The first settlers arrived in 1650 and the first chapel was built of adobe in 1835. The present church was declared a national sanctuary in 1907. There are two versions as to the origin of the name. One is that it came from the name of the Alajuelita River which gots its name from the fact that the riverbed is covered in a stone called "laja" (shoal). The other version is that most of the first inhabitants came from Lajuela (modern Alajuela). The capital of the cantón Vasquez de Coronado is called San Isidro.
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