Where is Costa Rica’s Central Valley Located?

As the name suggests, the Central Valley is located in the center of Costa Rica. It’s a plateau and a geographical region stretching across the heart of the country.

To give you a clearer picture, the Central Valley is situated south of the San Jose Metro Area, covering a significant part of Costa Rica’s interior. It includes the mesmerizing Central Plateau and mountain ranges.

It’s a paradise for nature lovers and adventure seekers alike. Surrounded by majestic mountains and volcanoes, this area offers a stunning landscape that’s nearly impossible to resist.

What cities are in the Central Valley of Costa Rica?

The cities of the Central Valley offer something extraordinary for everyone. When visiting the cities, you can be sure you’ll get a taste of the country’s rich history, vibrant culture, and warm hospitality.

These are the main cities that make the Central Valley truly special:

San Jose

San Jose is Costa Rica’s capital and the beating heart of its Central Valley. Experience this lively urban area’s vibrant streets, bustling markets, and fascinating museums.

San Jose offers everything from the National Theater and Metropolitan Cathedral to dynamic nightlife and culinary delights.


Cartago is an ancient city east of San Jose steeped in religious significance and history. One of the oldest and largest cities in the country, located near the foothills of Irazu Volcano. It was once the capital of Costa Rica, but after a volcanic eruption in 1732, San Jose became the capital.


Heredia, nestled in the mountains, welcomes you with its colonial architecture and quaint charm. One of the oldest provinces in the country, Heredia is known for its lush, untouched beauty.

This area, located a short drive from the capital city of San Jose, offers extensive outdoor recreation and amenities, including the Braulio Carrillo National Park and La Paz Waterfall Gardens.


Alajuela is located northwest of San José. With a mild climate and a friendly atmosphere, Alajuela is the perfect combination of modern amenities and natural beauty.

It is the second-largest province in Costa Rica. Home to various natural and human-made attractions, including Juan Santamaria International Airport, the country’s largest international airport.


Turrialba is a small picturesque valley surrounded by rivers and mountains. There are many attractions in Turrialba, including the Turrialba Volcano. Also, the beautiful botanical gardens, which are used by researchers for educational projects. Additionally, among the attractions in Turrialba are rafting, biking, canopy rides, horseback riding, and hiking.

San Gerardo de Dota

Amidst the Talamanca Mountain Range, San Gerardo de Dota offers a breathtaking landscape of luscious vegetation, misty cloud forests, and spectacular waterfalls.

It’s surrounded by nature, so you can enjoy many outdoor activities including birdwatching, hiking, canyoning, horseback riding, and more!

Hanging bridges Costa Rica
Hanging bridges Costa Rica
San Jose Costa Rica
San Jose Costa Rica
San Jose Costa Rica

Things to Do in the Central Valley of Costa Rica

As previously discussed, the Central Valley of Costa Rica is a beautiful and diverse region with something for everyone. If you’re looking for adventure, like seeing active volcanoes or exploring coffee plantations, there are plenty of activities to keep you busy.

Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

Nature and Adventure

We have the perfect tour for nature lovers looking to explore national parks and volcanoes! Embark on our Irazú Volcano National Park tour for an extraordinary adventure, including visits to Irazu Volcano, Orosi Basilica, Orosi Valley, and Hacienda Orosi Hot Springs.

On this tour, you can experience the breathtaking volcano view, explore historical and cultural sites, and unwind in the soothing hot springs. Also, you can immerse yourself in the mystical ambiance of Hacienda Orosi, surrounded by lush rainforest and mineral-rich waters.

Coffee and Agriculture

For those looking to explore a bit of farm life in the Central Valley, we offer two tours:

#1 Coffee Experience, Poas Volcano National Park Hike, and La Paz Waterfall Gardens Tour

Embark on an unforgettable journey with us as we explore Costa Rica’s highlights. Discover the secrets of coffee production at Doka Coffee Plantation and delight in the flavors of exquisite coffee. Additionally, you can witness the impressive Poas Volcano and marvel at its unique landscapes. Lastly, immerse yourself in the lush beauty of La Paz Waterfall Gardens and encounter diverse wildlife.

