Moravia, San José

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Some people enjoy the hustle and bustle of major cities, but others prefer to travel to quieter, more authentic locales. Moravia is one of the latter destinations. Located just outside of San Jose, Moravia isn't too far from all the action, but it features all the perks and culture of a small Costa Rican village. It is comprised of 44 neighborhoods, which means that there is no shortage of things to do or see, and is rich in culture, food, shopping and more. Though the town's dedication to agriculture has shrunk in recent years, it still produces some of the country's finest coffee beans, fruits and vegetables. It is also renowned for its fine leather goods and handcrafted items.

Unlike many of the smaller Costa Rican towns, which are mostly suited for daytime adventures, Moravia is a place where you can happily spend a week and still not get to do it all. Stay in a quaint bed and breakfast for an opportunity to really interact with the locals, shop at some of the local boutiques for one of a kind gifts and souvenirs and get a taste of true Costa Rica cuisine at a local restaurant or café.

Braulio Carrillo National Park

Both Braulio Carrillo National Park itself and the highway you take to get there are sites worth seeing. Though the park is undoubtedly breathtaking, the highway is the reason that the park become a protected reserve in the first place.

Though the highway to the park is one of the most traversed paths in all of Costa Rica, if you get out of your vehicle and walk just 100 feet toward either side of the highway, you will be transported to an entirely different place. The forest is replete with over 150 species of mammals, which include jaguars, ocelots, white-faced capuchin monkeys, racoons, pacas, peccaries and more. Though you don't want to temp fate by getting close to a jaguar, most of the other animals are more than happy to invite you to explore their enviable habitat.

Once inside the park, the natural wonders only become more plentiful. In addition to housing over 500 species of birds and the 150 mammal species, the park is littered with paths that offer breathtaking views of waterfalls, rivers, the tops of canopies and more. Some paths wind as far as 32 miles and feature drop offs of 10,000 feet. If you're not one for heights, stick to the shorter, family friendly paths.

Gondola Rides and Other Attractions

Though there is enough to do in Moravia to see or do without having to pay for an attraction, it's definitely worth your hard-earned money to take a trip on a gondola. However, the gondolas in Costa Rica are slightly different than those you can find in Italy and other parts of the world. These gondolas are in the air. The gondolas in Braulio Carrillo National Park take you on a two-level tour of the rainforest canopy. If you were too unsure of your footing to hike the 32 mile trail, you can still experience the thrill of being up that high—and catch the amazing views—but from the safety of the gondola as it climbs the mountain and dips into the valley. Each gondola carries up to four passengers and a guide.

Shopping

Costa Rica is known for its handmade goods, which is why you can't leave the area without a little something for yourself and loved ones back home. Moravia is home to the El Gran Cacique, a gift shop that sells only handcrafted items. After you've selected a leather good or piece of jewelry, head on over to the La Rueda, which features items that are just as unique as those found at the El Gran Cacique.

Being right outside of San Jose, Moravia has it all. From outdoor adventures to iconic Costa Rica churches, you will discover that there's a little bit of fun for everyone in this secluded suburb.