San Jose and Central Valley

Central Valley

The Central Valley (Spanish: Valle Central) is a plateau and a geographic region of central Costa Rica. The land in the valley is a relative plain, despite being surrounded by several mountains and volcanos, the latter part of the Central Range. The Central Valley is a geographical region located in the center of Costa Rica, which is located in the greater metropolitan area, and this is the most developed area of Costa Rica in which are carried the most important activities of the country. The region houses almost three quarters of Costa Ricans, and includes the capital and most populous city, San José. The valley is shared among the provinces of Alajuela, Heredia, San José and Cartago.

San Jose

San José (Saint Joseph) is the capital of Costa Rica, head of the province of San José, and the nation’s largest city. Located in the Central Valley, San José is the seat of national government, the focal point of political and economic activity, and the major transportation hub of this Central American nation.

Culturally, the city can be considered almost entirely European influenced, in part because of Spanish immigration soon after Costa Rica’s discovery by Christopher Columbus, and the privileged classes which generally studied in Europe during the nineteenth century and early twentieth century. This can be seen in the architecture of the city, namely theatres, museums and houses in the city centre. It is named in honor of Joseph of Nazareth.

Though few people live in the city center, it is the most important working area of the country, which brings in more than a million people daily. Despite its problems, according to studies in Latin America, San José is still one of the safest and least violent cities in the region. In 2006 the city was appointed Ibero-American Capital of Culture.