In Pictures: Costa Rica’s Central Valley

A typical view in the Central Valley. Forest and river valley next to pasture land. Homes perched on the hillside with great mountain views, melding into the scenery. The red church of Grecia – constructed of steel plates, about an hour northwest of San Jose. The square in front is alive with activity from morning to sundown. Seniors chatting, young couples sitting together, children playing. It’s a great place for authentic Costa Rican culture. The feria, or farmer’s market, held every Friday afternoon and Saturday morning in Greica. Ferias are a weekly occurrence in most Costa Rican towns. They’re the best place to get fresh fruits and vegetables – for about half or less of what you’d pay in the States. Despite being the center of commerce and culture in Costa Rica, the Central Valley still retains its rural roots. The way of life around this pasture just outside San Ramon, a town in the western edge of the Valley, is much as it was decades ago. The Central Valley was proclaimed as one of the best places in the world to retire by AARP in 2010. And they focused heavily on Atenas, a small town of 8,000, that has a sizeable expat community.  They come for the ideal climate and for affordable homes with breath-taking mountain views. No matter where you go in the Central Valley, the natural wonders of Costa Rica aren’t too far away. This waterfall is on the slopes of the Poas Volcano. There are national parks and private preserves like this one scattered throughout the region. Another blue-sky day of a just-planted sugarcane field in the heart of the Central Valley. During the dry season, days like this are the norm. Rainy season – May to October - brings afternoon storms like clockwork. But it’s not bad. Mornings and early afternoons are pleasant… and everything turns green.
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Another blue-sky day of a just-planted sugarcane field in the heart of the Central Valley. During the dry season, days like this are the norm. Rainy season – May to October - brings afternoon storms like clockwork. But it’s not bad. Mornings and early afternoons are pleasant… and everything turns green.

 

The region of Costa Rica surrounding the capital San Jose is known as the Central Valley. Set at 3,000 feet, the weather is temperate, averaging in the mid-70s year-round. Quite pleasant. And although 70% of Costa Rica’s population lives here, there are plenty of refuges from the crowded capital and its suburbs. Quiet rural areas. Tiny villages. Bustling market towns with everything from doctors to farmers’ markets.

It’s an agricultural center as well, with abundant coffee and sugar plantations and cattle ranches strung on the plains and hills of the region. But it’s not all cultivated land. Plenty of natural, untouched areas still exist, full of wildlife.

Editor’s Note: Learn more about Costa Rica and other countries in IL’s daily postcard e-letter. Sign up for these free daily postcards here and we’ll send you a FREE REPORT – Why Are Americans Still Flocking to Costa Rica.

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