More than half of the "Ticos" live in the central valley in the metropolitan region around San José. There, besides the capital of Costa Rica San José, are located the cities of Heredia, Alajuela and Cartago. The region is the center of political and economic activity. Major cities outside the metropolitan area are the provincial cities of Liberia in Guanacaste, Puerto Limón in the province of Limón and Puntarenas in the province of the same name. Although Costa Rica is a favorite holiday destination due to its indescribable nature, discovering the urban life in Costa Rican can be very interesting.
You can find Interesting facts about San José in the section of the destination San José.
The city of Cartago is located just 30 km east of San José and was founded in 1563. Until independence from Spain in 1821, Cartago was the capital of Costa Rica. The government and the authorities had their seat there and the most influential families lived in Cartago. However, the low social and economic development as well as permanent natural catastrophes such as earthquakes and floods prevented the city's growth. Among the most beautiful sights in Cartago are the Basílica de Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles, the Santiago Apóstol Parish Ruins at Plaza Mayor and the Municipal Museum of Cartago located in the former prison.
10 km northwest of San José is situated the city of Heredia. The "city of flowers", so called because of the surname of an influential family, the landscapes and the colorful gardens of the city, originated in the early 18th century under the indigenous name Cubujuquí. In 1763, Alonso Fernández de Heredia, president of the Royal Court of Guatemala, gave the city its present name. Nowadays Heredia is the coffee capital of Costa Rica and famous for its excellent coffee. The main attractions are located in the historical center of the city. These include the República de Argentina School, the post office, the House of Culture, the temple of the Immaculate Conception Parish, the Fort and the building of the High School of Heredia.
Alajuela is the second largest city in Costa Rica after San José and is located about 20 km from the capital. Due to the many mango trees, especially in the central park, Alajuela is also called the "City of Mangos". Its population began already 10,000 years ago and in the age of the caciques in the 16th century ruled chief Garabito. On the arrival of the Europeans in 1561, Garabito successfully defended his people, but the epidemics of entangled diseases to America defeated the aborigines. In 1782 the city was founded a Alajuela. Its main points of interest are the bronze statue of the national hero Juan Santamaria, also the name of the international airport in Alajuela, the cathedral in the city center, the "Mercado Municipal" and the already mentioned central park with its countless mango trees.