Heredia History

Heredia Costa Rica has rich history

Different areas in the Central Valley of Costa Rica began to be colonized within less than a decade after the founding of the Spanish settlement in what used to be called the Valley of Cartago. Included in all of these areas and one of the first of them to be colonized was the village formerly called Barva, which now is less than three kilometers north of what is now officially the city of Heredia.

The development of communities around towns being conformed during old colonial times had some pretty specific rules with relevant criteria and one of them was definitely the edification of churches so that the people could comply with their religious beliefs and obligations, such as ceremonies that included weddings, funerals and baptisms; in modern times, soccer fields have seemed to replace this tradition.

Lagunilla in Heredia, near the town of Barreal, had the honor of having the first parish church built in the region, around 1706, but in 1717 they decided to move this temple several kilometers away, to the north, at the place that would become and now is the city of Heredia. The legend says that houses in the outskirts of this site were even burned, this with the objective of having people move closer to the center of the new and developing town.

The name Heredia was not always the official name of this city, as it was formerly called throughout the colonial period as Villa Vieja or Cubujuquí. The actual name comes in honor of the man who fought for obtaining, and actually did; the title of “villa” or village for the newly formed settlement and his name was Gonzalo Fernandez de Heredia. The church that is still erected in present day in the center of this town is by far one of the oldest in Costa Rica, which dates back to 1797.

The fertile land that lives in the southern slopes of the now inactive Barva Volcano where perfect for the population of coffee plantations and they were when this crop was introduced in this tropical country. The seriously rainy and steep northern slope was actually populated not until recent years.

The first few settlers who moved to this region of Heredia found the Sarapiquí River, navigable upstream from the San Juan River as far inland as Puerto Viejo of Sarapiquí, to be the most important transportation route.

Now Heredia is a developed city like any other, but its history is rich and typical of a colonized village during the Spanish settlement, but is culture lives on and the people are really proud of it.