Football (fútbol) is big in Costa Rica, even more so since their near-qualification for the 2010 World Cup (they lost in a play-off to eventual semi-finalists Uruguay), and Alajuela is home to one of most historic teams in the country: Liga Deportivo Alajuelense (t2443-1617,, who ply their trade at the impressive 18,000-seater Estadio Alejandro Morera Soto, northeast of the centre on C 9, Av 9. One of the original founders of the national league in 1921, LDA have won the Primera División 24 times but have lost out in recent seasons to Deportivo Saprissa, their great rivals from San José – derbies between the two teams, known as the Clasíco de Costa Rica, can be fiery affairs, and are certainly worth catching if you can.

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