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It is the main province of the country. It has twenty counties and 20 districts. Its main town is the city of San José, and has been the capital of Costa Rica since 1823. Within its territory lie the three Powers of the Republic: The President of the Republic, The Legislative Assembly, and the Supreme Court of Justice as well as the Supreme Electoral Tribunal. It also has the largest number of museums, art galleries as well as other places of interest.


Choose between these 20 exiting destinations in the San José area





You are about to learn about 20 of the most important and exiting places in San José of Costa Rica.



Bustling city nestled inside a tropical paradise; San Jose sits in the center of the country in the Central Valley and is surrounded by gorgeous untouched cloud forests. Serving as a hub to the rest of the country, San Jose is the perfect place to use as a base camp to tour Costa Rica. With the Juan Santamaria International Airport just 20 minutes from downtown San Jose in the country Alajuela, there are plenty of tour bus companies based here that run buses throughout Costa Rica.Downtown San Jose is the busiest part of town. A maze of streets and avenues, here you can find most of the city’s museums as well as a number of hotels and plazas. Plenty of tour companies, restaurants and hotels can also be found here.Since the downtown area is fairly small and is one of the most frequented parts of the city, do keep in mind that you will come across heavy traffic here with lots of noise and congestion. The streets and avenues here are usually bustling with pedestrians and traffic, so the best way to explore this area is by foot.






It was originally a cross road between several indigenous villages, the abundance of water that the indigenous people found there made it an ideal place to spend the night and then continue on their journey. They were the ones that named this place, and named it “Escazú”, that which in their language meant “place of rest”. The Spanish Colonizers were also attracted to this area, where its mountains founded agricultural colonies. It was during this time that it began to be known as the city of witches. Today the tradition of metaphysical and mystic art remains, but is practiced secretly. Escazú is a mix of old Costa Rica and the modern international community. In its old shell there are old adobe buildings, an interesting Ravanusa style church, and a football pitch. Its atmosphere is of a small farming town where neighbors have known each other for generations. Look beyond the old shell, and you will find mansions inhabited by Americans and Europeans that have decided to live here, attracted by the pleasant climate and magnificent views. To the eastern hills there is an area known as Bello Horizonte, where there are beautiful old buildings with exuberant gardens.


San Rafael de Escazú

Next to the motorway that leads towards Santa Ana, is one of the most modern vicinities of the city. There are shopping centers with international stores, supermarkets, restaurants and businesses. On the outskirts of San Rafael, is what is known as the old road to Santa Ana, this is where the residence of the Ambassador of the United States is located. In the vicinity of Escazú, there are some elegant residences that are very well known among the foreigners and you can find places to stay. San Rafael de Escazú is 7 Km. to the west of the center of San José, and San Antonio de Escazú is 1.5 Km. to the south of San Rafael.



Is the 3rd canton in the province of San José in Costa Rica. The canton covers an area of 118.26 km², and has a population of 206,708, making it the third most populated among the 81 cantons of Costa Rica. The capital city of the canton is also called Desamparados.The canton begins in the southern suburbs of the national capital city of San José, with the Río Tiribí marking its northern boundary. It snakes its way south in the shape of a backward ´S´, finally reaching its southern limit at the Río Tarrazú.





The name Puriscal comes from “purisco” meaning bean flower.  When these plants blossom they call this “the time of purisca” and it is celebrated by those from Puriscal.  This name also come from quechua, purutu or poroto, names that are also associated with the bean.  Puriscal sits on top of a volcanic fault. Those from Puriscal experience, “more than a little shake” (what they call tremors and earthquakes). In some places such as the church, the parks, streets and sidewalks you can see cracks that were caused by these tremors. Puriscal is enroute to many other districts and as mentioned in the previous paragraph, tourists and the resident population enjoy a quiet relaxed atmosphere. Taking in the views that surround this peaceful village.





Is the 5th canton in the province of San José in Costa Rica. The canton covers an area of 297.50 km²,and has a population of 17,233. The capital city of the canton is San Marcos. The canton was established by a legislative decree of August 7, 1868. It was part of the Desamparados canton by that time. Tarrazu is located about 70 kilometers south of the Capital San Jose, in a pristine valley surrounded by mountains that are part of the Talamanca Sierra in southern Costa Rica. Downtown San Marcos is 1350 meters above sea level but is surrounded by peaks as high as 3000 meters above sea level.



