Situated in the north-central mountain region of Costa Rica, the small province of Heredia is known for its lush, untouched beauty. Located a short drive from the capital city of San Jose, this province boasts extensive outdoor recreation and amenities as well as an urban center. The city of Heredia is one of the oldest in the country, yet provides a slower pace of life than San Jose. This region is also famous for its coffee plantations and stunning volcanoes.
Bridge over one of La Paz Waterfalls
Braulio Carrillo is one of the most easily accessible national parks in the region, as there is a highway that runs virtually right through the park. With the Poas Volcano to the west and the Irazu Volcano to the east, Braullio has one of the most scenic landscapes in the country. Home to at least five different life zones and virgin forest, travelers can witness a diverse array of wildlife and aviary species in action throughout various elevations.
The park is also home to the inactive Barva Volcano that sits 9,534 feet high above the lush greenery. Spanning roughly 62 square miles, this massive volcano was believed to have been active more than 3,000 years ago. Today, Barva boasts the Barva Lagoon, one of the most visited lagoons in the country. Because of the high altitude of Barva, there is an abundance of wildlife as well as diverse weather conditions.
La Paz is the No. 1 most visited privately owned ecological attraction in Costa Rica, and boasts the most famous waterfall in the entire country. In addition, this wildlife reserve is home to more than 100 animal species, a lake where you can cast a line to catch your own trout dinner and experience a stunning butterfly garden. The waterfall garden is most often visited for the hiking trails that meander through towering, cascading waterfalls. The Magia Blanca waterfall is the most majestic and is perfect for photographers who want to take memorable photographs from underneath the flowing water.
Known as "The City of Flowers," Heredia is a beautiful community tucked between small mountainous towns. The crown jewel of the city is Central Park, or Parque Central, which is surrounded by unique architecture and lined with mango trees. Ancient buildings that border the park date back to the 18th century, including the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, which was built in 1797. The House of Culture, or La Case de la Cultura, is also situated on park grounds and is one of the top attractions in the city. As the old home of President Alfredo Gonzalez Flores, the building in itself is historic. It also contains artifacts and unique exhibits for travelers to learn more about the culture of the city.
The small nearby town of Barva is quaint, and dates back to the 16th century. Boasting a colonial atmosphere and unique architecture, Barva is an ideal stop for any history buff. Basílica de Barva, is one of the top attractions here, dating back to 1767. This stunning church is next to a small courtyard with contemporary sculptures and colonial, adobe homes. The mask-making studio of Francisco Montero is another point of interest, and should not be missed.
Looking for a delicious cup cafe? Located within the town, Café Britt is one of the most famous coffee roasting companies in the country. It was founded in 1985 and was the first gourmet roaster in the country. Since then, the place has become one of the largest attractions in the country, and has welcomed more than 500,000 visitors after opening to the public in 1991. The tour of Café Britt includes a visit to the gardens and lush green areas, a walk through the coffee roaster, a skit by giant puppets teaching about Costa Rican folklore, history and culture, and a tasting of coffee and chocolate created on-site.
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