Alajuela is a picturesque Costa Rica province that will delight visitors with the cultural activities that are available. This culturally diverse province is vast, boosting second place in terms of province sizes in Costa Rica. There are natural and protected attractions in the area, including national parks with volcanoes, but there is also a fun, laid back attitude to immerse yourself in around metropolitan area. The Juan Santamaria International Airport
or the San Jose International Airport is located in Alajuela, which makes travel to and from the province very easy. This is a great place to experience the everyday life of Costa Ricans. Head to the markets or parks and watch the locals; what you’ll see is a community of people that live in a calm peace, with each other and with the landscape.
Don’t just watch, though. Get involved! Here are a few cultural activities keep in mind when planning a visit to Alajuela.
Religion is a big part of the culture in Costa Rica, and while visiting Alajuela, you can head to two buildings that are used for prayer and worship. You can explore the architecture and décor on your own, or you can join a public prayer session. The Alajuela Cathedral
is located near the Alajuela Park, which gives the area and the cathedral a lively and active spirit and character. The building was finished by 1863, but did not receive status as a cathedral for another 58 years. Today, it is a part of the calm hustle and bustle of Costa Rican culture.
The Methodist Church serves as an important historical landmark in Costa Rica. This church is a brick building, and was the first built in Costa Rica for the Methodist community to congregate.
Museums and More
Alajuela is filled with museums, cultural centers, and theaters. The cultural center and theater are both bona fide historical landmarks, and the museums represent some of most influential goods and people in the country’s history. Visitors to the cultural center will experience firsthand how the country is developing and supporting local arts and artists. The center offers a block-long, two-story building to explore, complete with a garden. The theater is less than 100 years old, but that hasn’t stopped it from being praised for its architecture and declared one of Costa Rica’s most important theaters.
Alajuela guests can visit the Souvenir Museum Verdes & Colores and the Juan Santamaria Historical Museum
. The Souvenir Museum Verdes & Colores will teach you how goods are produced and handcrafted in Costa Rica, and of course give you an opportunity to support the local economy by making a purchase. The Juan Santamaria Museum honors one of the country’s most important political figures.
Juan Santamaria is so important to Costa Rica that he not only has a museum named after him, he also has a monument structured in his image. The monument, found in the Juan Santamaria Plaza, is bronze, and was unveiled over 100 years ago.
Learn the Lingo
There is no better place to learn Spanish then in Costa Rica, with locals as your teachers. Of course, you’ll be exposed to casual language on the streets, and you might be able to pick up a few things, but you can also visit a Spanish language school in Alajuela
to get more formal linguistic training.
Learn the Other Language - Music
The other language of Costa Rica is more of a feeling – and it comes from music and dancing. If you take advantage of the language schools, you’ll have a better handle on the area’s music, and the dance that goes with it. Taking language and dance lessons at the same time will get you prepped for nights out and events
Choose a City in Alajuela Region
Once you have the language, music, and moves down, you’ll be ready to attend one of the many festivals that are celebrated throughout the year. These celebrations include so much culture, including bull fights, concerts, parades, food vendors, music, and costume parties. In January, the residents of Alajuela and its visitors celebrate Fiestas de Palmares
and Alajuelita Fiestas. In March, the Fruit Festival takes place. In the summer months, Alajuelans prepare for Mango Fiestas and San Ramon Day Parades. In fall, Independence Day is of course celebrated, along with Corn Fiesta.
If you aren’t around for any of the celebrations, you’ll definitely be missing out on some great food, but the good news is that you can still experience the food of Costa Rica through the central market in Alajuela. Here, you’ll find more than just food too, you’ll find many other goods like watches and clothing. The central market boosts over 200 kiosks for visitors to explore.