History of Alajuela
Alajuela is the second-largest city in Costa Rica after the capital, San José. It is also the capital of Alajuela Province.
With modern amenities, local charm and a close proximity to the international airport, Alajuela is a convenient base for sightseeing in the Central Valley. Although Costa Rica’s second largest city, Alajuela maintains a provincial atmosphere where locals relax on front porches greeting passersby, and mango season incites a lively festival city wide. Boasting a
Because of its location in the Costa Rican Central Valley, Alajuela is nowadays part of the conurbation of the Great Metropolitan Area. The city is the birthplace of Juan Santamaría, the national hero of Costa Rica and the figure who gives the name to the country's main international airport, which is south of Alajuela downtown.
In pre-Columbian times the land where the canton of Alajuela is today was part of the Huetar Kingdom of the West, which was inhabited by native tribes, who at the time of the Spanish conquest was led by Chief Garabito.
The first Spanish settlers established settlements in the region in about 1650. In a letter of obligation granted in 1864, the place is mentioned as La Lajuela in the Valley of Barva, near the Canoas river.
Participation in important historical events by citizens of Alajuela has ensured the city's reputation as a storied place in Costa Rican history. The national hero Juan Santamaría, who died during the campaign in 1856 to remove invaders threatening Costa Rica's sovereignty, was born in Alajuela. This historical event is celebrated and remembered every year on 11 April and it is a national holiday.
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movie theater, mall, internet cafes and plenty of shopping, Alajuela has all the frills of a modern city, but moves at a gentler pace and is easier to navigate than nearby San Jose.