San Rafael is the number 5 canton of the province of Heredia, Costa Rica. It belongs to the Greater Metropolitan Area and it is estimated that the districts of San Rafael, San Josecito and Santiago cover the housing area in its entire territory. It is located northeast of the city of Heredia, on the slopes of the Barva volcano, in the Central Volcanic mountain range. It limits to the north with the district of Varablanca de Heredia, to the west with Heredia and Barva, to the south with San Pablo and to the east with San Isidro. Its surface covers 48.39 km² and is divided into 5 districts. It was founded on May 28,1885. Its head is the city of San Rafael.
According to the 2011 National Census, the population of the canton was 45,965 inhabitants, of which, 8.1% was born abroad. The same census highlights that there were 12,957 occupied homes, of which 74.1% were in good condition and there were problems of overcrowding in 3.1% of the homes.90.3% of its inhabitants lived in urban areas. Among other data, the literacy level of the canton is 98.7%, with an average schooling of 9.8 years. The same census details that the economically active population is distributed as follows: Primary Sector: 2.5%. Secondary Sector: 21.6%. Tertiary Sector: 75.9% For the year 2012 it had a high rate of human development according to the United Nations Development Program. The economy of the canton is based on trade and services. The main agricultural activities are coffee, vegetables and sugarcane crops and milk cattle.
The canton has several important tourist places, such as Monte de la Cruz, Bosque de la Hoja or Las Chorreras. The population of San Rafael was born as an extension of the city of Heredia. Today is a town with constant traffic of vehicles to private clubs, restaurants, cabins, and hotels. San Rafael has a clinic of the same name, as well as a hydroelectric plant called La Joya. To the north of this region is partially located the Central Volcanic Mountain Forest Reserve and the Braulio Carrillo National Park. The Church of San Rafael, located in the district of the same name, is a neo-Gothic building that has been declared a historical-architectural heritage of Costa Rica.