Just 2.5km north of Heredia is the historic town of Barva, a settlement that dates back to 1561 and which has been declared a national monument. The town center is dotted with low-lying 19th-century buildings and is centered on the towering Iglesia San Bartolomé, which was constructed in 1893. Surrounded by picturesque mountains, it just oozes colonial charm. The surrounding area was once popular with the Costa Rican elite: Cleto González Víquez (1858–1937), twice president of Costa Rica (he built the original National Library), was born and raised here. It’s a perfect spot for a lazy afternoon stroll.