Heredia Tips & Fun Facts
Discover historic Heredia
- The historic city of Heredia was one of the first cities settled by Spanish immigrants in the 1700s, although it had long been inhabited by the local tribe called the Huétares. The church in the Central Park, dating from 1797, is one of the oldest, still-functioning churches in the country (along with those of Cartago, Nicoya and Barva).
- The “fortín” (little fort) next to the church was built in 1876 by Fadrique Gutiérrez, commander and governor of the province. Local folklore points out that the narrow rifle windows (embrasures) were built the wrong way around, with the wide side of the opening facing outwards, enabling those from the outside to more easily hit targets inside the fort. The reason? Gutiérrez, not an arquitect, designed the fortin himself!
- The Huétares, though no longer in Heredia, still remain as one of 8 indigenous groups in Costa Rica-- the others are the Chorotega (active in the area where our Sámara campus is located), Maleku, Terraba, Cabécar, Bribri, Guaymi, and Boruca tribes. Government policy and local activism has begun to bring attention to indigenous rights, and efforts are slowly underway to restore and protect their cultures, languages and lands.
- Despite its small size, Heredia is an environmental and cultural mecca.. it boasts two theatres (El Hormiguero y La Fortina), two cultural centers (Casa de la Cultura Alfredo Gonález Flores y Centro Cultural Omar Dengo), two museums (Museo de la Cultura Popular y Museo del Café), is home to the National University, two national parks (Barva y Braulio Carrillo), and many smaller ecological reserves, parks and hiking destinations (Bosque Caricias, Bosque de la Hoja, Monte de la Cruz, among others)
- One of the best things to do in Heredia is also the simplest… spend an afternoon people-watching in the central plaza, talking to locals, checking out the historic buildings around the park, and sampling the region’s locally grown, delicious coffee in one of the many cafés that abound throughout the city.