Santa Barbara, Heredia

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When it comes to discovering the real Costa Rica, there's no better way to see the country than by exploring the quaint mountain towns off the beaten path. The locals are friendly and hospitable, but amenities aimed at tourists are scarce. These charming towns and villages offer visitors a glimpse at the laid back lifestyle for which Ticos are famous. If you're taking a trip to the province of Heredia, a stop in Santa Barbara is well worth it.

Peace and Quiet, Costa Rican style

Santa Barbara is located around four miles northeast of the city of Alajuela and six miles (10 km) northwest of the city of Heredia. Many of the locals make their living from agriculture, including coffee plantations and herb farms. There are also several Spanish language schools in the area. Life here is peaceful, as most tourists tend to flock to the more populous cities such as the capital of San Jose. However, if you're looking for a relaxing way to enjoy everything that Costa Rica has to offer, Santa Barbara won't disappoint.

Lay of the Land

For the ultimate in rural luxury, you won't want to miss a stop at the Finca Rosa Blanca Coffee Plantation. This lavish resort is one of the area's best-kept secrets, and offers you the chance to relax amid some of Heredia's most spectacular scenery while indulging in the many amenities on offer.

Finca Rosa is a working coffee plantation and eco-resort rolled into one. During your stay here, you can enjoy the incredible views of the rolling hillsides and valleys of Heredia, before learning about how important coffee production is to rural Costa Rican towns like Santa Barbara. The facility boasts luxurious spa treatments, a restaurant with an extensive menu of organic foods, and authentic Spanish villa-style decor.

Going on a Walkabout

Of course, no trip to Costa Rica would be complete without experiencing the lush natural beauty of the countryside. From Santa Barbara, you can take romantic horseback rides through the surrounding hills, go hiking along the area's scenic trails, and enjoy the beautiful waterfalls that can be found in the nearby jungles. If you're feeling adventurous, you can take a day trip to nearby Braulio Carrillo National Park, home of the mighty Barva Volcano.

For a glimpse of Costa Rican life, Heredia is hard to beat. While you're traveling through the area, why not stop in Santa Barbara and enjoy everything that this tropical paradise has to offer?
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