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  • Photos of San José (Downtown & East Side)
  • Map of San José (Downtown & East Side)
San José (Downtown & East Side)
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How to get there?
San Jose is located in the center of Costa Rica, in the Central Valley. It is surrounded by the Central Volcanic Mountain Range and goes from Curridabat to La Sabana.

The capital city of Costa Rica charms its visitors with all the interesting and historical places they can visit. This is the most populated area and it offers a great variety of attractions for everyone.

The city of San Jose is the capital of Costa Rica and also the header of the province of the same name. It was founded in 1736 and chosen as capital in may occasions. After the civil war of Ochomogo (1823-1834) and along a great commercial development, it was definitely named as capital city.

It had a constant development that was reflected in the building of theaters, banks, hotels and state buildings. By 1884, it was the third city that had electric lighting worldwide, after New York and Paris. Currently it has many interesting places.

In the very center of San Jose there’s a very particular place, the Mercado Central (Central Marketplace), where the colors and smells will set your imagination free. It opened its doors more than 130 years ago, and is the largest marketplace in Costa Rica. Every corner is used to display hundreds of different products, where you can also enjoy a good meal like a “casado”, a “gallo pinto” or homemade ice cream. This marketplace receives more than 50.000 people every day.

The boulevard of the Central Avenue was built as part of a project that tries to reduce the traffic in the center of San Jose. It extends for 12 blocks in an East-West direction. Recently it was complemented with the boulevard of the 4th Avenue, which has a similar length. This pedestrian passage allows you to discover hidden spots that attract more and more tourists from everywhere.

In the central area you can find beautiful and peaceful resting places, such as parks with plenty of trees, which are the real lungs of the city. 

These are the Parque Morazan, Parque Espańa, Parque Nacional and Parque de la Merced.

There is also the Parque del Este, where you can play some traditional games, take horseback rides or have lunch in the picnic areas. Another place is the Plaza Gonzalez Viquez, which has swimming pools for adults and children, tennis courts and playgrounds.

In La Sabana you can be part of different activities, from swimming in the pools, enjoying the lake view and fishing, to flying kites, jogging or working out. In this park you will find the Gimnasio Nacional and the Estadio Nacional, which recently opened.

There are also public spaces where you can relax and where cultural and artistic activities are frequently arranged, like the Plaza de la Cultura, Plaza de la Democracia, Plaza de las Garantias Sociales or the Templo de la Musica.

This city has beautiful buildings of different architectural styles, like the Teatro Nacional, the Teatro Melico Salazar, the Post Office Building, the Casa Amarilla (Chancery), the Castillo Moro, the Edificio Metalico and the Church of La Merced, built in the late XIX century and early XX century. It is a young city with buildings no more than 150 years old, which have been restored for their preservation.

The most important museums of Costa Rica are found here, such as the Museo Nacional, former Cuartel Bellavista and evidence of Costa Rica’s army, which existed until 1948. The Museo de los Nińos used to be the Central Correctional Center, and currently offers workshops, displays and preserves the military architecture of the time.

There are also the Museo de Oro Precolombino in the Central Avenue and the Museo de Jade; the Museo de Arte y Diseńo Contemporaneo, located in the former National Liquor Factory, next to the Biblioteca Nacional; and the Museo de Arte Costarricense, which was the country’s first airport, located in the Parque Metropolitano La Sabana. All of these buildings of great historical value have been restored and preserved.

Other interesting sites are the 5 catholic churches located in the center of San Jose, shaping a cross. The Catedral Metropolitana in the center, El Carmen towards the north, La Dolorosa in the south, La Soledad towards the east and La Merced towards the west. Other religions also have their temples in this city.

Here you can also find the three different State powers, as well as government institutions and ministries. This is the business center for the State banks, where you will find the buildings of the Banco Nacional, the tallest building in San Jose, and the Banco Central, which is located in the old artillery plaza. The other state and private banks have some main and branch offices close to these blocks.

You can purchase many different products in the stores located in the center of this town, from clothing for all ages, food and ornaments, to the latest technology and services. Thousands of citizens that go to work pass through these streets everyday.

Accommodations and gastronomy
In this zone of the country you can find a wide variety of hotels and restaurants. There are 5-star hotels of international hotel chains with amenities that adjust to the taste and budget of their guests. There are buildings of modern architecture, which have large swimming pools and spas. 

Other hotels are Victorian-style recreations of the mid XX century.

San Jose has many hostels and apartments that welcome backpackers from all over the world.

International dishes and typical Costa Rican meals are served along the main roads and malls of San Jose. You can find restaurants of Italian, Lebanese, Chinese, Thai, Japanese, French, Arabic and Hindu cuisines, among many others.

In the center of the capital you can find the traditional “sodas”, which are small restaurants ideal for having freshly prepared snacks like a cheese empanada (type of typical pastry) or a “casado” (rice, beans, ripe plantain, salad and meat) with a natural beverage.

Fast food chain restaurants have opened many places and can be found in different areas of San Jose, mostly in the shopping malls of this city.

 
 
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INBIOparque (Theme Parks, Zoos, Botanical Gardens, Butterfly Farms)
Santo Domingo de Heredia.

INBio is the National Biodiversity Institute of Costa Rica, a non-profit organization founded in 1989 dedicated to scientific research and (...)
 
 
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Barcelo San Jose Palacio Barcelo San Jose Palacio (Hotel)
San Jose

Our hotel holds the title of being classified as one of the best business hotels in the capital city. Besides, this prestigious and emblematic (...)
Parque del Lago Hotel Hotel Parque del Lago (Hotel)
Streets 40-42, Paseo Colon, San Jose.