#2 8-Hour Poas Volcano National Park & Doka Estate Coffee Tour in Costa Rica

We’ll explore the Poás Volcano area. As we ascend, we’ll pass by fern, flower, and strawberry farms that paint the scenery with beautiful colors. Marvel at the impressive main crater and sulfur fumaroles while learning about the park’s unique ecosystems.

Our next stop will be the renowned Doka Coffee Estate. Explore the ancient techniques used by coffee experts in Costa Rican coffee production. Experience the meticulous cultivation, harvesting, and roasting process, and sample the delicious products.

Cultural Immersion

With our San José City Tour, you can discover the rich culture and history of Costa Rica by visiting the beautiful museums and historical sites in San José.

We begin our tour with an orientation and a drive through Sabana Park. After that, we will take a walking tour of the historic National Theater. We will then visit one of Costa Rica’s many unique museums.

We will continue to the University of Costa Rica, the Supreme Court, and other sites of interest. Before returning to your hotel, you can browse through the Mercado Central shopping area to buy souvenirs for your family and friends back home.

Gastronomic Delights

The Central Valley of Costa Rica offers numerous opportunities to savor delicious food and experience the vibrant gastronomic scene.

It is no secret that Costa Ricans take great pride in their cuisine, which reflects the fusion of indigenous flavors with Spanish history and the influences of diverse cultures. Whether it be traditional Costa Rican dishes or modern interpretations, you will taste the rich flavors and culinary creativity that define Costa Rican cuisine.

As a culinary hotspot, San José has a lot to offer. The popular neighborhood of Barrio Escalante is known for its diverse culinary offerings and vibrant food culture. In Barrio Escalante, you can find local eateries, trendy restaurants, and charming cafes.

Hanging bridges Costa Rica
Hanging bridges Costa Rica
Hanging bridges Costa Rica
Hanging bridges Costa Rica
Hanging bridges Costa Rica

When is The Best Time to Visit the Central Valley of Costa Rica?

There is more consistent and pleasant weather throughout the year in the Central Valley than in other areas of Costa Rica, such as the Pacific Coast, the Central Pacific, and the Caribbean Coast. Why? Due to its elevation of 1150 meters above sea level.

That being said, the right time to visit the region depends on what you’re looking for. Let’s take a look:

  • January to April: This is the sunniest and driest season and the most crowded season. During this time of year, many tourists choose to travel to Costa Rica, so you can expect longer lines and higher prices.
  • April to August: These months hold great promise for cultural or religious immersion. Religious activities fill the streets during Holy Week, and Pilmigrade occurs from San José to Cartago in August.
  • May to November: This is known as the “green season” because all the foliage is in full bloom thanks to the rain that usually falls during the afternoon around these six months.
  • December to January: You will see more crowds and higher rates compared to other seasons due to cooler weather and the arrival of many local and foreign tourists during the holidays.


Let us Help You Plan an Enchanting Adventure to Central Valley, Costa Rica!

Are you ready to embark on an enchanting adventure in the Central Valley of Costa Rica? Let us help you plan an unforgettable journey. With us, you’ll enjoy the beauty, culture, and warm hospitality of Costa Rica and its people. We will handle all the details, so you can enjoy this breathtaking destination and create incredible memories.

Contact Find My Costa Rica today, and let’s plan your dream adventure to the Central Valley, Costa Rica! We’ll tell you the most popular day trips among most visitors so that you can experience the best of this beautiful region.


1. What is the weather like in the Central Valley of Costa Rica?

In Costa Rica, the Central Valley has the mildest climate, with daily temperatures averaging 72 to 75 degrees.

2. How do I get to the Central Valley from the major airports in Costa Rica?

Upon arrival at the airport, shuttles, private transfers, and rental cars can take you to your hotel and nearby attractions.

3. What are the transportation options for getting around the Central Valley?

The Central Valley of Costa Rica is easy to reach and convenient to explore. Taxis and Uber are viable options, but you can also arrange private transportation with our local guides at Find My Costa Rica.

For more details, please get in touch with us at Find My Costa Rica