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San José is the capital and largest city of Costa Rica. Located in the center of the country, sprawling across the Central Valley, the city is the seat of the government, the focal point of political and economic activity, as well as the major transportation hub of this Central American nation.

Founded in 1738, San José is one of the youngest capitals of Latin America by its year of foundation, though it was not named capital until 1823.Nowadays it's a modern city with bustling commerce, brisk expressions of art and architecture, and spurred by the country's improved tourism industry, a significant destination and stopover for foreign visitors.


Puntarenas, which means "Sandy Point" in Spanish, is the capital and largest city in the province Puntarenas, Costa Rica, at the Pacific coast. The eponymous and oddly shaped province has its largest section in the South, far from the capital.

Its port, Caldera, is one of the main ports in the country. Some 100,000 live in the city and close towns. With beaches on the Pacific Ocean, it also attracts many tourists, especially surfers. It is also a possible stopover point for the touristy Monteverde, further inland.

Heredia was founded in the 1570s as Cubujuquí.It later changed its name to Villavieja before adopting its current name in 1763.

It is often referred to as the "Ciudad de las Flores," but not because of the city's flowers, as many private tourist companies describe it. At the turn of the 19th centuary, the wealthy "Flores" family dominated political and social life in the city. Their home is now the city's municipal museum, located directly north of the central church.For a brief period in the 1830s, Heredia served as the capital of Costa Rica.


Limón is a province of Costa Rica. It is located in the eastern part of the country at the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. It borders from the south clockwise the country Panama, the provinces Puntarenas, San José, Cartago and Heredia, and the country Nicaragua. The capital is Limón. The province covers an area of 9,189 km², and has a population of 339,295 (2000). It is subdivided into six cantons. About 50 percent of Limón's residents are Afro-Caribbean (mostly Jamaican) ancestry. English creole and Spanish are spoken in the province. The town of Puerto Viejo de Limón is a popular surfing destination featuring the Salsa Brava and Cockle's beach.

Guanacaste is located in the northwestern part of the country, along the coast of the Pacific Ocean. To the north it borders Nicaragua. To the east is the Alajuela Province, and to the southeast is the Puntarenas Province. Guanacaste's capital is Liberia. The province covers an area of 10,141 km², and, as of 2000, had a population of 264,238. It is the most sparsely populated of all the provinces of Costa Rica.

Cartago is a province of Costa Rica. It is located in the central part of the country. Bordering provinces are Limón to the east and San José to the west. The capital is Cartago and it was formerly the capital city of Costa Rica. The province covers an area of 3,124.61 km² and has a population of 461,163. It is subdivided into 8 cantons. It is connected to San Jose via a four lane highway.

Alajuela is a province of Costa Rica. It is located in the north-central part of the country, bordering Nicaragua to the north, and clockwise the provinces Heredia, San José, Puntarenas and Guanacaste. The capital is Alajuela. The province covers an area of 9,757.53 km², and has a population of 767,143. It is subdivided into 15 cantons.
Alajuela is famous as the home of the Costa Rican national hero Juan Santamaría. Santamaría (nicknamed El Erizo ("The Hedgehog") was a peasant boy who became the national hero during the Campaign of 1856-1857 when Costa Rica defeated the army of the North-American filibusterer William Walker.


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