The Central Valley, the "Valle Central" refers to the region around the capital San José. The valley stretches from the northern central mountains to the south of the valley, lying the "Cordillera de Talamanca". Here you find the International Airport Juan Santamaria (SJO).
In the central region around the capital, San Jose, you will find the entire economic, political and cultural life of Costa Rica. Therefore, it is worth to spend a few days in and around San José. We recommend a place to stay in the countryside near the city, so you'll be next to the city, but still close to nature.
The city is situated 1160 m above the sea level, the average temperature of the year is around 20 C. San Jose and its surrounding areas have a lot to offer, so it is really worth it to stay here for a few days.
The best restaurants in the country are located there, the climate is drier than the rest of the country (Sta. Ana was elected as the city with the 5th world's best climate), and it can be reached easily and quickly. San José and the International Airport Juan Santamaria are only about 15 minutes away.
This is not a restaurant guide, but only a small, fairly subjective selection of particularly esteemed restaurants in San Jose and surrounding areas.
Very close to the capital San José, between the two suburbs Escazú and Santa Ana is the nature reserve "Los Cerros de Escazú". This is the “green lung” of the central valley, with agricultural culture, a few small settlements, forest and meadows. The reserve extends over 7,000 hectares.
Here is a selection of particularly appreciated, partly private institutions.
The 2708 m high volcano is located just a short hour's drive from Santa Ana. It is located in the national park, which covers an area of 5600 hectares.
The volcano is considered active, even though it is usually quiet and resting. Since 1928, it has erupted 39 times, in the near earthquake in January 2009 there was a slight eruption.
The water in the crater of the Irazu volcano is garish green, and it can be observed when looking down from above the throat at 3432 m high.
The Irazu, the highest volcano in Costa Rica is not known as an absolute threat, but is considered the most unpredictable volcano in the country. The last eruption was quite delicate in 1993, in 1963 the Irazu collapsed very powerfully. The garish green color appears because the crater is an acid lake.
Only 8 kilometers west of Santa Ana is located this friendly place, with almost 12,000 inhabitants in a green setting at an altitude of 800 - 900m.
Ciudad Colon, originally called by the Indians "Pacaca", in 1916 it was renamed in honor of the discoverer of the continent, Columbus (Colón). It is located in the canton of Mora, a more agriculturally oriented Canton with a lot of coffee cultivation, fruit, and sugar cane.
The Zona Protectora (nature reserve) El Rodeo is one of the last large contiguous forests that once covered the Central Valley. There is a secondary tropical rain forest, which becomes partially a mountain rain forest.
The reserve with 2256 hectare is part of the "Área de Conservación Pacífico Central", and also the forests that lie between San José and the Pacific coast, and are located in Cantón Mora.
The University of UPEACE is not subject to UN regulations and is autonomous. The major mission of the University is the world peace and the security of UN ideals, with a focus on education, discussion and research of peace or aggression. Other universities from the UPEACE are to be established worldwide.
The Braulio Carrillo National Park was established on 15.04.1978, and is, with 47.586 ha, the largest national park in the central region of Costa Rica, and one of the main water reservoirs of the capital.
The Rio Orosi, and other rivers flow through the park. The National Park is a protected area of the National Park, that represents Chrirripó. To reach the park from San José to Cartago you must first drive towards Paraiso, then to Orosi.
The National Park Chirripó, at an average altitude of 1600 m, is located in the eastern Central Valley, and keeps the highest mountain peak in Costa Rica- the Cerro Chirripó. It has a height of 3820 m.
The National Park La Cangreja, with an extension of 2,520 hectares in the western Central Valley, was declared a National Park on 06/05/2002, making it one of the youngest NP Costa Rica. The park is located in the region Puriscal, and forms one of the main areas of tropical moist forests, in a very biologically diverse area.