Attractions

Top Choice Gardens in Parque Nacional Volcán Poás

La Paz Waterfall Gardens

This storybook garden complex just east of Volcán Poás offers the most easily digestible cultural experience in the Central Valley. Guests walk 3.5km of well-maintained trails to five scenic waterfalls, and can also…
Top Choice Park in Zarcero

Parque Francisco Alvarado

In front of the Iglesia de San Rafael, this park was a normal plaza until the 1960s, when a gardener named Evangelisto Blanco became inspired to shave the ordinary topiary into a bizarre series of drippy, abstract s…
Zoo in La Garita

Zoo Ave

About 10km west of Alajuela is this well-designed animal park with more than 115 types of bird on colorful, squawking display. The tranquil 14-hectare setting is also home to all four species of Costa Rican monkey, …
Waterfall in Grecia

Las Cataratas de Los Chorros

About 7km southeast of Grecia, north of Tacares and Flores, are two gorgeous waterfalls and a swimming hole surrounded by shaded areas and picnic tables. It’s a popular spot for weekending couples. Look for the sign…
National Park in Alajuela & the Northern Valley

Parque Nacional Volcán Poás

Until not so long ago, this was the most heavily trafficked national park in Costa Rica, with 250,000 visitors annually. It lies just 37km north of Alajuela by a winding and scenic road, but at the time of research …
Museum in Alajuela

Museo Histórico Cultural Juan Santamaría

Situated in a century-old structure that has served as both jail and armory, this museum chronicles Costa Rican history from early European settlement through the 19th century, with special emphasis on the life and …
National Park in Alajuela & the Northern Valley

Parque Nacional Juan Castro Blanco

This little-visited national park is where five of Costa Rica's major rivers originate. Established in 1992, the 143-sq-km reserve has a sizable trail network but no facilities. In fact, you'll likely have the park …
Arts Center in San Ramón

José Figueres Ferrer Center for Culture & History

This museum and cultural center celebrates all things José Figueres, the three-time Costa Rican president best known for abolishing the country's army in 1948. The museum has historical exhibits and artistic represe…
Gardens in Sarchí

Jardín Botánico Else Kientzler

This well-tended botanical garden 1.4km north of Sarchí Norte's soccer field has 2km of trails winding through more than 2000 types of clearly labeled plants, including succulents, fruit trees, palms, heliconias and…
Church in Grecia

Catedral de la Mercedes

At the heart of town you’ll find the incredibly quaint Catedral de la Mercedes, a red metal structure that was prefabricated in Belgium and shipped to Costa Rica in 1897 – and resembles a gingerbread church. It has …