Most tropical adventurers bypass the hustle and bustle of nearby capital cities. They head directly to their destination without any thought of checking out local culture and history. If you’re planning a trip to Costa Rica, consider walking around San José and exploring one or more of its national landmarks. The Juan Santamaria International Airport is less than 30 minutes from downtown San Jose.
Don’t be surprised to find crowded streets and sidewalks. Over 50% of Costa Rica’s population resides in this metro area. If you’d prefer to walk without rain gear, avoid the wettest months–May, September, October, and November. Due to its elevation, San Jose usually remains within the comfortable zone of 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
The city is easy to navigate due to its grid pattern. Avenues (avenidas) run east and west while streets (calles) go north and south. Visitors will enjoy strolling along the pedestrian mall that is located between Calle 6 and Calle 9. Vendors set up their stations early in the morning. By mid afternoon, the area is crowded with visitors and shoppers.
One can either walk around or opt for a city tour that is filled with a myriad of details. City parks are plentiful. Each can be enjoyed for its esthetic beauty or its historical significance. Rain or shine, visitors can visit the Teatro Nacional (National Theatre), Museo de Oro Precolombino (Gold Museum), Museo del Jade (The Jade Museum), Museo Nacional de Costa Rica (National Museum), or Museo de los Niños (the Children’s Museum).
The National Theatre is a must see for anyone who enjoys 19th century European culture. The Gold Museum showcases Costa Rica’s cultural heritage. The National Museum is located in a former army garrison and is known for its historical, anthropological, and archeological collections. The Jade Museum will appeal to anyone who wants to know more about this precious stone. Anyone traveling with kids can flock to Central America’s first children’s interactive museum.
The slideshow showcases a cross section of San José landmarks. Take a look and consider discovering San José before you head out on your Costa Rica adventure
Before You Go
Travelers should obtain a map of San Jose and decide whether it’s best to explore independently or arrange a group/private tour. Take time to locate museums, notable buildings, city parks and possible places to eat. One last thing, remember to confirm opening and closing times and admission fees.
Don’t forget to bring a hat and sunglasses and to also wear comfy shoes. Bottled water and a camera are also highly recommended.
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