Parque del Lago is a high-category business hotel located in San Jose downtown, very close to shopping malls, museums, theaters, restaurants, bars, (...)
Presidente Hotel Presidente Hotel (Hotel)
Avenue, Street 7, San Jose Downtown.

The Hotel Presidente is a 4 star hotel with 92 rooms located in the very center of San Jose, in the corner of the boulevard of the Central Avenue and (...)
 
 
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Where to go?
Braulio Carrillo National Park
It is part of the Central Volcanic Mountain Range and its conservation area. The Braulio Carrillo (...)
Irazu Volcano National Park
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Poas Volcano National Park
This park is one of the main attractions in Costa Rica due to its amazing and beautiful sceneries (...)
Post Office Building Historical sites
In 1914, the project was given to the English Construction Company for Ł27.114 for building (...)
Central Marketplace Historical sites
From Monday through Saturday, from 6:00am to 6:00pm, you can go over its narrow aisles, (...)
Metropolitan Cathedral Historical sites
It was built in order for San Jose to be declared as city by the Spanish Court. Its (...)
National Museum Museum
It also displays the natural wealth of the country and objects of historical importance. It is (...)
National Theater Historical sites
Before the National Theater opened, other private theaters already existed, but all of them (...)
Pre-Columbian Gold Museum Museum
Here you can appreciate one of the largest collections of pre-Columbian gold jewelry of (...)
Morazan Park Park
This is why in 1920 an investment was made for the construction of the Temple of Music, which (...)
Metallic Building Historical sites
It is located in one of the greenest areas of San Jose, in front of the Parque Morazan and (...)
Jade Museum Museum
This is the only jade museum of the pre-Columbian period found in Latin America, having the (...)
Children’s Museum Museum
This non-profit institution is managed by the “Ayudenos para Ayudar” Foundation (Help Us to (...)
Yellow House Historical sites
It was built for the headquarters of the first permanent international court of the world, the (...)
Contemporary Art and Design Museum Museum
The MADC has 5 exhibit rooms, a room-auditorium and the “Pila de la Melaza” (Molasses’s Stack) (...)
Legislative Assembly Historical sites
Twenty years later the construction continued and in 1958 the Assembly was established in the (...)
Church of La Merced Historical sites
You can visit this neo-gothic jewel at the beginning of the Second Avenue, in front of the San (...)
Central Bank Museums Museum
Under the Plaza de la Cultura (Plaza of Culture) you can find the Museums of the Central Bank, (...)
Calderon Guardia Museum Museum
His political and ideological position favored the most affected groups of the community and (...)
Cities
Alajuela
Alajuela is the second most important province of Costa Rica because
Barva – Birri
The city of Barva is one of the oldest cities in the history of Costa
Cartago
Cartago was the capital of Costa Rica in 1823. This city has many
Heredia
The city of Heredia is the header of the province of the same name
Perez Zeledon
The city of San Isidro del General is one of the most populated in
Poas
The zone of Poas extends through towns like San Pedro of Poas,
San José (Downtown & East Side)
The capital city of Costa Rica charms its visitors with all the
San José (West Side)
In the west section of San Jose, the capital, you can find the towns
Turrialba
Turrialba is a town located in a valley, surrounded by mountain
Valley of Orosi
The peaceful Valley of Orosi offers many natural and tourist
News
Puntarenas has new Balneary
Octuber 12, 2012

Infrastructure is one more tourism attraction in the province
58 artists will exhibit their photographs at the Expo Foto 2012
Octuber 11, 2012

Besides appreciating 130 photographs, the audience can participate in a commercial encounter and in seven conferences for a greater professional growth
Costa Rican theater celebrates during October
Octuber 09, 2012

At the VII National Theater Encounter there will be workshops and courses that bring the creators close to meditation for the improvement of their works and the promotion of artistic exchange
World Tourism Day recognized companies committed with sustainability
Octuber 08, 2012

59 hotels, 10 tour operators, 1 rent-a-car and 1 sustainable theme park received this year the Tourism Sustainability Certificate (CST)
“Pentadrama” is at the Teatro Vargas Calvo
Octuber 05, 2012

The play responds to several questions of the Costa Rican society of the early XXI century. The season ends on November 18th.
University Theater of the UCR returns with the play “Woyzeck”
Octuber 04, 2012

The play of the German playwright Georg Buchner tells the story of Franz Woyzeck, a private that is submitted by the army for different experiments. Enjoy this play until October 21st.
Calderon Guardia Museum exhibits “Images of the sky, the Earth and the unconscious”
Octuber 03, 2012

Luis Chacon presents the retrospective work of 45 years in the field: “A retrospective is like sharing your life’s album with the rest of the world”.
Al Andalus opens October’s season of Teatro al Mediodia
September 27, 2012

The show includes three choreographies in three different flamenco styles: Caracoles, Tiento and Seguiriya, an extract of the show “Estacion 20” of Al Andalus
CANATUR assigned new Executive Director and Sub-Director
September 26, 2012

They are the executives Sofia Elizondo Jimenez and Tatiana Cascante Rojas, who work to promote new projects in the tourism sector of the country
The volcanoes of the country weren’t affected by earthquake in Nicoya
September 25, 2012

Escape to the volcanoes of Costa Rica, where all you need is an adventurous spirit to discover their impressive natural landscapes