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Grecia, Alajuela

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Red Metal Church

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The picturesque town of Grecia in Alajuela province has the distinction of being one of the cleanest towns in Central America. Located some 20 km north of Alajuela city, this small farming town is around a 20-minute car-drive or a 30-minute bus-ride away. Lying northwest of the capital San Jose, Grecia is situated in Costa Rica’s Central Valley amidst beautiful mountain landscapes and rich lush sceneries.

The local Tico community here is very friendly and eagerly welcomes visitors into their homes as well as their hearts. Mostly farmers by profession, the people here are relaxed and laidback. Being an important agricultural hub of the country, sugar cane is grown and harvested in Grecia in huge amounts, as is organic coffee and pineapples.

Grecia has a fantastic climate that is fresh and breezy, keeping the weather here cool most of the year. This area is a great place to explore with its green and unspoiled environment. Nevertheless, do be careful and remember to use a map, as one can easily get lost with the roads being quite narrow. They are not marked out well enough as well.

This town is an important tourist destination mainly due to its unique metal church, which is a deep dark red color. The Cathedral de la Mercedes is a gothic style church made from metal pieces that were imported from Belgium in the 1890’s. This church is as beautiful from the inside as it is impressive from the outside. Besides the church, the Grecia Regional Museum is also worth a visit as well. North of central park is an insect and butterfly museum, which is home to over 50,000 different insects and butterflies.

However, perhaps the biggest reason why tourists flock to Grecia is because of the “World of Snakes” serpentarium, which houses more than 50 species of snakes from all over the world. Lying a kilometer out of town on the old Alajuela route, this snake habitat is a great place to observe these amazing reptiles in their natural environment. If you get the chance, tour the nearby waterfalls of Cataratas Los Chorros in Tucares de Grecia, which makes an excellent day trip.

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