Valle Central (Costa Rica)

Valle Central (Costa Rica)

Tue, 07/05/2022 - 20:40
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Valle Central is a highland valley region in central Costa Rica that contains approximately 70% of the population and is home to the most important cities in the country. The region is divided into two parts by the Continental Divide and is surrounded by a series of hills and mountain ranges.

Valle Central

Valle Central, also called Meseta Central, is a highland valley region in central Costa Rica that contains approximately 70% of the population and is home to the most important cities in the country: San José, Heredia, Alajuela and Cartago.

In addition to hosting government offices and the main institutions of the country, Valle Central is also where several smaller towns are located, such as Grecia, Naranjo, Palmares, San Ramón, etc. The Pan-American Highway passes through the region.

Valle Central is divided into two parts by the Continental Divide represented by two volcanic hills that are situated 900 - 1,500 m (3,000 - 5,000 ft) above sea level and lie between the city of Cartago and the city of San José, Costa Rica's capital and most populous city.

The higher eastern part of the valley is drained by the Reventazón River to the Caribbean Sea while the western sector forms part of the basin of the Grande de Tárcoles River, which flows into the Pacific Ocean.

The valley is surrounded by a series of hills, mountains and mountain ranges. The western slopes of the Cordillera de Talamanca appear on the south side of the valley while the mountains north of the valley are part of the Cordillera Central.

Gradual weathering of volcanic material and basaltic lavas from the four volcanoes overlooking the valley from the Cordillera Central to the north provides the area with naturally rich soils.

Map of Costa Rica: the major cities of San José, Heredia, Alajuela and Cartago are located in the Valle Central

Map of Costa Rica: the major cities of San José, Heredia, Alajuela and Cartago are located in the Valle Central

Climate

Because of its altitude, temperatures in the Valle Central region vary between 15 and 30 °C (59 and 86 °F). The western part of the valley is influenced by trade winds in summer.

Wet and dry seasons are clearly defined however, the eastern part of the valley is influenced more by Caribbean conditions which are more volatile. Annual rainfall in the Valle Central region varies from 1,900 mm (75 in) in the urban areas to 3,200 mm (126 in) in the mountainous countryside.