Turrialba, located 67 kilometers east from the Capital, San Jose, about an hour and a half by bus and 650 meters above sea level, is a small town that also offers the services of a city. In town you can find restaurants, bars, coffee shops, internet cafés, lots of stores and banks. Surrounded by rushing rivers, waterfalls and mountains, you can feel yourself really integrated in the Costa Rican culture as Turrialba is not very touristy and a great place to practice Spanish as not many people speak English. The population of the town and surrounding district is about 70.000 persons and all the Turrialbeños seem to know each other. International whitewater fans that need local guides, houses and transportation have provided Turrialba with some job opportunities, but not enough to avoid high unemployment rates among the growing population of the town. Traditionally, Turrialbeños have been involved in growing coffee and sugarcane as well as some other traditional crops.
Turrialba is perfect for adventurous people that love to learn about cultures, ecosystems, tropical farming and fun outdoor sports like mountain biking, river-rafting, hiking, horseback riding and ziplining in the canopy of the forest. Turrialba has a famous volcano that had its last major eruption in 1866, but in January 2001, increased activity was reported and since then, strong fumaroles causes impressive views for visitors. Turrialba also hosts an archeological site called Guayabo that was occupied between 1000 BC and 1400 AD after which it was mysteriously abandoned. The site contains a wide array of stone paved streets, round platforms which were the base for wooden structures, aqueducts, ponds, carved stone designs and drawings of animals. CATIE is an international research and graduate educational institution focusing on the agricultural sciences and natural resources and worth a visit. On Fridays and Saturdays a large farmers market can be visited in the center of town providing a great introduction to local produce. Processing plants of both coffee and sugarcane are still functioning and can be visited by tourists. There are lots of gyms in town and even free-of-cost sports are organized daily to stimulate sports in this town. During the week, the people in this town are dedicated to work and study, but in the weekends they love to go out for a drink, karaoke and salsa dancing.