culture. It’s a semi-shaded park, lined with mango trees, and highlighted by antiquated buildings.
Aside from the majestic basilica, other colonial constructions such as El Fortín, a wonderful brick tower built by the Spanish to protect against invading forces, give visitors a unique glimpse into Costa Rica’s past.
Heredia’s Central Park is also home to the House of Culture (Casa de la Cultura), which holds historical exhibits and engaging artwork; and only blocks away, lies the National University (Universidad Nacional), one of the most prominent veterinarian schools in Costa Rica, and through out Central America.
Among the charming little towns in the Heredia province, there is one which is well-known for being a national historic monument, the town of Barva. In Santa Lucía de Barva, visitors can get a taste of the real small town life during the 19th century by stopping at the Popular Culture Museum (Museo de la Cultura Popular).
Keeping up with the recreational and educational activities in the area, the famous Café Britt has its farm in Barva and provides educational tours which explain the production process, immersing visitors in the fascinating world that is gourmet coffee. Visitors may also observe the wild orchids and beautifully landscaped grounds, while learning about sustainable growing practices and coffee’s vital role in the Costa Rican economy.
The tour concludes with a delightful coffee tasting, and then a visit to Café Britt’s well-stocked coffee-and-gift store.
Daily tours are offered to visitors at 11 a.m.
This beautiful area has many hiking trails, offering visitors an opportunity to spot birds and other animals along the way, or up on the canopies.
Braulio Carrillo National Park was founded in 1978 in order to protect some of the areas from the construction of the Guápiles Highway, and it was named after, Braulio Evaristo Carillo Colina the third president of Costa Rica in the mid 1800’s.
Today, Braulio Carrillo National Park still protects over 470 km² of primary cloud rainforests and rivers. Because of the park's large size and its varied altitude, it is home to several distinct life zones, maintaining one of the highest levels of biodiversity in Costa Rica.
The park is open to the public from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and the entrance fee is $15, or $7 if purchased in advance.
A little farther west is the Poás Volcano National Park. This unusual volcano impresses visitors with its volcanic activity and immense craters, and it offers many attractions and amenities, such as hiking trails, bird watching, as well as beautiful and relaxing views throughout.
La Paz Waterfall Gardens is another national treasure located in the province of Heredia, only minutes away from the Poás Volcano. It’s a natural paradise with 5 waterfalls that line the majestic trail. Guests are afforded views from platforms above, below and in front of the falls.
Located on the grounds of La Paz Waterfall Gardens Nature Park, Peace Lodge offers luxurious accommodations for those who want to experience the wonders of nature at its fullest. All guests are welcome to enjoy the park before it opens and after it closes, the optimal bird and wildlife viewing times, and can even dine on the patio to take in the Poás Volcano.
La Paz is open year round from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m and the entrance fee is $35 for adults and $20 for children.
Tourists may also reach the Pacific beaches from Heredia, along the Pan-American Highway. Puntarenas is 103 km from Heredia city and Jacó beach, one of the most popular and developed coastal areas in the country, is a 113 km journey.