Alajuela is the second largest province in Costa Rica and is located some 12 miles Northeast of the capital along the General CaÃ±as highway.
The city of Alajuela is also known as the âCity of Mangosâ because of its large number of mango trees, specifically around Central Park.
The Alajuela canton has a population of about 287,211 people. Its diversity of production is the driving force behind the local and national economy.
The surroundings of the Juan SantamarÃa International Airport, the main entry point to Costa Rica, are developing into a large concentration of exporting businesses. Many of these businesses are manufacturing industries that work within the free trade zones.
Visitors will find many attractions to see, like the Juan SantamarÃa History Museum, the Alajuela Cultural Center or the Cathedral that was restored in 2010, whose interior displays beautiful pictorial works of art.
Its warm climate and friendly people, as well as many interesting points of interest that can be reached on foot makes the county of Alajuela a place definitely worth seeing.
Monument to Juan SantamarÃa
The Juan SantamarÃa Plaza is the most important icon for the Alajuelan community and all Costa Ricans because it is home to the Juan SantamarÃa Historical National Monument. The bronze statue is flanked by two canons and is dedicated to the memory of Juan SantamarÃa. It was unveiled on September 15th, 1891, and is dedicated to the memory of this hero who gave his life to save the country in the National Campaign against the Filibuster headed by William Walker.
He was declared a national hero after the end of the Battle of Rivas on April 11th, 1856.
This historical event in which Costa Rica came out victorious is one of the proud moments of this pacific Costa Rican town that was able to defend its freedom and its ideals of independence.
The Theater was built in 1956 and designed by the prominent national architect JosÃ© MarÃa Barrantes. It is a shining example of the Art Deco and Neo-Colonial movement in Costa Rica.
The previous building, The Event Room of the Alajuela Institute, was used as a theater since the beginning of the 20th century. In 1911, the businessman, Buenaventura CaserÃa, brought in theater groups from San JosÃ© and the rest of the country every Saturday, and, when possible theater groups from abroad. He showed comedies and dramas as well as operas and films.
It was declared a Historical Architectural landmark by Executive Decre. Today, it is home to the Alajuela National Theater and is considered the third most important theater in the country after the National Theater and the MÃ©lico Salazar Theater In San JosÃ©. Telephone: 2436-2362 / 2436-2332
The provisions market in Alajuela was born with the founding of the city of Alajuela on October 12th, 1782. It is located in the center of the city and measures some 25,149 sq. ft. and a total of 249 kiosks with different business activities like watch stores, butcheries, fish markets, mini-diners, clothing stores, shoe stores, etc. It is open from Monday to Saturday, 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
The Municipal market in Alajuela is in the process of being remodeled to ejuvenate business in Alajuela from the center of the city.
Alajuela Cultural Center
This building is located where the old Alajuela Municipal Palace once was. It was declared a historical landmark in 1979. It measures one block in diameter and has two levels with a garden in the middle. The center is open to the public from Monday to Saturday. It is home to the Municipal Archive, the Municipal Music Conservatory, the Sports Promotion Office, and the regional office of the Culture department in Alajuela.
Since October of 1996, it has been home to the Alajuela Cultural Center, which has played an important role in developing art and culture in Alajuela. There are many options provided thanks to the efforts of la Escuela Casa de Artista, the Alajuela Municipal Conservatory, the Chess School, among others.
TomÃ¡s Guardia Central Park
Since 1890, this park has been one of the main meeting point in Alajuela and is considered an historical landmark in âThe city of mangos.â The layout of the park displays a renaissance influence from the beginning of the 20th century, where the internal flow starts from the center and works outward.
The interior of the park is made up of green areas in geometric shapes with a beautiful fountain in the middle imported from Glasgow, Scotland.
The nucleus of this space is for social interaction, which is surrounded by buildings of great historical and architectural value. It is common to see artistic or cultural events in this area.
Next to Alajuela Park is the Cathedral, which began as a public prayer building in 1782. Its construction was finished in 1863 and was declared as a cathedral in 1921.
Its neoclassical style and proximity to the park and downtown Alajuela give the area an elegant, but simple character, typical of the Alajuelan town. In the back area of the cathedral is the pinkish dome, also designed in the neo-classical style.
Its interior has a simple and spacious decoration, with the exception of the dome, which has more ornamentation. Made up of three naves, the capitals are decorated with motifs from the local area.
This building makes up part of the historical center of the city and is considered an extremely valuable landmark. The presence of the Methodist congregation in Costa Rica dates back to 1917 and in 1928 the first Methodist church âEl MesÃasâ was built in brick in the center of the city, which represents a traditional meeting point for the Methodist community.
Juan SantamarÃa History Museum
This fortress was built between 1874 and 1877 by General TomÃ¡s Guardia and remodeled in 1936 by then president LeÃ³n Cortes Castro. Various Alajuelan military leaders that commanded the headquarters came to be president of the republic such as General PrÃ³spero FernÃ¡ndez and General Bernardo Soto Alfaro.
By 1894 there were enough military weapons to arm 5,000 men. Some believe that the underground tunnels that connect the barracks with the generalâs residence and the city hall are from the remodeling in 1936.
After the abolition of the military, it was converted into an education center and after that, it was the main office for the Research and Perfection in Technical Learning Center (CIPET in Spanish). It has been recently set up as the Juan SantamarÃa History and Culture Museum. It was declared a Historical Architectural point of interest, according to the Executive Decree published in the La Gaceta.
San Rafael Historic Hospital
Construction on the Historic San Rafael Hospital was completed in 1905. Its eclectic baroque design of the southern faÃ§ade is still almost completely intact, and was declared a historical architectural landmark by Executive Decree on September 3rd, 1999, and published in La Gaceta No.206, the 25th of October, 1999.
The southern faÃ§ade of the property joins the Palmares Park in historical-architectural harmony. For more than 100 years, this hospital center has attended the needs of the Alajuelan community, making it an important institution within the historical development of the community. It is currently home to the Costa Rica Social Security offices.
Use ATMs that are located in public, well illuminated areas. Donât allow strangers to stand near you and avoid taking unsolicited help. Count your money and put it away prior leaving the ATM.
Use the safe deposit box of your hotel for your valuables.
AscenciÃ³n Esquivel School
The AscenciÃ³n Esquivel Ibarra School is another valuable piece of national and tourism property. It is a concrete building dating back to 1936. It was designed and supervised by the architect JosÃ© MarÃa Barrantes, one of the most renowned architects of public and private buildings in the middle of the 20th century. It is part of the historical center of Alajuela and plays an important role in the context of urban life in the city.
Alejandro Morera Soto Stadium
The Alejandro Morera Soto stadium is very close to the historical center of Alajuela and is home to the Liga Deportiva Alajuelense, one of the football clubs with the longest running traditions in Costa Rica and in Central America, founded on June 18th,1919.
With a collection of 27 national championships and 17 runner-up titles. Past football greats have passed through this club, such as the best football player in the history of Costa Rica, the great magician of the soccer ball, Alejandro Morera Soto, name given to the stadium in 1961.
Ermita de la ConcepciÃ³n de El Llano - Temple
It was built at the end of the 19th century, in 1889. The adobe and wattle and daub architecture and construction system use to build this temple is nowadays obsolete, making it one of the few religious buildings representing this style. It is still located in the Central Valley.
This property is the result of hardworking local management, which was able to acquire the land and finance it by means of social and recreational activities, as part of a process geared toward identifying and setting itself up in the community.
The combination of the former considerations is sufficient grounds to ensure their conservation and grant it historical and architectural landmark status.
Public Art Displays
In order to promote culture and create a sense of belonging among Alajuelans to strengthen local identity, the City of Alajuela has created the âPublic Art Displaysâ project in which a contest is held to select various works of art to be displayed throughout the downtown Alajuela areas and surrounding areas.