The city is located 18 kilometres to the northeast of the capital, San Jose, and 5 minutes from the International Airport Juan Santamaria.
The name Alajuela comes from a distortion of the first settlement's old name, La Lajuela. With time these two words blended into Alajuela.
Until 1820, the entire region was practically unexplored. In those times, only adventurous men went into those woods to explore the headwaters of the Rio Grande, or to work in the mines that were located in the mountains called Montes de Aguacate. That situation changed in the second half of the century, when the Central Valley - where Alajuela is situated - began a boom of coffee plantations.
In this hospitable land of Alajuela, one of the most significant events of the history of Costa Rica took place; it was here, in the town hall, where the proclamation of independence took place one 15th of September.
But Alajuela is not only an historical city, charismatic and loveable but it is, before anything else, a land that is famous for its boundless protected areas - authentic sanctuaries where we pay homage to the conservation of nature, its millennial volcanoes, giants of dormant rage, like El Arenal in the City of San Carlos, and the Poas, whose crate is the second largest in the world.
The National Parks volcanoes, Poas and the Juan Castro Blanco, and the National Wild Fauna Reserve Caño Negro are the principal ecological bastions of Alajuela. Here, an explosion of flora and fauna, of sounds and colours, takes the visitor to a world where nature keeps imposing its rules, perpetuating its own order.
The adventure does not end there. It continues with the picturesque cities of San Ramon, Marecero and Sarchi, cradle of the Costa Rican crafts. In June we celebrate the festival of the mango, where everything turns into joy; in April we have a fabulous cattle exposition.
A unique experience greets the visitor at the neighbourhood city of Heredia, known as the Province of the Flowers, which is also the largest producer of coffee in the country. Its mountains are covered with exuberant and thick woods, and its fertile valley is a visual spectacle for the visitor.
One last thing: don't be upset if somebody comes up with a funny nickname for you.