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Alajuela Province, Costa Rica

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Arenal Volcano Inn

Alajuela, Costa Rica is the second largest province in Costa Rica.  It has a population of close to 760,000 inhabitants, and comprises an area of over 9750 km². Alajuela offers a rich historical perspective, set against a beautiful natural backdrop.  Its traditional towns, mountains, volcanoes, rivers and forests make the Alajuela province the perfect spot for nature lovers world-wide.

Alajuela is replete with many natural treasures, most of them being guarded in different National Parks, Wildlife Reserves and other Protected Areas.  Arenal Volcano, Poás Volcano and Tenorio Volcano are some of the most visited National Parks in the province. It should be noted, that the capital city of this province is Alajuela, with Ciudad Quesada being another important city in the province. Ciudad Quesada lies at the foot of the Central Mountain on the Southern end of the San Carlos Plain and it is nearly 80 km northwest of the capital city of Alajuela.

Alajuela’s popular attractions also include:

  • Juan Santamaría Historical Museum
  • Zoo Ave
  • Alajuela Cathedral
  • Central Park
  • Guanacaste’s Protected Areas
  • Juan Castro Blanco National Park
  • Caño Negro Wild Life Refuge

Arenal Volcano National Park

Arenal Volcano, one of the most active volcanoes in the world is the perfect destination for many visitors to Costa Rica.   It is truly an awe inspiring sight to see the burning lava flowstowards the base of this enormous volcano.  This natural wonder, and its scenic surroundings, is one of the main attractions, not only of the Alajuela province, but also of all Costa Rica.

Lake Arenal lies beneath the volcano and is a 41 km² artificial lake that provides different forms of entertainment from boating to windsurfing.  Its beautiful natural surroundings allow visitors to discover a wide variety of flora and fauna.

Due to the growing popularity of the area, many hotels offer a variety of accommodations to the many adventurous travelers that visit Arenal Volcano area.

Poás Volcano National Park

Poás Volcano also impresses visitors with its volcanic activity and immense craters.  It is located less than 30 km away from downtown Alajuela and it offers many attractions and amenities, such as hiking trails and bird watching, as well as beautiful relaxing views throughout.

Tenorio Volcano National Park

Tenorio Volcano is the jewel of this Costa Rica National Park and consists of four volcanic peaks and two craters.  To that end, the area surrounding the Tenorio Volcano also offers a wide range of natural attractions.

Rio Celeste, whose blue waters continue to amaze its visitors, is proof of the natural beauty that this park offers. 

The Indian Reservation Maleku, is located only minutes away from the park and can provide an interesting journey through Costa Rican history and culture.

Juan Castro Blanco National Park

Juan Castro Blanco National Park possesses an extensive variety of flora and fauna, accompanied by volcanic activity and amazing rivers.  This park houses over 40 species of amphibians, more than 100 species of birds and 30 species of mammals; 64 of these species are currently in danger of extinction in Costa Rica.

Caño Negro Wild Life Refuge 

Caño Negro is a bit of a trek, and is on the way to Los Chiles, but its particular beauty and exotic nature are well worth the effort.  The main attractions in this area are bird watching and fishing at the Río Frio, which is allowed in the reserve.

Traditional towns in Alajuela exemplify the essence of the Costa Rican culture.  Each one of them plays an important role in keeping the country’s traditions alive, and they are only minutes away from the province’s main city.

  • Sarchí – cradle of the arts and crafts.  Located 30 km to the northeast of Alajuela.
  • Zarcero – its monument, the Zarcero Park, has over 100 figures sculpted in pines and cypresses.  It is located 67 km to northeast of the capital city of San José.
  • Grecia – beautiful and peaceful city, dedicated to agriculture and textiles.  Grecia is located only 20 km from the Juan Santamaría International Airport in Alajuela.
  • San Ramón – city of the Presidents and Poets.  It is located 13 km west of Sarchí.

These beautiful Costa Rican towns have tremendous historical importance and have become places of great interest for those who want to see and learn more about this beautiful and diverse country.

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