The Central Valley is formed by 4 provinces; San Jose, Alajuela, Heredia and Cartago. Our capital city is in San Jose. Alajuela is 8 miles to the west, Heredia is 6 miles to the north and Cartago is 12 miles to the east of San Jose. Heredia enjoys evergreen mountains and wonderful weather. 2 miles north of Heredia is Barva, a town named after the Barva Volcano which was named after Barvac. Barvac was an Indian Chief who ferociously fought the Spaniards during colonial times here in Costa Rica (The Barva Volcano is part of the beautiful Braulio Carrillo National Park. Barva is in fact one of the oldest human settlements on the Central Valley of Costa Rica, and it is therefore older than San Jose, Heredia, Alajuela and maybe even Cartago, which was the first capital of Costa Rica.
This Central Valley Region is also where most of the population of Costa Rica lives and where most of the serious businesses take place in Costa Rica. San Jose is a 30-minute drive, depending on traffic, from the Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO). Although it is called the San Jose Airport, it is actually located in Alajuela. San Jose, the capital, currently holds the least attractions and it is very crowded with heavy traffic otherwise. Most vacationers just avoid San Jose nowadays unless logistically necessary.
San Jose is still the political and the financial center of the country, and the home of several fine universities and some museums. San José rises 3770 feet above sea level. It enjoys an ideal climate as it is the case with the rest of the Central Valley, averaging daytime temperatures of 75 F. The rainy season (or green season, as we prefer), begins in May and lasts until late October. During the day, sunny skies prevail until afternoon showers quench the vegetation for a few hours. The rest of the year generally brings hot clear days, and cool fresh evenings. San José boasts a blend of modern and classic architecture. Notable among the latter is the National Theatre of colonial vintage. This relatively clean and thriving metropolitan area, which is safer than any major U.S. city, offers some fine restaurants, shopping and entertainment. The streets are crowded with vehicles though as stated above.
Weather: San José rises 3770 feet above sea level. It enjoys an ideal climate with the rest of the Central Valley, averaging daytime temperatures of 75 F. The rainy season (or green season, as we prefer), begins in May and lasts until late October. During the day, sunny skies prevail until afternoon showers quench the vegetation for a few hours. The rest of the year generally brings hot clear days, and cool fresh evenings.
Approx. driving distances to San Jose: From San Jose Airport 30 minutes, from Arenal 3 hours, from Guanacaste 4 to 5 hours, from Manuel Antonio 3 hours, from Puerto Viejo in Limon 6 hours, from Monteverde 3.5 hours.
Our offices and headquarters for Tachiz Travel Costa Rica are in Barva de Heredia at the foot of the Barva Volcano. Barva, as one of the oldest human settlements in the Central Valley, is in many ways where the modern Costa Rica started. Unlike most towns in Costa Rica that are named after a saint, Barva is named after an indian chief, Barvac, who ferociously fought the Spaniards. It is nestled on prime coffee territory and home to the global headquarters for the world renowned Café Britt Coffee Company (watch one of our 4 minute videos on picking coffee by hand here in Barva):
There is a tradition which is to have a cimarrona band and a masquerade with people dancing around the streets like it is the case in all towns of Costa Rica. However, in Barva, the people wearing masks chase the crowds to hit them with inflated pig bladders, which only happens in August and in Barva during the Festivities of Patron Saint Bartholomew: