Palmares, Alajuela

Palmares is the second-largest city in Alajuela, Costa Rica – a province that’s full of natural wonders and stunning scenery. Surrounded by lush hills and looking out to the Aguacate mountain range, Palmares – a city that 31,000 people call home – embodies much of what makes Alajuela a great place to visit. There’s something for everyone here. Nature lovers will appreciate the beautiful views and the accessibility of the great outdoors, while travelers who prefer staying in town will find plenty of rich culture in the city of Palmares itself.

The Origins of Palmares

Palmares was founded towards the end of the 19th century. The city was named after the palm trees that grow abundantly throughout the area. As it turns out, palm trees aren’t the only type of plant that grows well in Palmares – coffee trees and tobacco plants also thrive in this city’s fertile soil and warm, humid climate. Because of this, Palmares is primarily an agricultural city. Coffee is its main export; if you’ve ever enjoyed a cup of Costa Rican coffee, it could have been grown in Palmares. Various types of livestock are also raised here.

The Land Around Palmares

Palmares is naturally bordered off from the rest of the country by the Aguacate Mountains to the south and the west and the Río Grande on the north and northeast. Much of the water the city uses comes from the Río Grande. The nearby Fierro, Mora, and Azul rivers also provide water for the city. Palmares is a particularly idyllic place to visit thanks to the wealth of natural beauty that surrounds it.

Parades and Festivals in Palmares

In Costa Rica, festivals are built into the rhythm of everyday life. Many cities in Costa Rica are famed for the parades and festivals they hold every year, and Palmares is no exception. Festival season in Palmares falls during the month of January. Plan your visit during this time, and you’ll be able to take part in the Fiestas – one of the biggest annual parties in Costa Rica. Part of the Fiestas includes the famous “Tope,” which is a parade of people riding horses through the city. The colorful celebration also involves a carnival, delicious Costa Rican food, and plenty of beer. Travelers are welcome to participate in the festivities, and if you decide to attend the Fiestas, you’ll be in good company. More than 500,000 people – both locals and tourists – flock to Palmares every year to experience the Fiestas for themselves. What better way to immerse yourself in the local culture while you’re in Costa Rica?

Other Things to Do in Palmares

There’s plenty to do and see in Palmares, whether you visit during the festival or not. Stroll the city’s winding streets and visit the churches for which Palmares is renowned. One highlight is the Church of Zaragoza, which is regarded as one of the most beautiful Roman Catholic churches in the entire province of Alajuela. Another church you won’t want to miss is the Church of Palmares, which is made of stone – something that you won’t often see in Costa Rica. You can also relax in the city’s numerous well-kept public parks and visit the Spanish bullring. Even today, matadors still show off their speed and grace by putting on traditional bullfighting shows here.

Palmares is a beautiful city that’s well worth a visit if you’re going to be in Costa Rica soon. Spending time in Palmares gives you a unique opportunity to enjoy authentic Costa Rican culture, especially if you’re going to be in town during the Fiestas. Palmares is also surrounded by some of the most beautiful scenery in the country, and it has plenty of local attractions to explore. Everyone can find something they love about Palmares – what will you love most about your visit?

Costa Rica Cloud Forest & Arenal Volcano Tour
6 Days / 5 Nights
Starting at $878 per person
Costa Rica Eco-Adventure Tour
12 Days / 11 Nights or 10 Days / 9 Nights
Starting at $2,352 per person

Where to Stay near Palmares

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Hotel Colinas del Sol
Starting at $84 / night
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Hotel Lavas Tacotal
Starting at $85 /night
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Finca Vibran Bed and Breakfast
Starting at $85 / night
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Hotel Magic Mountain
Starting at $110 / night
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Mountain Paradise Hotel
Starting at $90 / night
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Tilajari Resort Hotel
Starting at $82 / night
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Berlor Airport Inn
Starting at $68 / night
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Arenal Springs Resort & Spa
Starting at $170 / night

Things to Do near Palmares

Featured Activity
Waterfall, Arenal Volcano and Hot Springs Tour
Starting at $89 / person