Fodor's Expert Review Barva de Heredia
About 3 km (2 miles) due north of Heredia, this colonial town is famous for mask making and for its Parque Central, still with the original adobe buildings with Spanish-tile roofs on three sides, and a white-stucco church to the east. The park is filled with whimsical sculptures, including a park bench shaped like an entire seated family, and bizarre masks and clown's heads decorating garbage receptacles. An amphitheater and stage stand ready for the annual mask festival held every August. (A less pleasant part of the August festival is the tradition of smacking one's fellow townspeople with cow or pig bladders—perhaps not a good time to visit.) The stout, handsome church with terra-cotta bas-relief flourishes dates from the late 18th century and has a lovely grotto shrine to the Virgin Mary in the church garden. On a clear day you can see verdant Volcán Barva towering to the north.