Thrill seekers will enjoy soaring through the air on a zip-line canopy tour from a series of 24 platforms at Colinas de Poas. The park has a stocked lake for trout fishing, a nice restaurant and hiking trails. Located in the cool mountains a few miles outside of Alajuela on Fraijanes Road, follow the signs.
Schedule: Open daily from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., call for reservations
Doka Estate, located on the slopes of Poas Volcano, offers guided tours of its plantation and mill where guests learn about coffee cultivation, harvesting and roasting. Tours include tasty samples of award-winning coffees and an optional lunch. Located in San Luis de Sabanilla, about ten miles north of Alajuela via Fraijanes Road.
Schedule: Tours are offered Monday through Sunday at 9:00, 10:00 and 11:00 a.m and 1:30, 2:30 and 3:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays there is no 3:30 p.m. tour.
Held every Saturday from 6 a.m. until 2:30 p.m., this massive outdoor market is locally known as la feria. Fruits, vegetables, honey, herbs, flowers, cheese, meats and clothing are just some of the items for sale. Bring a sturdy bag to stock up on goods; everything is incredibly cheap. Two pounds of tomatoes sell for 50 cents and a bag of lychees goes for just under $1. Try a chorreada, a type of cornmeal pancake topped with delicious sour cream. Marimba bands are often heard at the market and taxis are plentiful for the trip back to your hotel.
Alajuela is the proud hometown of La Liga, one of the best soccer teams in Costa Rica. Soccer fans will enjoy a game in the Liga Stadium on the northeast corner of Calle Ancha in Alajuela. Matches are typically held on alternating Sunday mornings or Wednesday evenings; ask around for the latest schedule. Costa Ricans are crazy about soccer (known as futbol), and La Liga fans are notoriously passionate about their team.
Four language schools in town offer private and group Spanish classes for all levels. Students can opt to live with a homestay family, where most meals are included, or stay in a hotel and take Spanish classes alone. Schools typically ask for a two-week commitment; monthly programs are popular as students have time to immerse themselves in the culture while honing their Spanish skills.
Ojo de Agua, a water park that is frequented by locals on weekends, has two swimming pools and a small lake that are filled with natural spring water. The park also features a soccer field, tennis courts and picnic area. Located four miles south of Alajuela.
Schedule: Open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily