Costa Rica’s Central Valley is the union of the country’s main cities, San Jose –the capital city-, Heredia, Alajuela and Cartago. The area comprises the territory from Paraiso of Cartago (in the East) to San Ramon of Alajuela (in the West); to the North, the valley borders the mountains of Heredia, and the Barva and Irazu volcanoes; and to the South, it limits with the Talamanca mountain range in the Caribbean and, on the Southwest, with the Tarcoles river valley.
Geographically, the Central Valley is divided in two different sections: one is the Western Valley and the other, the Valley of El Guarco; both separated by the Ochomogo hill. An important fact to take into account is that more than half of the population of the country is located in the Central Valley, as it is also the center of most of the economic activities, the main public governmental institutions and the private ones.
The Central Valley oscillates between 800 msnm (meters over the sea level), in towns such as Alajuela and La Garita, and 1.500 msnm in other places such as San Jose de la Montaña and Tarbaca. The Central Valley weather has temperatures varying between 12°C and 35°C, depending on the time of the year and the altitude of the specific place. San Jose downtown, usually presents an average temperature of 20°C. This climate is favorable to live and to spend some days in the area if you are coming for vacations.
As for its geography, this is one of Costa Rica towns that tends to have smooth hills with different elevations. These differences in the terrain increases towards the mountains that define the valley. Despite of this, the place does not present variations in huge magnitude or extreme in some way. Thanks to its geographical and natural richness, it is crossed by different fluvial channels, the ones that originate its rivers. One of its main attractions for tourism as them represents the opportunity of enjoying different fun water activities all year round.
The main economic activities of the valley vary depending on the province; this way, for example, we have a culture of producers planting potatoes (mainly) and other vegetables in Cartago, and producers of the Intel’s International Company microprocessors in Heredia. This area has a huge development in commerce and services: hospitals, education centers, banks, entertainment places, some of the best city hotels, and more. The main international airport is located here too.
Besides its visually impressive beauty, there are a lot of different things to do in Central Valley that will keep you busy while visiting it. There are a lot of varied activities of arts and culture to enjoy, as well as you can also find close contact with natural landscapes and wonders. For example, in the Cartago province you can find the oldest colonial-style church that is still in use in the whole country: The Orosi church which was built in 1734, and you can also enjoy the scenic beauty of the surroundings.
Across the Central Valley you can find a lot of great museums to visit if you want to know about our culture and also you can also take different adventure tours to enjoy a little bit of adrenaline during the holidays. Some of these tours visit the different volcanoes located in the region, and which are accessible from San Jose.
Here you can find the Turrialba and Barva volcanoes, but the most popular are the Poas and Irazu volcanoes.
Both volcanoes are situated inside the national parks that feature the same name and have played an important role in the history of the country. The Poas Volcano National Park is one of the oldest and most famous national parks in the country and it is still active.
Central Valley is a worth-visiting place full of activities and ideal for everyone. Now, if you are thinking about a trip to the country, then you may know that we have a great selection of hotels of all budgets, sizes, locations and characteristics; so, find the ideal option for your vacation will not be a problem at all.
From cozy boutique hotels nestled in the mountains that surround the valley, to conveniently located properties within the city, here it is possible to find both, leisure and business hotels to discover and enjoy during your next travel to Costa Rica.
Here we list our top recommendations of hotels in the Central Valley, for you to choose the one that adapts better to what you are looking. Check them out!