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San Ramon

San Ramon

    San Ramon Snapshot

  • Summary: Small town located less than an hour from San Jose; situated at the base of a secluded cloud forest.
  • Landscape: City, Cloud Forest, Mountains
  • Attractions: Los Angeles Cloud Forest Reserve, Waterfalls
  • Activities: Bird & Wildlife Watching, Hiking
  • Caters to: Couples/Honeymooners, Independent Travelers, Luxury Travelers, Nature Lovers
  • Quick Facts: 25 miles from San Jose; 14 miles southwest of Zarcero ; 3,468 feet above sea level ; Warm and breezy year-round ; 72-77 F

Located less than one hour from San Jose, the small town of San Ramon lies nestled in the picturesque mountains of Alajuela province. San Ramon is also called “The City of Presidents and Poets,” a moniker reflective of the town’s history – five of Costa Rica’s presidents hail from San Ramon, including Jose Figueres Ferrer, the man responsible for abolishing Costa Rica’s army in 1948. Celebrated poets, including Lisimaco Chavarria Palma and Felix Angel Salas Cabezas, were also raised in San Ramon.

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Though the town itself is small, the district is large; in fact, San Ramon is the third-largest canton in Alajuela. A new highway promises to increase tourism to the town, further connecting it to La Fortuna, Naranjo, Puntarenas and other popular tourist locations. While retaining its provincial charm, San Ramon boasts the modern perks of a much larger city. Mall Plaza Occidente, located at the turnoff to San Ramon on the Interamerican Highway, has a movie theater, supermarket, banks and several upscale shops. 

European settlers colonized San Ramon in the 1840’s, developing the land for farming. Today, the San Ramon region continues to rely heavily on farming, and their three major exports are ornamental plants, coffee and sugar cane. Though the area is home to many activities, an afternoon drive through rolling hills and productive farms is one of the most peaceful and enjoyable ways to spend time. Every year in August, residents celebrate their patron saint, San Ramon, with day-long festivities, food and lots of fun.

A ten-minute drive from San Ramon, the town of Palmares is quiet for 50 weeks of the year, but comes alive during the last two weeks in January, when a 10-day festival comes to town. Carnival rides, concerts, horse parades and street food are the name of the game during the Palmares Fiestas, and San Ramon enjoys nearby access to the festivities.


The Muses Waterfall (Catarata Las Musas)

San Ramon’s most famous waterfall, located just five minutes from downtown, is named for the muses of local legend. The story says that several muses, acting as sirens, live at the waterfall, luring travelers to their deaths. Swimming in the natural pool is permitted, but do not waterfall jump.

Los Angeles Cloud Forest Reserve

Though not nearly as famous as other Costa Rican cloud forests, this 1,975-acre primary forest offers cloud forest mist, rushing waterfalls and myriad flora and fauna. Just 12.5 miles north of San Ramon, the Los Angeles Cloud Forest Reserve is relatively untouristed and one of the best places in the country to explore the tropical cloud forest in peace and quiet. Visitors can hire bilingual naturalist guides to help spot the reserve's many bird and mammal species, or opt to hike on their own. The reserve also boasts a canopy tour and nearby lodges offer horse rentals.

San Ramon Museum

Located on the north side of San Ramon’s downtown park, this museum is worthy of a visit. Life-size dioramas depict Costa Rica’s past, including colonial scenes and local history.

Places to Stay:

San Ramon and the nearby Los Angeles Cloud Forest Reserve offer a variety of lodging options, including quaint mountain bed & breakfasts, upscale inns and budget hotels.

Getting There:

Buses to San Ramon leave every 30 minutes from San Jose (approximately $1 – contact 2222-0064). If arriving via car, take the Interamerican Highway (Route 1) west from San Jose. San Ramon is located just off the highway a few miles northwest of Palmares.

San Ramon in Pictures