Costa Rica Cities & Towns

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Costa Rica Cities & Towns

Costa Rica’s Central Valley – The Urban Heart of the Country

While most people think of beaches, volcanoes and the lush rainforests of the national parks when they imagine a vacation in Costa Rica, there are quite a few cities that are worth visiting. Most of them are in the Central Valley in the center of Costa Rica. This region is the home of 3 three quarters of the population, even though it only makes up a fifth of the country’s area. The Central Valley is the center of commerce, industry and service. The cities may not be the most celebrated ones in Central America, but each of them reflect their own Costa Rican voice. When here, don’t forget to visit the famous coffee plantations.

Costa Rica Cities – The Capital 

For most people, their vacation begins and ends in the capital city of San Jose, Costa Rica. This is where the Juan Santamaría International Airport is located and where the majority of the international flights arrive. More than a million people live in San José’s metropolitan area. Consequently, San José is by far the largest city in Costa Rica. It is located in the Central Valley, surrounded by mountains and volcanoes. The city boasts an “eternal spring” like climate year round. In San José, you’ll find a wide variety of museums, restaurants, and points of interest. We recommend a stroll down the Avenida Central and a visit to the Teatro Nacional. Make sure to visit the National Museum or Jade Museum during your visit. From here you can take amazing nature tours like Irazu volcano, Poas volcano and Chirripo National Park.

Liberia – The Gateway to Guanacaste

In the northern province of Guanacaste, you’ll find another important city, the town of Liberia. More and more flights are coming to Liberia’s Daniel Oduber International Airport these days. Many people choose this option to avoid the capital of San Jose entirely. Here, you have easy access to some of Costa Rica’s most beautiful beaches, all inclusive resorts, and 5-star hotels. The region itself is one of Costa Rica’s most popular places for tourism. Guanacaste is home to the Rincon de la Vieja Volcano and National Park. Go a bit further and visit Monteverde Cloud Forest! This cloud forest is the best location for zip lining and night walks.

The Port Towns of Puntarenas & Limón 

Finally, two additional of note are the port towns of Puntarenas & Limón. During Costa Rica’s high season, cruises ships come into these ports nearly every day. Limón is located on Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast and has a distinct cultural identity and feel. Puntarenas is located on Costa Rica’s Central Pacific coast and offers access to the Nicoya peninsula by ferry to reach the beaches of Tambor, Santa Teresa & Montezuma. Don’t forget to visit the stunning Cahuita National Park for some world class snorkeling!

Largest Cities in Costa Rica

RankCityRegionWhy Visit?Population
1.San JoséCentral Valley🎨 Art1.415.000
2.HerediaCentral Valley🏛️ Architecture
3.CartagoCentral Valley⛪ History228.000
4.AlajuelaCentral Valley🦋 Butterfly Farm190.000
5.PuntarenasCentral Pacific🏖️ Beach84.000
6.San Isidro de El GeneralSouthern Zone🐦 Birding66.000
7.LimónCaribbean👩🏾 Afro-Caribbean Influence65.000
8.LiberiaGuanacaste🤠 Cowboy Culture56.000

Costa Rica Cities Map

Costa Rica Cities Map


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