Founded in 1706, Heredia (known as the city of the flowers) is one of the provinces of Costa Rica where colonial structures are still standing the test of time.
Such adobe buildings and houses can be found all across the province scattered between more modern infrastructures.
For a good look at these, you can visit Santo Domingo and Barva, where most of them are found.
Although Heredia’s economy has been historically linked to coffee production and exportation; the city has changed for the better during the last few years and it is now only second to San Jose when it comes to infrastructure and job opportunities.
This is in a large part thanks to the development of important free trade zones such as Global Park and Ultra Park.
They are the home of international call centers and high-tech companies including IBM, Amazon, Sykes, Intel, HP and Fujitsu; which have brought employment to locals and also to residents of adjacent cities.
The city of Heredia has a population of about 42,000, and the province is home to more than 370,000 people.
Getting to Heredia
To get to downtown Heredia, take the Pan-American Highway. It starts at the end of Paseo Colon, and get to Hotel Irazu. From there take the right exit and continue until you see the Pozuelo cookies factory.
Then just follow the road straight for about 3 miles.
If you are coming from downtown San Jose using the bus, you can pick up the Busetas Heredianas nearby the Merced Church.
Consider that most roads leading there are clogged during rush hours (7 am to 9 am and 5 pm to 7 pm).
What to Do in Heredia
Since this is the home of one of the two largest state universities in the country, the Universidad Nacional, Heredia certainly has the college town feel, and this is noticeable when it comes to the city’s nightlife.
And though most bars are always full, their general environment is inviting, and they are certainly perfect for meeting new people.
A trip across the Sarapiqui River is one of the must-do activities while in Heredia, as it will give you the opportunity of watching the wildlife in the region.
The best way to do this is to go to the town of Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui and arrange a boat trip at the local dock.
A trip like this can take around 3 hours, and you’ll have the chance to watch Crocodiles, Monkeys, Sloths, Turtles and Otters (to mention just a few) and many species of Birds.
If you are a bird watcher, you might also want to pay a visit to La Selva Biological Station, which is located mainly under rain forest.
Since it was declared a private biological reserve, this place has turned into one of the most important places in the world for scientific research on tropical forests.
Apart from the 420 species of birds which have been spotted here, the station is also home to many species of Lizards, Toads, Frogs and Snakes (some which are only found here).
To make it there, just take the highway to Limon and follow the road signs to Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui.
Then follow that road for about 17 miles and watch to your left until you spot the signs for the OTS; the consortium of local and foreign universities which operates La Selva.
And then follow a gravel road for half a mile until you reach the gates of the station.
Important Numbers and Websites:
- Municipalidad: http://www.heredia.go.cr/
- Heredia Hospital: 2562-8100
- Buses: 2261-7171