Spanish Pura Vida is located in the heart of Costa Rica's Central Valley in the city of Alajuela. Only twenty minutes from the San José airport, the city provides students with both a non-touristy cultural experience as well as the perfect jumping point to stunning natural beauty.
Alajuela is center to some of the most unique and genuine Costa Rica culture. With the school in the heart of the city, you'll experience the life of a true Costa Rican.
click each photo for a tour of downtown!
Acting as a jumping-off point, Alajuela provides visitors the proximity to country-side coffee farms, natural waterfalls, and the Poás Volcano National Park.
Check out Alajuela's natural beauty by clicking each photo
Area: 8.88 km2 (3.43 sq mi)
Average Temperature (July): 72°F
Founded in 1782
Soccer Team: La Liga
Largest Earthquake: Magnitude 6.1 in 2009
When to visit?
Because of the town-wide celebration of Juan Santamaria Day, April is the best month to visit Alajuela. July-October is also a fantastic time in Alajuela due to the many festivals held in the town center. With concerts, fairs, local cuisine, and street parades, the festivals attract many Costa Rican's to the city and offers students a truly unique experience.
How to get here?
Almost all international flights land at Juan Santamaría Airport, located just 15 minutes South of the school. Once you land, we'll be right outside to pick you up!
Facing the east side of central park, the neoclassical Alajuela Cathedral is just a 5 minute walk from our classrooms. With its beautiful dome and white marble foundation, students often find the cathedral as a calm place to study and review class work.
The Cathedral was constructed in 1854
Two Costa Rican presidents are buried here
The 1991 earthquake caused sever damage to the cathedral's cupola
Home to mango trees and royal palms, Alajuela's central park marks the center of the city and is a constant hub of activity. Students often practice their spanish with the locals and enjoy the occasional music concert or local performer. Framing the park are restaurants, bars, and local artisan shops that provide plenty of entertainment on days off.
Traditional Costa Rican music is performed at the park every Saturday
Local break dancers use the park as a practice and performance space
The mango trees found in the park can be directly eaten from
Juan Santamaria Park
One of the most important icons in Costa Rican history, Juan Sanatamaria is honored here with a bronze statue flanked by two artillery canons. Unveiled on September 15th, 1891, the statue is dedicated to the memory of this iconic hero who gave his live to save the country in the National Campaign against the Filibuster led by William Walker. After the victory at the Battle of Rivas, Santamaria was declared a national hero on April 11th, 1856.
A city-wide parade is held every April 11th to commemorate the Battle of Rivas
The famous Alajuela 'letters' sit just meters away in the Parque de los Niños
A detailed history of the life of Juan Santamaria exists in the museum near Central Park
Alejandro Morera Soto Stadium
The Alejandro Morera Soto stadium is a fifteen minute walk from the school and is home to the Liga Deportiva Alajelense. La Liga are gods amongst the locals and game day is when the city really comes alive. Sporting black and red jerseys, La Liga hold 27 national championships and 17 runner-up titles. The stadium is named after one of the teams great legends, Alejandro Morera Soto who was recently deemed the greatest Costa Rican soccer player of all time.
The stadium was named in 1961
Elton John played a concert at the stadium in Novemeber 1995, Iron Maiden in 2009
The market is a chaotic flurry of produce markets, butcheries, fish markets, mini-diners, clothing stores, shoe stores, souvenir shops, and more, The variety of products is un-paralleled and the opportunity to practice your Spanish here is rich. Dive in, have fun, and don't be afraid to eat something new!
Hours: Mon - Sat, 6am - 6pm
Total Area: 25,149 sq ft.
Number of Kiosks: 249
Founded: October 12th, 1782
The production of coffee has played an extremely significant role in Costa Rica's history and economy. Initial production is dated back to 1779 and in 2009 the coffee industry employed 28 percent of the labor force and comprised 20 percent of Costa Rica's total GNP.
Mainly due to the rich volcanic soil, the beans grown north of Alajuela are considered to be among the best in the world. The flavor is recognized for its high fine acidic nodes, a strong body, and a pleasant natural aroma.
There are 78,000 coffee producers in Costa Rica. Of these are mainly small-scale farmers
There are 73 roasters that toast and grind the beans after they are washed and dried
Every year, Costa Rica produces 2.5 million sacks of coffee weighing 60 kilograms each