Backpacking in Costa Rica: Top 5 Sights in Alajuela

When backpacking in Costa Rica, the city of Alajuela is most definitely not on most people’s tourist trail. However, my final flight out of Costa Rica to the USA was from San Jose international airport, which is actually closer to Alajuela than it is to San Jose. So after touring San Jose with author Michael Miller, I decided to spend my final two nights here in Alajuela.

Boarding a bus in Alajuela, Costa Rica

Boarding a bus in Alajuela, Costa Rica

In fact, I stayed in a cool mountain resort called Hotel Linda Vista Montana, a few kilometres outside Alajuela itself. As well as exploring Grecia and Zoo Aves (to see the toucans) in the region, I also toured the city of Alajuela. I was surprised to learn that this is in fact Costa Rica’s second biggest city, though it’s no beast!

A pub in Alajuela, Costa Rica's second biggest city.

A pub in Alajuela, Costa Rica’s second biggest city.

I have to admit, it’s not an instantly loveable city. Too many bus stations with unclear bus numbers, not much to see or do, but a few main sights made it worthwhile and in the end I was happy just to relax at my resort. Still, if you make it to Alajuela, here are my top 5 sights aside from the sights outside the city such as Zoo Aves.

Backpacking in Costa Rica: Top Sights in Alajuela.

Backpacking in Costa Rica: Top Sights in Alajuela.

1. Alajuela Cathedral
White and very similar to the cathedrals I have seen in Panama, Peru and Nicaragua, this is overlooking the main square. Worth a dander round.

The main Cathedral in Alajuela

The main Cathedral in Alajuela

2. Estadio Alejandro Morera Soto
If you follow football you will know that Costa Rica got to the Quarter Finals of the World Cup in 2014 (the same year I visited). In fact they were unlucky not to reach the Semi Finals, only a penalty shoot out knocked them out and we all know the Dutch Keeper Krul is a complete twat. The stadium here is called the Estadio Alejandro Morera Soto and is the home of the team Liga Deportiva Alajuelense. They play in the same colours as my team, AFC Bournemouth, unfortunately I couldn’t get inside the stadium the day I went.

Estadio Alejandro Morera Soto

Estadio Alejandro Morera Soto

3. Juan Santamaría Museum
Alajuela is the home of the famous Juan Santamaría, one of the most famous figures in Costa Rican history.

Statue of Juan Santamaria

Statue of Juan Santamaria

4. Parque Central
There weren’t too many inspiring things in and around Alajuela to be honest and the Parque Central is kind of a hub that locals congregate in and around.


Parque Central in Alajuela

Parque Central in Alajuela

5. Corazon de Jesus
This small church sits in yet another square in the city that overlooks a smaller football pitch. It’s green and white and called the Corazon de Jesus.

Church in Alajuela

Corazon Church in Alajuela

Here are some videos from Alajuela:

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About Jonny Blair

I'm Jonny Blair, a travelling Northern Irishman. Since leaving my hometown a decade ago I have managed to visit over 100 countries and over 600 towns or cities across all 7 continents. Along the way I have worked in countless jobs! Join my journey on Don't Stop Living - a lifestyle of travel as I provide you with tips and inspiration to live your travel dreams! Safe travels! Follow me on Jonny Blair Google Plus
This entry was posted in Alajuela, Costa Rica, Lists, My Top 5s, North America. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Backpacking in Costa Rica: Top 5 Sights in Alajuela

  1. Ray says:

    Did you actually get a chance to walk through the Juan Santamaria Museum? Or was it closed, as well?
    Ray recently posted…Convento de San FranciscoMy Profile

  2. Jonny Blair says:

    Hi Ray, I could have done but the fact is I just didn’t go in and didn’t feel like it. This was the last city of my Central American trip and I was just so knackered, I actually just got a bus back to the hotel mid afternoon with a headache, packed my bag and fell to sleep for an early night. I probably should have mentioned that in the post but this was one of the ones I wrote last year and never posted. I just felt I had to include the museum for others reading, even though I didn’t go in. Have you been to the museum? Is it worth it? Safe travels, Jonny

  3. Ray says:

    No, I have never been to Costa Rica. But from this Top 5 list, I would have gone to the museum myself just to understand Costa Rican history better. These types of things fascinate me (key historical figures) as it allows me to understand other societies better. Hence, why I asked if you had a chance to go – it sounded like the most “touristy” thing there. However, after your massive Central America tour, I don’t blame you for taking it easy and catching up on much needed rest!!
    Ray recently posted…Convento de San FranciscoMy Profile

  4. Jonny Blair says:

    I should have gone of course, but honestly Ray, I’ve about 1200 articles to write and the more places I go the more it adds to the growing list so I need to slow it right down a notch for a while. I also went to Madrid recently and just skipped all the touristy stuff and settled for a few nights out and some football instead! Safe travels. Jonny

  5. Pingback: Walking Tour of San Jose, Costa Rica: Top 10 Sights

  6. tj says:

    Curious as to why you categorize Costa Rica as North America, when it is not

  7. Jonny Blair says:

    Hi TJ, It’s my website and I do what I want. Basically if you cut a line in the middle of America, then Costa Rica is in the northern part. Plus I don’t have room for a Central America tab so it’s either South America or North America I’m afraid. So I opted for the north. Safe travels. Jonny

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