Their creation and origin was by means of Ordinance Nº 3 of November 27 1882 the canton it is believed.  The name of Aserrí is mentioned in different ways: Ausarí, Aquicerrí, Aquetzarí, Accerí, and Acerrí, among others. You coincides that the term refers to an own name: the cacique mentioned by the conquering Juan Vázquez of having crowned in several of their notes. Is derived of the words indigenous “ac” or “hac“ that it means stone and “seri “that it means slight parakeet. Of there that Aserrí can be translated as the place of the stone of the slight parakeet, according to version of Bishop Bernardo A. Thiel.  The canton limit to the east with Desamparados, to the west Acosta, to North with Alajuelita and Desamparados, to South with Parrita and to the Southeast with Leon Cortes and Tarrazú.


You can get to Ciudad Colon via secondary roads that go through Santa Ana and the mountains or by the highway. The University of Peace is located in the outskirts of Ciudad Colon and you can get there by following the signs. Every year students from all over the world graduate from this university. In the vicinity of Santa Ana a few kilometers to the west of Escazú and San Antonio de Belén you can access the road to the airport in Alajuela. You can also find some great places to stay.







It has an unmistakable rural environment. It is a small rural city known for growing onions that you will often see hanging from the beams in restaurants and several other places along the road. To the west of the city, near the entrance to the highway, you will find stalls that sell ceramics, wicker work, locally grown fruits and of course onions. Above Santa Ana is the small village of Salitral, famous for its flowing hot springs and the Ox Cart museum open on Sundays: entry is 3 US$. A trip around this museum will let you learn more about the best era of the Costa Rican farmer in the XIX century. From Rancho Macho, up in the mountains, you will be able to see fabulous views of the valley, to get there you will need to take the old road to Santa Ana, go through the center of Santa Ana go past the Red Cross and take a left turn when you see a sign that says Rancho Macho, from there continue onwards up the mountain following the signs.  It is divided in six districts: Sacred Ana (city head and main district), Uruca, Salitral, Pozos, Piedades and Brazil.



Is the 10th canton in the province of San José in Costa Rica. The canton covers an area of 21.17 km²,and has a population of 75,418.The capital city of the canton is Alajuelita. The odd-shaped canton reaches southwest from the suburbs of the national capital city of San José. It is delineated by the Río Tiribí on the northeast, Río Cañas on the east, Río Poás on the southeast, and the Cerros de Escazú at it far southwestern end.




Also spelled Vázquez de Coronado and commonly known as Coronado, is the 11th canton in the province of San José in Costa Rica. The canton covers an area of 222.20 km², and has a population of 59,113. The capital city of the canton is San Isidro. Río Sucio in Braulio Carrillo National Park. The canton of the highlands rises out of the suburbs of San José to encompass a major portion of the Cordillera Central (Central Mountain Range) and Braulio Carrillo National Park. The Río Sucio (Dirty River) forms the western boundary of the canton, while the Río Macho, Río Zurquí and Río Patria establish the canton’s limits to the east. The northern tip of the canton is marked by the confluence of the Sucio and Patria rivers.met



Is the 12th canton in the province of San José in Costa Rica. The canton covers an area of 242.24 km2, and has a population of 19,342. The capital city of the canton is San Ignacio. The mountainous canton begins in the Cerros de Escazú on the far western edge of the San José Metropolitan Area. It continues west and south between the Río Negro on the north and the Río Jorco on the east to encompass a large portion of the Coastal Mountain Range, ending at the border of Puntarenas Province near the Pacific coast in Parrita Canton.






Is the 13th canton in the province of San José in Costa Rica. The canton covers an area of 8.15 km², and has a population of 76,815. The capital city of the canton is San Juan.The canton forms a northern suburb of the national capital city of San José. It is triangular in shape, with the Río Virilla as its northern boundary. The Quebrada Rivera, a canyon, establishes the southwestern limit of the canton and also a portion of the southeastern boundary. Tibás was meant to be the capital of the country, at least according to ex-president Braulio Carrillo, this is the reason the town was originally designed with such a neat array of perfectly aligned blocks, cut by the streets running from North to South and the avenues from East to West.Tibás includes both industrial and residential neighborhoods and is home of a popular football team in Costa Rica, Deportivo Saprissa and its stadium Estadio Ricardo Saprissa.




