The stunningly gorgeous San Jose Highlands is a fertile and verdant area encompassed in Alajuela province by towering volcanoes to the north and looming mountains to the south. A densely populated region with unparalleled scenic beauty, the highlands comprise the Juan Santamaria International Airport and the area to its northwest including the towns like San Ramon, Grecia, Orotina, and Sarchi. Also part of this region is the beautiful Parque Nacional Volcan Poas.
La Paz Waterfall from the road
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One of the main highlights of the San Jose Highlands is its amazing scenery, which can be enjoyed by taking a long car ride along the meandering roads and highways that are found here. A quaint charming area, many coffee plantations lie here offering some of the best coffee in the country. Comprising of rolling green hills and beautiful valleys with near perfect weather throughout the weather, the San Jose Highlands exude a uniqueness all its own. The prefect weekend getaway from the smog and traffic of the city, this area with its picturesque lodges, lush greenery and blossoming trees, provides some of the most romantic landscapes in the country.
Visit the lovely town of Sarchi, 29 km northwest from Alajuela known for its intricate and striking arts and crafts. The perfect place to purchase some traditional souvenirs, this artisan town is perhaps most widely recognized for its colorful oxcart handicrafts, which are highly ornate and elegantly hand carved. The oxcart is a national symbol of Costa Rica for in days gone by, oxcarts were used to transport coffee beans from the region to faraway markets.
South of Sarchi lies Grecia with its fantastic fresh climate and unspoiled environment. The biggest draw of this tiny town is its ‘World of Snakes’ serpentarium that is home to more than 50 species of snakes from all over the world. While in town also do not forget to visit the unique metal church built here. Constructed in 1897 the gothic styled Cathedral de la Mercedes is an impressive building both inside and out.
The prefect place to spend an afternoon is in the wonderful town of San Ramon. Nicknamed ‘The city of presidents and poets,’ this town has been home to five former Costa Rican presidents and has a wonderful museum capturing this region’s impressive history.
Northeast of San Ramon and possibly the most developed national park in the country, the Parque Nacional Volcan Poas is definitely worth visiting. Although there are no accommodations here and camping is not permitted, this park protects the sources of several important rivers in Costa Rica and its dense forests are home to many wonderful species of wildlife including the endemic Poás Squirrel.