Alajuela, home to Juan Santamaria International Airport, is most
visitors first view of Costa Rica. Outside the fly zone, the province's rural
charm, enhanced by green, rolling countryside, quaint lodges and first-rate
restaurants, makes this "second city" more than just an arrival and
Take the General Canas Highway north- 1 t 3- st from San Jose to
the Alajuela exit just 3 I to fore the airport. TUASA buses (222-5325) leave
every five minutes from Ave 2, St. 12-14 in San Jose. Alajuela Station Wagon
(441-1181) buses leave very five minutes from Jose's Parque La de la Merced.
Both cost about 150 ($0.50).
What to do ?
Poas Volcano Nanational Park,
a scenic, 37. drive from Alajuela, attracts visitors from around the world
to its steaming crater and bubbling turquoise sulfur pool. The 5,000-hectare
park is home to one of the country's most beautiful cloud forests. Bring
a jacket and prepare to wait patiently for a break in the clouds that
usually shroud the misty summit. The educational Visitors center at the
park's main entrance also houses snack bar and a gift shop. Open
7 a.m.:30 p.m. daily.
Ojo de Agua , jammed on weekends, natural
spring-water swimming pools, artificial boat pond, tennis courts, soccer
fields, barbecue grills, restaurant. Admission, ¢250 ($1).
Laguna Fraijanes, local sports, recreation facility
on the road to Poas, nature trails, picnic areas, basketball, volleyball courts
on 38 acres around a la goon. Unlighted cabins, chalets, and campsite for groups of 10 and
up. Open daily until sunset except Mondays. Entrance $1 adults, kids half price.
The Butterfly Farm, must-see, 14 km south of downtown. Thrills, educates with hundreds of these beautiful
creatures in tropical garden setting. Guided tours in several languages. Open daily 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
ZooAve in La Garita, vast collection of tropical birds, some primates, reptiles, park` like setting. Home to a
successful captive breeding and release center for endangered species. Open
daily 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Alajuela's mango tree-lined Central Park gives visitors a feel
for town's laidback atmosphere. Next to the park is the cathedral, built in
1863, with its distinctive red metallic dome. Just south of the cathedral is a
statue in honor of Juan Santamaria, a drummer boy-turned-national hero who died
while setting fire to the headquarters of William Walker's invading troops in
the war of 1856.
The Juan Santamaria Museum, highlights battles against William Walker,
life of hero Juan Santamaria. Nearby Church of La Agonia, built in 1941, is an
architecturally interesting melange of styles amid traditional adobe of