Alajuela, Costa Rica
Alajuela, Costa Rica - Night Skyline.png
La Iglesia Central de Alajuela.jpg
Juan Santamaria 1.JPG
Alajuela likeluis.jpg
Teatro Municipal Alajuela 2011.jpg
Alajuela, Costa Rica - Costa Rican Ox Cart.png
Alajuela, Costa Rica - Juan Santamaria International Airport 2.png
Alajuela, Costa Rica - Alejandro Morera Soto Stadium Paronamic View.png
Images, from top down, left to right: Alajuela skyline at night, Central Church, Juan Santamaría Statue, Central Park, Municipal Theater, a traditional Costa Rican bullock cart, the Juan Santamaría International Airport, Alejandro Morera Soto Stadium.
Flag of Alajuela, Costa Rica
Coat of arms of Alajuela, Costa Rica
Coat of arms
Ciudad de los Mangos  (Spanish)
"City of Mangoes"
Pro Patria Nostra — Sanguis Noster    (Latin)
"For our country, our blood"
Alajuela and surrounding area
Alajuela, Costa Rica is located in Costa Rica
Alajuela, Costa Rica
Alajuela, Costa Rica
Location of Alajuela within Costa Rica
Coordinates: 10°01′N 84°13′W / 10.017°N 84.217°W / 10.017; -84.217
Country Costa Rica
Province Alajuela Province
Canton Alajuela
Founded 1782
 • Syndic Francisco Salazar Sánchez
 • Total 8.88 km2 (3.43 sq mi)
952 m (3,123 ft)
 • Total 42,975
 • Density 4,800/km2 (13,000/sq mi)
Time zone UTC−06:00
Postal code
Climate Aw
Website Official website

Alajuela (Spanish pronunciation: [alaˈxwela]) is a district in the Alajuela canton of the Alajuela Province of Costa Rica, known as “The Capital of the World” by the locals. As the seat of the Municipality of Alajuela canton, it is awarded the status of city. In virtue of being the city of the first canton of the province, it is also the capital of the Province of Alajuela. [1][2]

Because of its location in the Costa Rican Central Valley, Alajuela is nowadays part of the conurbation of the Greater 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.


Alajuela has an area of 8.89 km²[3] and an elevation of 952 metres.[1] It is located in the Central Valley, 19 kilometres northwest of San José.


The climate is tropical, typical of the Central Valley, but slightly warmer than San José. Temperatures are moderate, averaging 23–26 degrees Celsius with a low humidity level, with dewpoints around 20 almost all year round. Alajuela and its surroundings are famed for having "the best weather in the world".[4]


Historical population
Census Pop.
1864 2,339
1883 3,532 51.0%
1892 3,828 8.4%
1927 8,496 121.9%
1950 13,903 63.6%
1963 24,224 74.2%
1973 33,122 36.7%
1984 34,556 4.3%
2000 42,889 24.1%
2011 42,975 0.2%

Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Censos[5]
Centro Centroamericano de Población[6]

For the 2011 census, Alajuela had a population of 42,975 inhabitants. [7]


El Llano old hermitage

In pre-Columbian times the land where the canton of Alajuela is today was part of the Western Huetar Kingdom, which was inhabited by native tribes, who at the time of the Spanish conquest were led by Chief Garabito.

The first Spanish settlers established settlements in the region in about 1650.[8] In a letter of obligation granted in 1864, the place is mentioned as La Lajuela in the Valley of Barva, near the Canoas river.

In 1777, the dwellers of La Lajuela and Ciruelas, having been served with notice to move to Villa Vieja (today's Heredia), requested the provisional construction of a public place of prayer in the house of Don Dionysius Oconitrillo, of Spanish origin, 30 metres north of where Alajuela's cathedral is today.

After increases of population in the five existing quarters then: Targuaz, Puás, Ciruelas, La Lajuela and Rio Grande, the citizens faced difficulties to maintain their religious obligations, so they requested permission to establish a parish and a public place of prayer from the Bishop of Nicaragua and Costa Rica, Monsignor don Esteban Lorenzo de Tristán.[8]

According to a motion issued in the Spanish Parliament of Cádiz on 19 May 1812, the first town hall of Alajuela was founded in 1813. On December 18 of the same year, the La Lajuela quarter obtained the title of town and it was renamed. It was first called "Villa Hermosa", then it was called "San Juan Nepomuceno de Alajuela" and finally the title of city was granted on 20 November 1824 and with it the name "Alajuela" which remains today.

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.

The area often experiences earthquakes. The 2009 magnitude 6.1 earthquake caused several landslides.[9]


The main exports of the region are coffee, sugar-cane, maize, beans, tobacco, citrus fruits, strawberries, tubers like cassava, flowers and ornamental plants. Other commercial activities include poultry farming, beekeeping, pig farming and the dairy industry. More recently, Alajuela has seen important investment in free zone parks and heavy industry companies.


Alajuela is an important transport hub for the country, connecting the capital city of San José with northwestern Costa Rica. As a part of the Greater Metropolitan Area, most of the inhabitants of Alajuela work in other cities or regions of the Central Valley, and every day receives residents from other locations to work in local factories. Central America's second busiest airport, Juan Santamaría International Airport, is three kilometers south of the district center.