Goicoechea is the eighth canton in the province of San José in Costa Rica. The canton covers an area of 31.5 km2, and has a population of 124,704. The capital city of the canton is Guadalupe. The elongated canton snakes its way through the suburban areas just north of San José Centro, climbing steadily into the Cordillera Central  until it reaches it eastern limit between the Río Durazno and the Río Tiribí.


Moravia is the 14th canton in the province of San José in Costa Rica. The canton covers an area of 28.62 km², and had a total population of 56,919 people at the 2011 Census. The capital city of the canton is San Vicente. The elongated canton begins in the northern suburbs of the national capital city of San José and continues northeast toward the Cordillera Central. The Virilla, Pará, and Blanco rivers on the north and west, and the Quebrada Azul and Macho rivers on the southeast, partially delineate the boundaries of the canton. Other rivers in Moravia include Quebrada Barreal, Quebrada Lajas, Quebrada San Francisco, Quebrada Tornillal, Quebrada Yerbabuena, Río Acequia, Río Agrá, Río Hondura, Río Ipís, Río Pará Grande, Río Paracito, and Río Zurquí. Mountain peaks in the area include Zurquí, Vargas, and Trina.



Is the 15th canton in the province of San José in Costa Rica. The canton covers an area of 15.16 square kilometres, and has a population of 54,288. The capital city of the canton is San Pedro. The elongated canton reaches from the suburbs of the national capital of San José eastward to the province of Cartago, and neighbors the cantons of Curridabat, San José, Cartago, and Goicoechea. The Río Torres delineate a portion of the northern boundary, while the Río Ocloro and Quebrada Poró mark the southern boundary. The canton is known for its high level of commercial development, the number of universities and other centers of higher education, and its active nightlife. It is one of the most urbanized and vibrant cantons in the San José area, both day and night.



Is the 16th canton in the province of San José in Costa Rica. The canton covers an area of 415.29 square kilometres, and has a population of 5,175, making it the least populated of the 81 cantons in Costa Rica. The capital city of the canton is San Pablo.The Río Grande de Tárcoles delineates the north and northwest boundaries of the canton. The Río Carara, Río Camaronal and the Fila Negra establish the boundary on the west. The south and southwest is marked by the Río Tulin, and the Río Galán and Quebrada Azul delineate portions of the canton’s border on the east.




Is the 17th canton in the province of San José in Costa Rica. The canton covers an area of 400.22 square kilometres, and has a population of 6,940. The capital city of the canton is Santa María. The canton is delineated by the Río Savegre on the south and southeast, the Río Naranjo on the west and the Cordillera de Talamanca on the north and northeast.



Is the 18th canton in the province of San José in Costa Rica. The canton covers an area of 15.95 square, and has a population of 72,564. The capital city of the canton is also called Curridabat. The canton forms a suburb of the national capital of San José, lying on the southeast edge of the city. The canton was established by law on August 21, 1929. In 1930 the canton had a municipality with three regidores, a Major and Jefe político. At this time the canton’s population were 5,000 people, but with the time and the population grew and the municipality had to create a sanitation department to collect garbage, road, sidewalk maintenance and built some infrastructure. Then the municipality Council was expanded to five members by popular election in 1970.






Is the 19th canton of the province of San José in Costa Rica, located in the Brunca region. The canton covers an area of 1,905.51 square kilometers, making it the seventh largest of the 81 cantons in the country. The capital city of the canton is San Isidro. The canton's boundaries are established by the Río Savegre on the northwest, the Río Guabo and a series of coastal mountain ranges on the southwest and south, and the peaks of the highest mountains of the Cordillera de Talamanca on the east. In the middle of the canton, the Río General, from which the canton's capital city takes its name, runs north to south.



León Cortés also known as León Cortés Castro, is the 20th canton in the province of San José in Costa Rica. The canton covers an area of 120.80 square kilometres. The capital city of the canton is San Pablo. The Quebrada Delicias and the Río Pirrís form major portions of the western and southern boundary, and the Río Tarrazú establishes the northern and eastern limits of the canton. The Supreme Elections Tribunal of Costa Rica in a resolution of March 29, 1962, proclaimed the results of a plebiscite in the previous month that created the canton. An executive decree on June 12 delineated the portions of the surrounding cantons of Aserrí, Tarrazú, Dota and Desamparados that were to be included in the new canton. It is named in honor of former President León Cortés Castro of Costa Rica.

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