Heredia, called the town of flowers, is the capital of the province of Heredia.
The town is located northwest of San Jose and is surrounded by coffee plantations which grow their crop on the slopes of the volcano Barva. There are many universities in Heredia, especially in Veterinary science. The schools have a good reputation and many foreign students come with on exchange programs to Heredia and give the town a cosmopolitan flair. A historical site is the cathedral which was built in colonial times, Basilica de la Immaculada Concepcion. The construction, of the thick-walled church, took 30 years and was finished in 1797. The Basilica de la Immaculada Concepcion has survived several strong earthquakes. The church bells are from Cuzco, Peru.
Another site is the former residence of ex-president Alfredo Gonzales Flores, The Casa de la Cultura. Now days it is a historical museum and hosts changing exhibitions and at times cultural renditions. It was Alfredo Gonzales Flores who ordered the construction of the fortress El Fortin on the north side of the Central Plaza. A big mistake was made during the construction, the crenels/ gun holes where built with the wide side to the outside and the thinner side to the inside. This made it easier for attackers to shoot in and more difficult for defenders to shoot out.
There are some beautiful hotels built on the mountain slopes of Heredia. The well known soccer player, Paulo Cesar Wanchope, was born in Heredia. His career started at the local CS Herediano. Later in his career he played in England, Spain, Qatar, Argentina and Japan. As of November 2007, Wanchope is the second most prolific goal scorer in the history of the Costa Rican national soccer team, behind Rolando Fonseca, with 45 goals in 75 international matches. He scored twice in the opening game of the 2006 World Cup against Germany, the first Costa Rican to score twice in one World Cup match. On the November 16, 2007 Paulo Cesar Wanchope ended to his career, the decision was primarily based on his knee injuries.
The two time president of Costa Rica, Ocar Arias Sanchez, was born in Heredia, too. In 1987 he was honored with the Nobel Peace Prize for his Arias-Sanchez-Plan, its goal was to secure the Peace for Central America. Movie theaters, restaurants and a big selection of student bars, some with live music, can be found in the center of Heredia. Alajuela and San Jose are not far from Heredia and offer some more touristy sights and nightlife, many commuters do that trip on a daily basis.
There are several language schools and language institutes located in Heredia for travelers that want to advance their Spanish skills during their stay in Costa Rica.