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Costa Rica: Central Zone

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The Central Valley is the geographical, political and economical heart of Costa Rica. The most important cities of Costa Rica are located in Central Valley: San Jose the capital), Heredia, Alajuela and Cartago. Therefore, half of nation's population lives in this area. San Jose's a modern city, which offers a full range of accommodations, restaurants, shopping malls, museums and nightlife.

It has a well-developed net of utilities such as drinking water, transportation and energy. Since the country's most important airport lies nearby, most of the visitors spend about three days of their Costa Rican vacation in the capital. At an altitude of 3,770 feet above sea level, the climate in San Jose's simply pleasant all the year around, which allows the tourist to enjoy its attractions. The city offers a wide variety of activities like city tours and tours to museums. Some of these museums are the National Museum that contains excellent history about Costa Rica, the Gold Museum, with an impressive collection of pre-Columbian jewelry, and the Jade Museum with the largest pre-Columbian jade in America.

Another remarkable attraction is the National Theatre, an architectural jewel that recently celebrated its 100th anniversary. Beyond the capital, you can find smaller cities and traditional towns. Some important cities like Cartago offers attractions like the Basilica de Los Angeles, which is the site of a national pilgrimage every August second. Among the things to do around San Jose are the one-day tours such as the Rain Forest Aerial Tram at Braulio Carrillo National Park, volcanoes such as Iraz'd Po white water rafting and the town of Sarch where visitors will find souvenirs and handicrafts.

Main Activities from the Central zone

· Eco-Tourism · Rafting · Volcanoes · Golf courses · Meetings and incentives · Rain forest aerial tram · Museums and Culture · Fine Dining Tours from San Jose· City tour · Tour to Povolcano · Tour to Irazlcano · Rain Forest Aerial Tram · Tortuga island cruise · Lankester gardens and Orosi valley · Reventaz river rafting · Pacuare river rafting · Costa Rica Highlights · Tour to Sarapiqu · Sarch · Coffee tour

San Jose

The Capital of Costa Rica, San Jos', is located in the heart of the country. Discover for yourself the many cultural activities that San Jos' offers. Visit the National Theater, the Gold or Jade Museums and the Museum of Contemporary Art. The National Museum is a 'must see' for its pre-Columbian artifacts, colonial furniture, and photographic archives of Costa Rican life. To make the most of your visit we recommend one of the half or full day tours available, or you may rent your own vehicle to explore some of the nearby communities as well. Whatever type of vacation you have planned, San Jos' is the ideal place to begin an adventure in paradise.

Heredia

If you want to truly appreciate Costa Rica , Heredia is the place to be. It's only approximately 20 minutes by bus from the capital city of San José . Known as the "City of Flowers ," (reputedly more for its beautiful women than for its vegetation!) Heredia and its surrounding areas provide all the conveniences of a medium-sized city in an environment which has escaped, to a large extent, the normal urban problems affecting the capital. It is home to the National University , and an important cultural center for Costa Rica . Furthermore, much of Heredia has managed to retain a typical Latin American "pueblo" feel despite increasing modernization. The colonial church and it's plaza are still a favorite meeting place for Heredia's inhabitants, old and young.

The province of Heredia is the coffee-growing capital of Costa Rica , where one can still see loaded ox-carts bringing in the beans from the coffee plantations characteristic of the green mountainsides. In the rural villages you will witness a way of life very different to that of the cities, and see vestiges of the old colonial architecture once typical in the entire central valley.

Heredia's proximity to transportation hubs such as the airport and the central bus stations in San José make it an ideal base for your stay here. Easily accessible from the city are the nearby Poás and Barva volcanoes, and Costa Rica 's numerous beaches and national parks. Thus, in addition to learning the Spanish language, you may thoroughly explore the country's natural wonders, world renowned for their beauty and biodiversity.

THE BEACH:

Samara is located on the northern Pacific coast in the Guanacaste region. It is 5km long, lined with palm trees, and enjoys a calm, clear water ocean in a protected coral reef bay. You can swim, dive, snorkel, kayak and surf/ boogie board. Offshore, an island with a' deserted beach is accessible by kayak or boat. Samara also holds Costa Rica 's prestigious 'Blue Flag' award, given only to the beaches and communities with the cleanest waters and proven environmentally sound practices.

THE TOWN OF Sámara :

Samara is a local community with a variety of activities, such as sunset football games on the beach, a disco, card games, horse-riding, and more.

It has a typical Tico character, with a local art gallery on the beach, several ocean-side cafe/restaurants and bars, small supermarket, post office, medical clinic, internet cafe, etc.

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