The Central Intermountain Valley Described
For practical purposes, though not from a geographer's point of view, the Occidental or Western Central Valley extends northwest to include the towns of Heredia, Alajuela, Grecia, Naranjo, Palmares and ending at San Ramón. Smaller towns and also nice places in which to live are Escazú, Aserrí, San Ignacio de Acosta, Puriscal, Zarcero, Poás, San Rafael de Heredia, Barva, Santa Barbara, San Isidro de Heredia, Santa Ana, and Ciudad Colón.
The Oriental or Eastern Central Valley extends from Ochomogo on the east, passes Cartago (the ancient capita!), Orosi, Cervantes, Juan Viñas and ends at lower altitude Turrialba. In these two lesser valleys within the large Central Intermountain Valley, you will find variations in temperature and amount of rainfall due large part to differences in altitude, position of mountain ranges and prevalence of winds.
The Alto de Ochomogo marks the Continental Divide. Rivers flowing westward empty into the Pacific Ocean; those flowing east go into the Caribbean Sea. For many years there was a big sign pointing to this, and tourists that were taken there, who by spreading their legs, could have one foot on the Pacific side while the other foot rested on the Atlantic side.
The towns of Tierra Blanca, Cot and Pacayas are located on the flanks of Irazú Volcano where large quantities of potatoes and vegetables are grown, many organically. The best dairy herds of the country are to be found in this area. The people in this high altitude have a very white complexion and many exhibit rosy cheeks. Another cool valley is the one where the Los Santos (the saints) is located. They're so named because they have saints' names - San Pablo, San Marcos de Tarrazú and Santa María de Dota which are strung along at a short distance from each other.
Somewhat isolated, the Los Santos is a large coffee growing area with a large production of apples, peaches, avocados and blackberries. A strong trout raising association exports to the USA tons of frozen trout raised in artificial ponds by nearly a hundred small farmers. There is good sports trout fishing in the cool river waters of this region. Nice cool mountain areas north of San Jose are San Rafael, Barva, San Luis and San Isidro, aIl in the Province of Heredia.
If you're a beach lover, your most difficult task will be deciding which of the very many fine and beautiful beaches to choose from for a place to buy a lot, house, or condominium. The advice is to try to visit as many beaches as you can and then take your pick.