Central Valley

San José is the Costa Rican capital and is a fantastic place to head to in order to get a taste for the local culture.

© Costa Rican Trails

Central Valley at a glance

  • Central Valley is a fantastic base for exploring the country. There is easy access to a whole host of fascinating natural and cultural sights. Explorers can visit volcanoes and coffee plantations, or discover the secrets of the diverse rainforests.

  • The Central Valley is awash with great activities to try - you could try canyoning or zip lining through the jungle. You could even white water raft to your hotel which is nestled deep in the rainforest!

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Destinations in Central Valley

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© Costa Rican Trails

San Jose

As the capital city of Costa Rica, San José is surrounded by volcanoes, rain forests, and coffee plantations.

  • San José is located in the Central valley and sits between mountain ranges, small valleys, and three active volcanoes.
  • San José is an ideal place to stop at the beginning or end of your Costa Rican adventure, as the city is close to the international airport and is home to several museums.
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© Costa Rican Trails

Turrialba and Pacuare

Set in the lush Central Valley, Turrialba is a scenic town with stunning views of the local countryside. Just over 50km East of the capital San José, the area is ideally situated for visitors to enjoy both sides of Costa Rica.

  • Turrialba is a haven for thrill seekers thank’s to its location close to the river Rios Pacuare – the area known as Pacuare gets its name from the vast river which runs through it, and is a hotspot for kayaking and white water rafting.
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Destinations in Central Valley

© Costa Rican Trails

San Jose

As the capital city of Costa Rica, San José is surrounded by volcanoes, rain forests, and coffee plantations.

  • San José is located in the Central valley and sits between mountain ranges, small valleys, and three active volcanoes.
  • San José is an ideal place to stop at the beginning or end of your Costa Rican adventure, as the city is close to the international airport and is home to several museums.
Explore

© Costa Rican Trails

Turrialba and Pacuare

Set in the lush Central Valley, Turrialba is a scenic town with stunning views of the local countryside. Just over 50km East of the capital San José, the area is ideally situated for visitors to enjoy both sides of Costa Rica.

  • Turrialba is a haven for thrill seekers thank’s to its location close to the river Rios Pacuare – the area known as Pacuare gets its name from the vast river which runs through it, and is a hotspot for kayaking and white water rafting.
Explore

© Costa Rican Trails

Alajuela

Alajuela is the second largest city in Costa Rica, after the capital San José, and is the birthplace to Costa Rica’s famous national hero – Juan Santamaria. Alajuela’s location only 20km from the international airport makes it an ideal destination to begin or conclude a Costa Rican adventure.

  • April is a fantastic time to visit Alajuela, when the city comes alive with the celebrations of Juan Santamaria Day. Parades and carnivals line the streets during the colourful national party for the anniversary of the Battle of Rivas!
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© Costa Rican Trails

Bajos del Toro

The area of Bajos del Toro is filled with extinct volcanoes, nature reserves, flowing rivers and bursting waterfalls. It’s the ideal destination for lazy days or action packed adventures, with a new area to be discovered every day.

  • Catarata del Toro is Costa Rica’s biggest waterfall, cascading into a dormant volcanic crater. Experience the beauty of the nature surrounding this largely undiscovered gem!
  • Sitting in the shadow of the Poas Volcano, Bajos del Toro is an excellent destination for adventurous activities.
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© Costa Rican Trails

Poas

Poas Volcano is an impressive site, with it’s rain-filled craters over a mile wide. One crater remains dormant, while the other stays active and regularly explodes into plumes of steam and debris!

  • In a fantastic example of Costa Rica’s respect for the power of nature, the Poas Volcano National Park remains closed due to recent volcanic activity, to protect both the visitors and the fragile nature around the volcano.
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Experiences in Central Valley

There is plenty to do and see in the Central Valley area. Speak to one of our Travel Designers to add some of these amazing activities to your personalised holiday.

General Information

With approximately 70% of the population living in this region the Central Valley has a lot of energy and is perfect for those who would like to enjoy some culture, nightlife and shopping. The region is home to the capital city of San Jose and its suburbs as well as the international airport. The regions location provides a cooler climate and as such can be a welcome escape from the hot coastal areas, especially during the hot dry season. There are also plenty of attractions that are within easy reach of the city of San Jose including the volcanoes of Irazu and Poas. Many visitors enjoy a couple of days here at the beginning or end of their trip to get to know the “real” Costa Rica.

Capital

San Jose

Population

3.6 million

Area

11,366 km²

Language

Spanish but English is widely spoken

Currency

Costa Rican Colon or USD

Best time to visit

Dry Season: December to April Green Season: May to November

Food and Drink

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