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The colonial Catedral de la Inmaculada Concepción ★ (Church of the Immaculate Conception; (tel) 2237-0779), inaugurated in 1763, stands guard over Heredia’s central park—and the stone facade leaves no questions as to the age of the church. The altar inside is decorated with neon stars and a crescent moon surrounding a statue of the Virgin Mary.

In the middle of the palm-shaded central park is a large gazebo, El Templo de la Música (The Music Temple) ★, where live music is often performed. Across the street, beside several municipal buildings with red tile roofs, is El Fortín ★, the tower of an old Spanish fort.

Anyone with an interest in medicinal herbs should visit the Ark Herb Farm ★★ ((tel) 6253-7655 or 2269-9683; www.arkherbfarm.com). It offers guided tours of its gardens, which feature more than 300 types of medicinal plants, as well as a beekeeping operation. The tour costs $40 per person and includes light refreshments. Reservations are required.

Chocolate lovers will want to visit Sibu Chocolates ★★★ ((tel) 2268-1335; www.sibuchocolate.com). This gourmet organic chocolate maker has a small cafe and gift shop, and it offers tours of its production facility, open Tuesday through Saturday from 8am to 5pm. The tasting tours are offered on these days at 10:30am. Reservations are essential, and the tour costs $26. The tour includes an informative presentation about the history and techniques of chocolate making, as well as several tempting tastings.

While on the road to Barva, you’ll find the small Museo de Cultura Popular ★ ((tel) 2260-1619; www.museo.una.ac.cr), which is open Sunday from 10am to 5pm; admission is C500.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.