Heredia, Costa Rica
Winding and twisting roads will take you through little towns surrounded by coffee plantations and lush vegetation; once in the highlands, you can find many popular restaurants and beautiful hotels with fantastic panoramic views of the Central Valley. Access to several volcanoes along the Central Volcanic Corridor include the dormant Barva Volcano, located inside Braulio Carrillo National Park; and a little farther west, the Poas Volcano National Park where the trail allows visitors to peer inside the active crater.
At the heart of local culture is the impressive Central Park (Parque Central), a common place for locals to socialize and gossip. Lined with mango trees and surrounded by historical buildings that date back to the 18th Century; check out the beautiful colonial style Basilica of the Immaculate Conception (Basilica de la Inmaculada Concepcion) dating back to 1797; or El Fortin, a remarkable brick tower built by the Spanish.
Northeast of Central Park lies the House of Culture (La Casa de la Cultura), the building was the house of a former President, Alfredo Gonzalez Flores (1913-1917), where now historical exhibits and some pretty interesting artwork can be seen.
Declared a national historic monument, Barva, founded in the late 16th century, sits in the northern region of Heredia, a mere 2 miles from the center. This picturesque little ‘pueblo’ has retained some of its colonial ambiance, old-fashioned red-tiled adobe edifices which are spread out around the central square provide a unique and captivating experience.
If you’re a coffee lover, you already know that Costa Rica is famous for its coffee. Take an educational tour inside of Cafe Britt farm and learn about their production process. Before you leave, enjoy a delightful tasting and indulge in the best tiramisu at their small cafe where you can also buy souvenirs and more coffee to take home.
The Universities in Costa Rica have a good reputation, in Heredia, many foreign students come on exchange programs and give the town a cosmopolitan flair. Movie theaters, restaurants and a large selection of student bars, some with live music, can be found close to the Universities in the center of Heredia.
With touristy sights and an active nightlife, Heredia has everything you need to make your stay a most memorable experience; there are even several language schools and institutes for travelers with some time to further their Spanish skills in Costa Rica.
Heredia is not named for its colorful flora, but rather for the Flores family, who were important to the town’s political and social life in the 19th century. Some jokingly claim that the city’s name comes courtesy of its women’s beauty.
Another reason for Heredia city’s popularity is the fact that the country’s national university, Universidad Nacional is situated here, which has one of the foremost veterinarian schools in Central America, as well as an outstanding marine biology department. This is why one will find plenty of students teeming all over the city.
Summary: Rainforest, a dormant volcano and mountains surround the “City of Flowers.”
Landscape: City, Mountains
Attractions: Barva Volcano, Braulio Carrillo National Park, INBioparque
Activities: Bird & Wildlife Watching, Coffee Tours, Hiking
Caters to: Culture Aficionados, Day Trippers, Nature Lovers