Administrative division
Province of San Jose
Province of Cartago
Province of Alajuela
Province of Puntarenas Province of Limon
Province of Heredia
Province of Guanacaste

Province of San Jose

The small village to the south of San Jose agglomeration. In 1969 it got the municipal rights. Its Patron Saint is Black Christ of Esquipulas, in whose honour, on January 15th, the Alajuelita Fiestas with ox-carts parade, and the procession to huge iron cross on the mountain is held. Lately there was excavated an indian cementery dating back to 900 - 1.500 AD (the first that was discovered in west side of Meseta Central).

The hillside town perched on the southern peaks ringing the Central Valley. It got the municipal rights in 1920. It`s known for restaurances with lookouts over the terrains below. It`s famed also for its church and simplistic handcrafted dolls. In the southwest of town there is a 30-meter-high massif with a cave at its base, said to be a home of the legendary witch - Zarate.

Cerro Muerte
[Cerro Buena Vista], (3.491 m.a.s.l.). It belongs to Cordillera Talamanca Range. The Panamerican Highway runs through that. It`s the highest point on it, on the distance between Guatemala to Panama. Its terrific name comes from many dead cases that were happenning within it in the first half of XX century. When in 1920 the provisional route San Jose-San Isidro was drawn through that, inhabitants of the latter town often come across with loaded oxcards for markets in San Jose. Often surprised by the night, they fell asleep on the top. Some of them even froze to death because of the low temperatures. One of its refuges - Ojo de Agua dated to 1910 was declared to be the national monument. The peak is covered by paramo, stunted plants (bamboo) with mosses and lichens. Except low temperatures, there are eternal winds.

It was named Pacaca till 1916. The majority of the streets are steep and narrow. There stands modern, concrete church with free-standing slender tower on which is put a cross. There is situated sponsored by the United Nations, The University for Peace. Students from all over the world attend to there.

The agricultural village at 2.121 meters. It`s a center of trout fishing, known for the restaurant serving that kind of fish. It`s situated on so called "the saints route". Around that are spread the coffee plantations (harvest took place on December/January). There is situated the wooden church dated to 1925.

Its name comes from the word "curriaba" which used to mean "cacique" in Spanish. During the conquest times it was one of three most important Indian settlements. There is a neoclassic (designed ny Teodorico Quiros) one-naved church with twin sided towers linked by elaborate attic and quite large dome at the back.

A working-class town south-east of San Jose (in San Jose aglomeration). It used to be named Dos Cercas and had to do with the fences along the both sides of off that time only way through town. The current name comes from the figure of Virgin of Desamparados from the church. The main church has two sided towers and a large dome in the back and is said to be a scaled down of Peter and Paul church in London. There is founded in 1988 the Museum of Joaguin Garcia Monge (known intellectualist from Costa Rica).

Settled 4 kilometres west of San Jose, (connected with capital by extensive suburbs). It has some elegant residence areas. A large group of them are immigrants from Europe and USA. The name Escazu derives from the indigenous word "Izt-kat-zu", which means "resting stone". Centuries back, that place was a crossroad on trails between Indian villages Aserri and Pacaca (near Ciudad Colon, to the west from San Jose), because was settled among others on the half way between those two towns, tired travellers stopped there for rest. The first inhabitants were natives from the Guetaras or Huaca tribes. In 1755 they were forced to leave Escazu and move to the new born capital San Jose. But in 1796 the new houses started being established and from 1796 to 1799 the church of San Miguel was built with the cooperation of the people. (The church was built from magma rocks).

On May 28, 1920, the government of Costa Rica granted Escazu the status of City, head of the Canton (County) of Escazu. Sometimes, Escazu is called "The City of the Witches". According to legends, all witches of Escazu were good witches. Probably that name comes from medicine compounds, herbs and amulets prepared and made by living there Indian women and. There is a impressive 150-years-old building of USA embassy and founded in 1993 the youth centre "Viva la Tierra". The historic houses are situated on the main square next to the church. On the second sunday of March there is a parade of ox-carts. On January, in San Rafael quarter is held the International Tennis Tournon.

It got the municipal rights in 1920. In 1908 it was linked by the tramways with San Jose. There is neogotic San Francisco church made of red-bricks (the only one of such kind in San Jose metropolitan area).

La Lucha
A farm "La Lucha sin fin" that used to belong to Jose Figuerres Ferrer, in where in 1947 a volunteers for fighting with government forces were training.

A satelite town of San Jose located 7 kilometres north-east of capital. The main street is known as "street of handicraft". It`s destinguished by a large number of shops with leather souvenirs. There is also a colonial church with ornate columns and stain-glasses. The biggest concentration of stocks of art items from all over Latin America is in Mercado de Artesania Las Garzas.

An industry village in San Jose agglomeration. It`s noted for giant saturday morning market. There is the modern Virgen Loretto concrete church with slender clocktower. In 1992 it was linked with San Jose by municipal railway. Pavas is home to Tobias Bolanos Airport and warehouses of National Museum.

It`s placed between Santa Ana and Escazu. It`s distinguished by small one-naved, two sided-roofed, one towered church (the main entrance is lined with palms). There American craftsman Jay Morrison displays his hardwood furnishing.

