Tibás comes from an Indian word meaning "hot" or "beautiful river". The first settler in the canton came in the 16th Century and descendents of those original spanish settlers, Cristóbal Chaves, were still known to be living in the area. The city was established in 1835 as the nations´capital. The whole area is divided into lots to form a perfectly symmetrical and rectangular center.
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The canton forms a northern suburb of the national capital city of San José. It is triangular in shape, with the Río Virilla as its northern boundary. The Quebrada Rivera, a canyon, establishes the southwestern limit of the canton and also a portion of the southeastern boundary.
Tibás was meant to be the capital of the country, at least according to expresident Braulio Carrillo, this is the reason the town was originally designed with such a neat array of perfectly aligned blocks, cut by the streets running from North to South and the avenues from East to West.
Tibás includes both industrial and residential neighborhoods and is home of a popular football team in Costa Rica, Deportivo Saprissa and its stadium Estadio Ricardo Saprissa.