It is true that Costa Rica is known for its extensive tropical forests, the uncountable wildlife, and the unbelievable views. But there is another side of Costa Rica that will fascinate you, and that is the beautiful capital.
And even though there are not many people talking about it, San José is a new world of wonders and beauties that show that the capital of Costa Rica has a lot to offer.
San Jose offers many attractions. While walking through its streets, you will find beautiful and colourful buildings with unique architecture.
There are buildings which are older than 100 years, for example, the building of Correos de Costa Rica (post office), about 300 meters from the Central Park, the majestic National Theater which is still used for concerts and cultural activities, or the antique National Liquor Factory (FANAL), which is now dedicated to the arts and cultures of the country.
You can also admire the culture of the town, from Marimba groups playing at the boulevards and filling the streets with the typical music of Costa Rica; stands from sellers of “Chances” (national lottery) shouting the numbers of luck, or children playing in the parks.
On the other side, you will find the true essence of the culture of the country at the Central Market, where you can try the typical Costa Rican gastronomy for a small price. A tortilla with cheese, pinto (typical breakfast of rice and beans) with egg, a Casado (typical dish for lunch and dinner), "Olla de Carne" or many other options to choose from, which will fascinate you.
The stands or stores inside the market will also show you a part of being Costa Rican since many of them count with handmade things of every kind, footwear, clothes, vessels, key chains, and many more handmade things, which are made of traditional materials. You can also find flowers, natural medicine, butchers, cafeterias and much more.
As you have already noticed, the Ticos have an exquisite taste for good food, and San José is the perfect place to experiment a little bit of this local gastronomical universe. If you want to stay in the capital, you should visit Barrio Escalante, where you can find the biggest restaurant offer in the whole country, and that in just some streets. Here you can find restaurants with great chefs to “ventanitas” of fast food and cafeterias. And everything without leaving the cultural touch of our earth aside.
At the parks of the capital, you can find a little piece of the nature of the country, since there are many species of trees and plants which give these places a beautiful natural ambient. Furthermore, the sculptures at every park and plaza invite you to learn a little bit about our history.
San José is a safe place to walk and enjoy, the people are very calm and humble, which guarantees a friendly environment surrounded by nice people. Obviously and like in every place, you should not expose yourself too much, always take care of your belongings and don’t leave them unattended (You can read more safety advice in this blog).
When you are walking through the streets of San José, you will definitely see many police officers, since the “Fuerza Pública de Costa Rica” (Police), as well as the local police of San José, work day by day for the safety in this beautiful city.
Also, there are many activities and places to visit around the capital, for example, the Poás Volcano, La Paz Waterfall Gardens, the Irazú Volcano, the Prusia Forest, the Lankester Botanical Garden, do a coffee or city tour or any other activities which you can find on our map.
I recommend you to stay one or two days in San José before travelling the rest of the country because besides getting to know an important part of the Costa Rican culture, you can visit many attractions close to the Central Valley and you will surely see, that Costa Rica is more than nature, beaches, and wildlife. So now you know, and you don’t have an excuse to not enjoy the city when you come here. I hope your experience in San José will be as great as I expect it to be.
Apdo 799 – 1007
San José, Costa Rica
Licenced by the Costa Rican Tourist Board: Lic ICT OT 294
Liability insurance: Instituto Costarricense de Seguros (INS) Coverage: Territory of the Republic of Costa Rica