Alajuela is in Costa Rica. It is a relatively small town thus there is not very much to see in the town itself, but Alajuela is an excellent spot for beginning and ending a trip.
Located only 3km from Juan Santamaria International Airport, Alajuela is cheaper and quicker to reach than San Jose. A cab ride into the center of town costs only around US$2, as opposed to US$10-12 to San Jose.
Walk - Alajuela is small enough to take in by foot. You can see the entire downtown in one afternoon.
Bus - There are lots of public busses that criss-cross the city or travel to nearby towns. There are two main bus companies, TUASA and Station Wagon, that provide service between Alajuela and the capital, San Jose. The busses are cheap, less than $2 US, and run every few minutes. There are also busses that depart to other nearby towns like Sarchi, San Ramon, Heredia, and Poas. Also, you can catch busses to farther destinations that regularly travel though Alajuela on the way to Pacific destinations.
Taxi - Taxies are often the easiest and a cheap way to get around the town. Taxies are red and there are many taxi stands scattered around the city. While the orange airport taxies will accept US dollars, the red taxies will only accept Costa Rican colones. Tipping is not expected, but you can let a taxi driver keep the change.
Futbol - Alajuela is home to Liga Deportiva Alajuelense ("La Liga") soccer club. It is a powerhouse in the Costa Rican soccer league and is regularly ends first or second in the Costa Rican First Division. The Morera Soto Stadium is very close to downtown and tickets are usually inexpensive. While the Alajuela crowd will be enthusiastic, Alajuela does not suffer from holiganism, thus taking in a game is appropriate even for single women and families.
There are a number of small hotels catering to budget travellers, however they tend to be somewhat overpriced due perhaps to the city's proximity to the international airport.
Hotel Los Volcanes is right downtown and costs about $50 a night.
Hotel Pura Vida is just a kilometer or two from downtown and offers a more relaxed atmosphere for about $80 a night.
Hotel La Rosa de America is farther from downtown, but offers the most relaxing atmosphere for about $80 a night.