Cuidad Quesada ( San Carlos ), Alajuela

Alajuela province is home to mountain ranges, volcanoes and coffee fields. Although many tourists enjoy going to the capital city, Alajuela, if you’re looking for a place less frequented by tourists, Cuidad Quesada is great place for relaxing, shopping and enjoying nature. Although the city is small, it is a main trading and business center. Even better, it’s practically untouched by tourism.

Beautiful Landscapes

Cuidad Quesada, often referred to as San Carlos, is in the central part of the Alajuela province. It’s one of the most agriculturally fertile areas in Costa Rica. Meat and dairy production is a key industry, but there are also coffee farms which can be visited. The town is home to Costa Rica’s largest dairy cooperative. Make sure to try the local cheeses, especially a stringy cheese that is quite delicious.

The city sits in a rich, fertile valley home to some spectacular views of the countryside. It’s accessible by car, but there are also many bus routes from San Jose to Cuidad Quesada that you can take if you don’t want to rent a car. The climate is temperate most of the year. The town has most of the services you would expect from a major city, a hospital, schools, university and transportation infrastructure.

Although Cuidad Quesada is not a touristic town, it does have friendly locals who welcome travelers. The town has many restaurants where you can find traditional Tico cuisine. The real draw to this town is the fresh, clean air and beautiful hillsides. There are several hot springs in the area where you can enjoy a spa-like experience, and the town has excellent hotel accommodations, including luxurious spas and resorts. It is also accessible by plane, both private and commercial.

The town is close to many of the most popular places to see volcanos. Juan Castro Blanco National Park is an excellent place for bird-watching and has three volcanoes on site. Peacocks, falcons, black turkeys and quetzal are plentiful throughout the 35,000-acre park. The park is also home to many monkey species, goats, armadillos, frogs, snakes and lizards. It’s also an archaeological site with many historic discoveries from the past.

Arenal Volcano is located in the San Carlos province. It has been dormant since 2010, but it was one of the 10 most active volcanoes in the world. It is still monitored and studied by seismologists, because it suddenly erupted in 1968 and destroyed the town of Tabacon. It erupted quite a few times over the next few decades, even though it is one of the youngest volcanoes in the country. The reservoir’s water is connected to the national system for hydroelectric power.

The Zoológico La Marina is a private zoo with more than 450 species of animals and birds for visitors to enjoy. The facility successfully breeds tapirs, which is an endangered species, spider monkeys and green and scarlet macaws. The zoo tries to return animals to their natural habitat whenever possible. It’s an excellent facility where you can see animals, birds and reptiles without having to trek into the wild.

Come to the Countryside

Costa Rica is an eco-tourist’s dream. The country works diligently to minimize the carbon footprint of tourists and residents. You can volunteer in one of the nature centers as part of your vacation or just enjoy the natural beauty of the place, depending on your own version of a holiday trip. Cuidad Quesada is a great basecamp for tourists who want a central location as a basecamp for exploring the Alajuela province and countryside. If you’re traveling to La Fortuna, Cuidad Quesada is a great place to visit and stay while you’re on vacation.

Costa Rica Cloud Forest & Arenal Volcano Tour
6 Days / 5 Nights
Starting at $979 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 Ciudad Quesada ( San Carlos )

Featured Hotel
El Silencio Lodge & Spa
Starting at $350 / night
Featured Hotel
Bosque de Paz
Starting at $120 / night
Featured Hotel
Finca Vibran Bed and Breakfast
Starting at $85 / night
Featured Hotel
Hotel Iguana Verde
Starting at $77 / night
Featured Hotel
Hotel Mango Valley
Starting at $60 / night
Featured Hotel
Poas Lodge
Starting at $53 / night
Featured Hotel
Peace Lodge
Starting at $250 / night
Featured Hotel
Hotel Colinas del Sol
Starting at $84 / night

Things to Do near Ciudad Quesada ( San Carlos )

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