Important agricultural town noted for its intense seismic activity (1990 - 5 R). Its name means "the flower of beans". It`s centered on a large square and overlooked by a large church from 1940`s (it is closed for prayers due to the devastations after earthquake - there is an idea to demolish that or lower that to the ground floor). There is also an orchid nursery with more than 350 orchid species and the Manuel Chapui Psychiatric Hospital. The countryside is covered with coffee, orange trees and sugar cane.

It`s situated in the north-eastern part of San Jose agglomeration. It stands out of San Jose`s Park of East with cypress-lined walking trails, basketball and soccer facilities and picnic tables. In the town there is also the headquarter of National University of Distance Education (UNED).

San Gerardo de Dota
A village in Quetzal Valley on so calle "the saints route", tucked at the base of wooden valley at 1.900 m.a.s.l. It`s a center of apples and peaches plantations. Its inhabitants engage in cheese producing. Outside around are put the feeders for hummingbirds.

San Isidro de Coronado
It stands at the elevation of 1.383 metres a.s.l., 10 km North-East of San Jose. It got the municipal rights in 1968. It has tin roofed neogothic church (designed by Teodorico Quiros), in front of which stands the monument of a man with a shovel. There is a snake laboratory at the Clodomiro Picando Institute where snakes are milked for venom. It`s also a seat of the Interamerican Institute for Agriculture and the Costa Rica Olympic Committee. A fiesta is held here each 15 February. Around the town there are pastures and strawberry fields. Some points of town offer good views to San Jose.

San Isidro de El General
(41.000). The second town of San Jose province, settled in El General Valley, 35 kilometres to the south-east from San Jose. It spreads on the altitude of 744 metres. It`s a transportation and commercial hub, the centre for coffee and pineapples plantations. Surrounded hills are covered also by orange plantations. Through the north-east part of town runs the Panamerican Highway. On the town entrance from San Jose side, since 1980 the Jesus Christ figure has been standing (in last months of 2004 flared up dispute between inhabitants and owners of new stone-pit about it). At the First Avenida and the Second Street there is the Southern Regional Museum. It`s placed in Cultural Centre of Perez Zeledon, and shows the items which used to belong to the first Talamanca region inhabitants. In the first week of February, the cattle shows and agricultural and industrial fairs are organized.

Since 1954 the town is a seat of diocese. The main church is placed on Central Park. It`s distinguished by modern, concrete structure. Its towers are topped by crosses andon one of them there is a clock. In the southern quarter, there is a football stadium. The first inhabitants settled there about 100 years ago. They upkept themselves on rice, citruces, vegetables, corn and sugar canes cultivating. They bred the cattle and pigs. In 1920 the first route to San Jose was led on which loaded carretas people drew loaded carretas for markets in capital.

San Marcos de Terrazu
It is placed on so called "route of the Saints". In 1926 it got the municipal rights. Around are planted one of the best cofee bushes. It stands out with large, baroque style two-towered church. In 1601 it was on so famous Caminas de las Mulas ("route de mule").

Santa Ana
It`s famous for its ceramics. On the patios of some 30 independent family work-shops green bowls, vases, coffee mugs are fired in brick-kilns. It has a horse club with two exhibitions and practise arenas and an open air jumping ring. There polo and horse competition tournaments are held. Around the village spread the onion plantations. Their bunches are often tied to fences and eaves in houses. In 1931 was opened there the first international airport La Lindora.

It used to be called San Juan de Murcielagos (since 1828), and later Tibatsi (Ti - "water" and Batsi "the joy of being sheltered"). It`s a town-bedroom. In the half of XIX century, for the short time it was appointed by Braulio Carillo for the capital of Costa Rica. Its main street is a prolongation of the Central Street in San Jose. It got its municipal rights in 1960. It has two stadions (Sanjuaneno and Ricardo Saprissa Ayma). On the central square there is a historic well. In Tibas used to be founded the bones of mammoth. In Clinica of Tibas (founded in 1990) there is the Museum of Costa Rica Art where are featured pictures of 72 painters from Latin America.

Turrubares (hills)
In the western part of San Jose province, close to the Carara Biological Reserve. Their name comes from the plants spot there. Their highest point rises to 1.756 m.a.s.l. It is covered by forests with spanish cedars [Cedrela odorata]. On its slopes there are mango plantations.

A town on the San Jose - Cartago Highway, in San Jose agglomeration. On December 25th - 31th, the part of town is transformed into amusement park with tons of rides, fireworks and corridas. The last ones have been organizing since 1847. Zapote has massive, greycoloured one naved church with twin towers topped by the silver metallic small domes. There is situated the White House (presidence house) that is destinguished by three rysalites, high cencrete fence and fine gardens. There is the Nicaragua Park, where in 1995 was put three bronse plates with "To Marquerita" poem (written by nicaraguan poets Ruben Dario). Within that is placed the big statue of Social Guarantes of four people (three standing and one sitting on high pedestale) from 1993. There is also a national factory of chocolate. (The chocolate is sold in 5 kilo-blocks. Zapote men used to be known for the big jeloucy.

2004; SLUPSK; Rafal Cezary Piechocinski