Heredia is the capital of the Heredia province. The lush province of Heredia Costa Rica is in the hills north of the Central Valley. It is known as the City of the Flowers due to the beautiful flora and fauna surrounding the city. Heredia is an elegant and charming city that has maintained its colonial essence and style. The city was founded in 1705 and has a rather relaxed atmosphere away from all the humdrum and traffic of the capital San José. The National University in Heredia attracts a young population. As a result, Heredia provides a lovely alternative from San Jose – whether you want to shop or just stroll through its pleasant streets.
Heredia offers a fascinating choice of activities, from tours of the colonial city to exploring the local flora and fauna. There are other cities in the province that are worth visiting! For example the city of Santo Domingo, San Isidro, San Rafael, and San Jose de la Montana. Heredia is surrounded by the beautiful Zurqui Mountains and the Barva Volcano.
Braulio Carrillo National Park is a great national park if you are looking for some challenging hikes. The 110,000 acre park has five different habitat zones and 6,000 plant species. You can also admire a plethora of exotic birds – including the resplendent Quetzal, many species of hummingbirds and toucans – white faced monkeys, ocelots, agoutis and more.
Britt is one of the most famous coffee producers in Costa Rica and visiting the Britt plantation is a great way to spend a morning. You’ll not only get to try the coffee, you’ll see how it’s made and learn how to judge a good cup of coffee. Walk through the plantation and learn about Costa Rica’s unique climate before you enjoy a buffet lunch and stop by the souvenir store.
Visit INBioparque to hike various trails and see a lot of Costa Rica wildlife. Some of the animals you might see include iguanas, poison dart frogs, sloths, turtles and tropical birds. The park is unique because you can see several different types of Costa Rican forests including pre-mountainous dry and rainforests, and wetlands. Guided tours are half-days and often include transportation from San Jose.
The Barva Volcano is the highest point in Braulio Carrillo National Park at 10,000 feet above sea level. Barva is an awesome place to hike. You’ll be rewarded with incredible views of the many lagoons surrounding the volcano as well as the Central Valley. If you are driving yourself, we recommend renting a car with 4-wheel drive.
For an family-friendly day trip, don’t miss out on the La Paz Waterfall Gardens. Only an hour from San Jose, La Paz features both rain and cloud forests, a huge butterfly garden, hummingbird garden and of course, waterfalls! In addition you can visit the orchid garden, serpentaria and frog pond. Look out for white faced capuchin and spider monkeys, toucans, scarlet macaws and sloths.
The Immaculada Concepcion Cathedral
The Immaculada Concepción Cathedral a beautiful church, built in 1796. Its bells were imported from Cuzco, Peru and its stained glass windows are the oldest in the country. The Parque Central in front of the church has a picturesque music temple. This also includes the famous Fortin, an old colonial tower that used to be part of an ancient Spanish fort.
Visit Heredia between December-April:
Heredia is located in the Central Valley and as a result has beautiful weather. December-April is the dry season, which means it feels like spring every day.
Take your family:
Heredia is a peaceful town with a lot of great options for half and full-day trips. It’s smaller and easier to navigate than San Jose and surrounded by incredible Costa Rican flora and fauna.
Hike to the top of Monte de la Cruz:
For unbeatable views of the Central Valley, the Poas Volcano and the Barva Volcano, don’t skip the hike to the top of Monte de la Cruz.
There’s no shortage of dining options in this peaceful town. Find something for everyone at various cafes, seafood, pizza, Mexican, and Italian restaurants. Try the Artisan Brew Pub for vegetarian friendly pub scene or La Casona de Mi Tierra for traditional Costa Rican food. Don’t forget to try the traditional casado!
Heredia is very close to the Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO). After you land in SJO you can take a 15 minutes shuttle or private transfer to Heredia. You could also rent a car for a bit more flexibility and freedom.
Where to Stay
For those who wish to find accommodation here, there is a wide choice to choose from. In fact, Heredia is home to some of the finest colonial-styled hotels. The Finca Rosa Country Inn is a charming colonial resort that has an award for sustainability. Some of its attractions include a delightful restaurant, a spa, a pool and a classy lobby with a welcoming fireplace.
Another charming place is the Hotel Bougainvillea in the adorable little colonial town of Santo Domingo de Heredia. This lovely sanctuary has 82 rooms sitting within 10 acres. One of its attractions is a tropical garden. Of course, the garden grows beautiful Bougainvillea flowers! The hotel is a work of art with gorgeous dark wood furniture and adobe style floors which are all carved and decorated in a traditional style. The property also holds about 50 species of bromeliads and orchids. As a result, it attracts a myriad of hummingbirds. Indeed, it is a haven of pure delight tucked away in the mountains of San Jose.