Want to experience what big city life is like in Costa Rica? If so, then you should visit Alajuela, Costa Rica. This city is the second largest in all of Costa Rica, second only to the capital city itself, San Jose. Based in the Costa Rican Central Valley, the city is considered a part of the thriving Great Metropolitan Valley. As such, when you visit Alajuela, you don’t just get to experience the fun and excitement offered by the city itself; you can also easily experience all of the opportunities provided by the surrounding cities as well.
What’s the Weather Like?
Obviously, the average person visits Costa Rica for fun in the sun, and you’ll find plenty of sunshine in Alajuela! In addition to sunny weather, however, there are occasional rainstorms and clouds. This is due in large part to the fact that much of Alajuela receives the weather that blows in from the Caribbean Sea. Plus, a large part of Alajuela was once, believe it or not, covered in rain forests! Recent environmental changes have made Alajuela hotter and drier than it was in the past, but you should still enjoy (mostly) beautiful weather that will allow you to take advantage of fun activities in the great outdoors.
What could make travel easier than being located right next to the airport? Alajuela really is right beside the San Jose International Airport, making getting to and from the city incredibly easy. There are lots of bus routes available too, so you can easily board a bus at the airport and reach your hotel or other destination without renting a car. Furthermore, many flights to nearby islands and other attractions are fairly affordable, so you can take advantage of the city’s proximity to the airport by booking a few special excursions.
While Alajuela offers many “must-see” sites, one of the best, especially for nature-lovers, is Cano Negro National Wildlife Refuge. The massive refuge is a winter home for certain breeds of waterfowl and an all-the-time home for many wetland creatures. Bird enthusiasts and non-bird enthusiasts alike will be enthralled by the multitudes of colorful birds that flock to the refuge each year; for the best view and the widest variety of birds, try going sometime between October and April. You’ll likely see the Wood Stork, the Glossy Ibis, the Black-bellied Whistling-Duck, and the Blue-Winged Teal, among other gorgeous and rare birds.
The Ultimate in Relaxation
What do you want out of your Costa Rican excursion? If you’re like most people, you probably want nothing more than to relax and indulge yourself. Well, there’s no better place to do that than the Soles de Tiempo Life-ness Center of Alajuela. At this luxurious spa, you can enjoy a treatment that’s crafted just for you and your unique needs. Enjoy a massage, some acupuncture therapy, a meditation session, or any other relaxation technique or holistic treatment that works for you. The prices are surprisingly affordable, and besides, wouldn’t you pay almost any price to fully relax and feel completely at ease?
Feast on Fresh Fruits
If you’re going to be in Alajuela on a Saturday, then you absolutely have to check out the outdoor farmers’ market. It’s held all over the countryside of Alajuela; if you simply walk away from the city’s noise and lights, you’re sure to find the market. You can buy gorgeous flowers and flower clippings to plant your own blossoms, fruits and vegetables, and even crafts that have been handmade by the locals and that work well as souvenirs. Some vendors prepare food that you can eat when your feet get tired from walking around, and best of all, local musical artists gather to perform their music, so you can enjoy sweet, authentic Costa Rican sounds while you shop. Bear in mind that, no matter what you’re buying, most vendors are happy to haggle. Never pay the first price you’re offered; always try to talk the seller down and remember, if you see something at one vendor’s location, you’ll see it at another’s. So, don’t ever feel pressured into making a purchase at the market or like it’s your “one last chance” to get a specific item.
Seeing the Sites
Obviously, there is much to see and do in beautiful Alajuela, and the good news is that you can walk to most of the must-see spots. While Alajuela may be a busy city, it is also a surprisingly small one when you really start exploring. In fact, you could walk through the entire downtown area, which is where many of the attractions are, in just a few hours. Public buses also run everywhere and generally cost less than $1 per trip; some buses will even take you into neighboring towns. And, of course, you can always hail a taxi; taxi cabs in Alajuela tend to be red and are surprisingly affordable. So, choose one (or more) of these transportation methods and start exploring Alajuela!