The Province of Alajuela is home to many places of interest for those visiting Costa Rica, including the busiest airport of the country. This one is the 3rd biggest province, which capital city has the same name, and is commonly known as “La Liga”, in reference to its local soccer team.
Alajuela is known for its industry and commerce; here we have many local companies that provide employment and goods like Dos Pinos, the biggest company in Costa Rica that produces a large variety of dairy products, for the local and international markets. This province is also the home of one of the most important assets of Costa Rica, the San Jose International Airport (the busiest of the country), which actual name is “The Juan Santamaria International Airport”. I know it sounds strange that the “San Jose Airport” is not located in San Jose, but it was determined by the government that even though this airport is in Alajuela, is better to call it “San Jose International Airport” to avoid confusion among the visitors of our country (?). Alajuela is also home to a few “free zone parks”, where there are many established companies from around the world, providing thousands and thousands of high quality well paid jobs to the local population; being the most common type of companies the ones producing medical devices and other technological products (there are no textiles in Alajuela anymore).
In terms of agriculture, the Province of Alajuela is famous for having some of the best coffee in the world, as a matter of fact, the most expensive sacks of coffee ever sold in history were produced in the volcanic mountain range of this province, more specifically in the region called “Naranjo”, were a Japanese company paid over USD$5,900 per sack in June 2016 (other Japanese companies had paid those amounts in previous years, setting new records almost every year). Other crops of interest produced in this province are pineapples, ornamental plants and flowers, strawberries, cassava root, beans, oranges, papaya, among others. Cattle farms, for dairy and meat, are also a big activity in the Province of Alajuela.
Tourism is another big activity of this province; these are some of the most important points of touristic interest that can be reached at the Province of Alajuela:
Poas Volcano National Park: This is the most visited National Park of the country. Many tours to Poas Volcano National Park depart daily from San Jose, Alajuela, Heredia and other towns of the Central Valley of Costa Rica.
Arenal Volcano: This one is the most visited touristic attraction of the country. The main town is called “La Fortuna”, where there are endless options for lodging, as well as a huge array of activities that are offered from here, such as zip lining, white water rafting, horseback riding, ATV Tours, waterfalls rappelling. Also nature activities, like rainforest walks in private and public reserves, hanging bridges walks, river boat tours to observe fauna, caves tours, waterfalls tours, volcano tours, bird watching tours, among others.
Cano Negro Wildlife Refuge: This is one of the best places to do nature tours in the area; mainly for the observation of the Costa Rican Wildlife (this place is ideal for bird watching tours).
Rio Celeste at the Tenorio Volcano National Park: The rainforest trails at this national park are very beautiful, but the main attraction is the “Rio Celeste” or Blue River, where the visitors could see how a clear water river turns into a blue river at the place called “Los Tenideros”. The trails at the park also feature a blue lagoon and a blue waterfall.
Sarchi folkloric town: Sarchi is known as the “birthplace of artisans of Costa Rica”. Here the tourists can visit its famous traditional oxcart factories, and the biggest oxcart in the world at its picturesque central park.
Venado Caves: One of the 2 best places in Costa Rica to do spelunking.
The City of Alajuela: The city features many monuments, parks and a very picturesque central market, a very good place to experience the Costa Rican culture. Also, one of the 2 most popular football teams of the country plays here, for those who are looking to experience good sport games in Costa Rica.
Overall, the Province of Alajuela has a lot to offer for those who are visiting this small Central American country for the first time, from culture, traditions and lots of natural places, definitely a must place to visit during a vacation in Costa Rica.