Not far from the city, and still in the province of San José, you can enjoy the following ecotouristic activities:
- hiking the Irazú volcano
- hiking the Braulio Carrillo National Park
- hiking the Poás Volcano National Park
- visit the waterfalls formed by river La Paz
- visit the butterfly observatory, next to the trail for the waterfalls.
Another activities implies going to the beaches, but all of them are not in the province of San José. I made an exception while making a tip on Manuel Antonio, because it is easy to go there from San José.
(More info on my Off the Beaten Path tips).
Santa Ana is the area where I was lodged during my trip. It was green all around! Next to my hotel (the Comfort Inn) there was a Pizza Hut and a Rostipollos (where I used to go all nights), and a free shuttle that used to take us in 3-5 minutes to Multiplaza Mall, in Escazú, next to Centro Empresarial Forum. Over there you could find anything for entertaining: cinemas, shops, restaurants, grocery stores ,etc.
Santa Ana is located near 30 minutes from downtown San José (by bus) or 15 by taxi (around 2500-3000 colones per ride)
Fondest memory: I miss the Rostipollos! :) Not only trying their Central American specialities, but also chatting with my bunch of friends around the table. Also miss the Multiplaza's cinema, where I came to see "The Crime of Father Amaro" with some friends.
This area of San Jose offers a lot of attractions. Among them, you can visit the following
- Museums: just around Avenida Central there are the Golden and Numismatic Museum, the National Museum, and the Filatelic Museum.
- Theathers: You can go to the National Theather (it presents several spectacles at night, during my visti there was a flamenco group making presentations in there) and the Melico Salazar Theater.
- the Cathedral (beautiful in the inside)
- Plaza de la Cultura
- Avenida Central (all types of commercial activity are found in here)
- Central Market (not far from Avenida Central, to buy souvenirs)
Fondest memory: My friends and I went to downtown during my last weekend there, and IT WAS HEAVILY RAINING! Although using my umbrella, I got completely wet, especially in the feet because I was wearing only sandals. But it was crazy fun, because I was with my bunch of great friends :-)
Fondest memory: Cars are not allowed to enter this area, it's a open-air mall of downtown San Jose indeed. You can find bookstore, department store, supermarket, fastfood (such like Taco Bell, Subway, BurgerKing, Pizza Hut, Pollo Campero and McDonald's) and boutiques.
In San Jose, the capital of Tiquicia, you can base yourself for the following things:
1) use it as a base to tour the Natural wonders (volcanoes, rainforests, beaches) of this beautiful country
2) spend a couple of days visiting the cultural sights (theater, museums, restaurants) the city has to offer.
Fondest memory: this is a picture of the water fountain on Avenida Central next to the Plaza de La Cultura.
do not walk in this area once it's dark and people have gone home, it's not safe!
The TEATRO NACIONAL, built in the 1890s, is architecturally impressive. It hosts plays, operas, ballets and performances by the National Symphony Orchestra. Also worth visiting is the MERCADO CENTRAL, which offers goods ranging from live turkeys to leatherwork and some of the cheapest meals in town.
Fondest memory: Personally, I enjoyed people-watching in the PARQUE CENTRAL that is just in front of LA CATEDRAL (along Avenida 2).... When the weather is fine, everyone goes there to socialize and take in the sunshine!
I would love to go back the the Arienal volcanoe..the volcanoes are the BEST...honestly everything about Costa Rica is great.
Fondest memory: well...I miss the people, they are so nice and friendly. i miss the way the air smells when you are at the beach or the mountains. I miss the way the food tastes, so natural and healthy, but most of all I miss my girlfriend.
There are some good restaurants and hotels, but not very much by the way of museums or art galleries. There is The National Museum, located in an old military fortress between Ave. Central and Ave. Segunda. You must also visit the National Theatre, which is probably the most beautiful building in the whole country.
Fondest memory: Some of the friendliest people in Latin America. The previous picture is of Parque Morazan and the 'Metal Building'. On the background is the Holiday Inn Hotel, with a casino on the top floor. I must confess, I had some luck there, and won some 'colones'! The picture below is of a shopping center south of the city. Very chic!
Fondest memory: Mauricio, one of the friendly staff of the Hemingway Inn, and he is a mix of kindness, friendliness and competence...
Favorite thing: Visit Manuel Antonio and the National Park there. I think the smallest park in CR - easy to get around, and lots of wildlife to see ... white faced and howler monkeys, sloths and ? more!