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Alajuela

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Alajuela

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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.

Get in

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.

Get around

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.

See

  • The Central Cathedral - Alajuela's Central Cathedral is the very center of the town as is traditional in colonial Spanish urban planning. The church is pretty, but not a spectacular piece of architecture. In front of the cathedral is the central park wich is a nice spot for people watchng and you may get a glimpse of wildlife as parrots and a sloth that is an elusive resident.
  • Iglesia La Agonía - Located five blocks east of the Central Cathedral, this landmark church has an ornate Baroque style, even though it was built in 1941.
  • Juan Santamaría - Alajuela is the hometown to Juan Santamaría, the Costa Rican National Hero. Around the city you can see the location of his home, although now there is just a small palque and garden as the house in long gone. A block south of the Central Park is the Juan Santamaría park with a statue of the hero and a small collection of 1860's era cannons. A block north of the Central Park is the Juan Santamaría Museum, which shows some era pieces explaining the legacy of Juan Santamaría and the 1856 Campaign against the filibusters invaders, who wanted to take control of Central America.
  • Poas Volcano - Alajuela is the closest major city to the Poas Volcano National Park. The park is a popular desitnation for both foreign and Costa Rican tourists. Poas allows tourists to see into the crater of an active volcano. You can often smell sulfer from the crater while visting the peak. There are many guided tours offered to the volcano through private tour companies or you can catch a daily "tourist" bus provided by the TUASA bus company. The TUASA bus will take you to the top of the volcano and then return you to Alajuela after several hours.

Do

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.

Buy

Eat

Drink

Sleep

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.

Get out

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