Barva, about two kilometers north of Heredia  amid coffee fields, is one of the oldest settlements in the country. The Basílica de Barva, which dates back to 1767, features a grotto (on its northeast corner) dedicated to the Virgin of Lourdes. The exquisite church faces a square full of contemporary sculptures and surrounded by red-tiled colonial-era adobe houses.
The Museum of Popular Culture (tel. 506/2260-1619, 8 a.m.–4 p.m. Mon.–Fri., 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Sun., Sat. by appointment, $1), signed 1.5 kilometers southeast of Barva, at Santa Lucía de Barva, presents a picture of rural life at the turn of the 20th century. It is housed in a renovated adobe home dating from 1885 and once owned by former president Alfredo González Flores; the house has been kept as it was when he died. It has exhibits on traditional Costa Rican architecture through the ages. Guided tours are offered for groups only. Sunday is family day, with clowns and shows for children.
Worth a visit, too, is the mask-making studio of Francisco Montero (tel. 506/2237-5426, by appointment). Barva is famous as a center huge máscaras.