Road transportation

The district is covered by the following road routes:

Rail transportation

The Interurbano Line operated by Incofer goes through this district.


Liga Deportiva Alajuelense is the province's major football club, having won 29 league titles. They play their home games at the Estadio Alejandro Morera Soto, located in this district.


Sister cities

Notable residents


  • Gregorio Jose Ramirez (1796–1823) Politician, Military Commander.
  • José María Alfaro Zamora (1799–1856) Costa Rican Head of State (1842–44, 1846–47)
  • Florentino Alfaro Zamora (1805–1873) Politician
  • Juan Alfaro Ruiz (1810–1856) Politician
  • Jose Maria Figueroa (1820–1900) Artist. He recorded the early events of Costa Rican history in his Album de Figueroa
  • Apolinar de Jesus Soto (1827–1911) Vice-President of Costa Rica (1886-1889). The title was called then Primer Designado
  • Juan Santamaría (1831–1856) Costa Rican national hero.
  • Tomás Guardia Gutiérrez (1831–1882) President of Costa Rica (1870–82) Born in Bagaces, Guardia married and lived in Alajuela most of his life
  • Emilia Solórzano Alfaro (1835–1914) Costa Rican First lady (1870-1882) For her activism in favor of Education and Human Rights, she was declared Benemerita de la Patria in 1972.
  • Leon Fernandez Bonilla (1840–1887) Historian, Lawyer, Diplomat, Journalist. Declared Benemerito de la Patria (Distinguished Citizen) in 1994.
  • Bernardo Soto Alfaro (1854–1931) President of Costa Rica (1885-1889)
  • Anastasio Alfaro (1865–1951) Zoologist, Geologist, Archeologist, Ethnologist. Creator of the Museo Nacional de Costa Rica.
  • Ricardo Fernandez Guardia (1867–1950) Historian, Author, Diplomat. Declared Benemerito de la Patria (Distinguished Citizen) in 1944.
  • León Cortés Castro (1882–1946) President of Costa Rica (1936–40)
  • Otilio Ulate (1891–1973) President of Costa Rica (1949–53)
  • Carlos Luis Fallas (1909–1966) Costa Rican most important author, political activist. Elected for the Congress (1944–48). Posthumously declared Benemérito de la Patria (Distinguished Citizen) in 1977.
  • Alejandro Morera Soto (1909-1995) Footballer. Played with LD Alajuelense in Costa Rica, and FC Barcelona, Spain.
  • Margarita Madrigal (1919-1983) Best-selling author of language textbooks.

Born in or live in Alajuela

  • Fernando Durán (1939– ) Author
  • Edgar Zúñiga (1950– ) Sculptor
  • Jorge Arroyo (1959– ) Playwright


  1. ^ a b "Declara oficial para efectos administrativos, la aprobación de la División Territorial Administrativa de la República N°41548-MGP". Sistema Costarricense de Información Jurídica (in Spanish). 19 March 2019. Retrieved 26 September 2020.
  2. ^ División Territorial Administrativa de la República de Costa Rica (PDF) (in Spanish). Editorial Digital de la Imprenta Nacional. 8 March 2017. ISBN 978-9977-58-477-5.
  3. ^ "Área en kilómetros cuadrados, según provincia, cantón y distrito administrativo". Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Censos (in Spanish). Retrieved 26 September 2020.
  4. ^ Alajuela, Climate and info, in Costa Rica WeatherCentre
  5. ^ "Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Censos" (in Spanish).
  6. ^ "Sistema de Consulta de a Bases de Datos Estadísticas". Centro Centroamericano de Población (in Spanish).
  7. ^ "Censo. 2011. Población total por zona y sexo, según provincia, cantón y distrito". Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Censos (in Spanish). Retrieved 26 September 2020.
  8. ^ a b Ocampo Barrantes, Marlon. "Los Orígenes de la Población de Alajuela, 1601-1782". Editorial UNED, Costa Rica, 2009.
  9. ^ "10 confirmed dead, 32 injured after quake in Costa Rica". Cable News Network. 9 January 2009.
  10. ^ Costa Rican News in Brief Archived 13 May 2014 at, accessdate: 5/13/2014, 9/21/1995
  11. ^ Alajuela: Stadt Lahr online - Alajuela Archived 18 May 2015 at the Wayback Machine, accessdate: 5/13/2014
  12. ^ a b Page 2: Murals of La Guacima | Page 2 Archived 17 May 2014 at the Wayback Machine, accessdate: 5/13/2014
  13. ^ :, accessdate: 5/13/2014
  14. ^ "Sister Cities, Public Relations". Guadalajara municipal government. Archived from the original on 2 March 2012. Retrieved 12 March 2013.
  15. ^ IBARAKI Prefectural Government Archived 25 June 2012 at the Wayback Machine, accessdate: 5/13/2014

External links

Coordinates: 10°01′N 84°13′W / 10.017°N 84.217°W / 10.017; -84.217