San José Off The Beaten Path

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    Yellow flower
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    Butterfly
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    Hummingbird feeder
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Best Rated Off The Beaten Path in San José

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    Poás Volcano National Park

    by besbel Updated Mar 5, 2003

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    This area is a must for two reasons:
    - you can visit the crater of the Poás volcano (around 2700 m. over sea level) which is the second largest accesible crater in the world. The volcano is still active, but it is safe though, considering that its activity consists on, eventually, throw out steam and stone, but not lava.
    My big frustration: the day I went to the Poás... it was cloudy!! That means that I could neither observe the turqoise lagoon in the crater nor take a picture of it :-( That's why I had to conform myself with the pic of the board of explanation of the crater, next to it.
    - you can observe the rich flora and fauna of the national reserve, which conserves 79 types of exotic birds, as hummingbirds and quetzals, as well as other animals like coyotes and the green-yellow squirrell, this last one only found in this park. You could also enjoy the different types of forests that it conserves.

    Board of Explanation next to Crater Po��s Volcano
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    • Hiking and Walking
    • National/State Park

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    River La Paz Waterfalls

    by besbel Updated May 24, 2003

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    Located one-hour far from San José, river La Paz forms five amazing waterfalls. Templo, Magia Blanca, Encantada, Escondida and La Paz.
    You can visit them by contacting La Paz Waterfall Gardens, which offers a trail to see all or some of them, it's your choice. The entrance fee for adults are US$24.

    Magia Blanca Waterfall (close approach)
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    • Hiking and Walking
    • Road Trip
    • Eco-Tourism

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    Braulio Carrillo National Park

    by besbel Updated Mar 2, 2003

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    The Braulio Carrillo reserve, outside San José, is in most parts unexplored. If going with a tour guide, you can reach just a little extension of the park and will be offered the oportunity to take pics in just one spot :-(. If you go by trail, however, the hike is really worth it! The park contains more than 6000 types of plants and 333 species of birds. You can visit the reserve either by road or by plane.

    Braulio Carrillo National Park
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    • Hiking and Walking
    • National/State Park

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    Manuel Antonio National Park

    by besbel Updated Mar 2, 2003

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    While Poás and Braulio Carrillo National Parks are 25-30 kms away from San José, Manuel Antonio is a lot further than that! Located in the Pacific coast of Costa Rica (while San José is in the mountain region), this park is the smallest in the country, but owns not only a considerable amount of wild animals (alligators, brown pelicans, eagles, chachalacas and others) and vegetation, but also the most beautiful beach on Earth, where you can either bath or practice kayak (they rent the equipment in the very beach, 1500 colones per hour).
    You can go to Manuel Antonio by taking the bus at La Coca Cola station in San José (around 1500 colones rountrip, 4 hours per ride) or by plane (20-30 minutes the flight). The destiny should be the little town of Quepos, where you can lodge for US$10-15 per night.

    Beach, Manuel Antonio National Park
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    • Kayaking
    • National/State Park
    • Hiking and Walking

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    Butterfly Observatory

    by besbel Written Mar 2, 2003

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    This amazing butterfly observatory is also located inside the La Paz Waterfall Gardens. It consists on:
    - a laboratory where butterflies are not only classified, but also controlled from their process of birth till they become adults. There's also a sort of museum where you can observe the types of butterflies that the area has.
    - a closed area outside the laboratory where butterflies are free to fly and visitors can observe them.
    - gorgeous hummingbird gardens where flowers, especially orchids, are grown in order to supply the hummingbirds what they need to live. There are around 16 types of hummingbirds in this area, which are also feed with a preparation of smashed bananas.

    Butterfly Observatory - La Paz Waterfall Gardens
    Related to:
    • Eco-Tourism

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    River Sarapiquí

    by besbel Updated Mar 2, 2003

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    I would also recommend a tour by boat in river Sarapiquí, where you can observe some of the fauna of the place, like howler monkeys, crocodriles, caymans and toucans, among others. However, in order to preserve the calm of the place to not to disturb the animals, the tour is short and the most silent possible. There are several tour packages that includes this activitiy with the visit to the Poás volcano and the waterfalls, but if you prefer you can reach this place by bus or car.
    There is also the possibility to do rafting in other areas of this river (see adventure sports tips).

    River Sarapiqu��
    Related to:
    • Sailing and Boating
    • Eco-Tourism

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    Church of La Merced

    by penumbra Written Oct 2, 2006

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    Originally constructed in 1909, the church of La Merced is currently being restored. This is the oldest church in San Jose and is noted for its sculpted wooden ceiling, slender spires and arched windows.

    Address: Avenida 2-4 - Calle 12

    La Merced, Avenida 4 - Calle 12 La Merced, Avenida 2 - Calle 12
    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Historical Travel

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    Soda-not the one you drink the place where you eat

    by ericdharma Updated Jan 14, 2007

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    All throughout Costa Rica you will see small beat, run down looking local restaurants with a sign outside that says "SODA". They are not advertising that they sell soda. (provided you are from a place in the US that says soda and not "pop"). This is the local name given to these small budget, usually family owned, restaurants. You will be inclined to avoid them initially because of there dingy, non-tourist friendly surface aspects. They are designed for locals on a budget and dining at one will not only give you an idea about what a typical Tico eats for breakfast but it will also give you a glimpse into the actual economy of Costa Rica (as opposed to the tourist economy that is reserved for you). The food is surprisingly good at most and the portions are enormous. They usually have eggs, gallo pinto or arroz y frijoles (black beans and rice sometimes with other ingredients as well) , two or three types of sausages, ham, platanos (fried plantains), and pastries ( doughnuts, cakes, and brownies). They will have a series of pre-arranged combo plates that are really cheap (usually about 2-5US) and including these mixed fruit drinks that Ticos love. You can customize you platter by substituting items or adding and subtracting dishes as you see fit. I ate at these places almost everyday and never got sick and was able to fill up and save a lot of money this way. They are also great for people watching.

    Related to:
    • Study Abroad
    • Backpacking
    • Budget Travel

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    San Pedro neighborhood

    by Tom_In_Madison Written Nov 20, 2008

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    It’s about a 30 minute walk here(beware of the big roundabout), or a short cab ride. There’s the university and some shopping and it’s like being in another San Jose, but more modern. The main street leading to the University has many shops and things, most directed towards students, including some cheap good food.

    University building

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    Plaza de la Democracia - Square of Democracy

    by penumbra Written Oct 3, 2006

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    An unattractive square made up mostly of concrete and very little greenery. Rising above to the east is the fort containing the National Museum. On the west side is a bronze statue of Don Figueres commemorating 100 years of democracy in Costa Rica. Also on the west side is a daily flea market.

    Address: Avenidas Central-2 - Calle 13-15

    Plaza with Fuerte Bellevista in the background Plaza with Flea Market in background Plaza with Fuerte Bellevista in the background
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    Building of CAJA

    by penumbra Written Oct 2, 2006

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    The eye is drawn to one of the few sky scrapers in the downtown area, but in this case not necessarily for its beauty. This is the headquarters for Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social, also known as CAJA or CCSS. These are the people who look after the hospitals and clinics in Costa Rica. It is also the home of the Costa Rica Tourist Ministry (ICT). Beside the buildings is the Plaza de Guarantees Sociales. Covering the entire block, the square is mostly paved with some lawn and trees.

    Address: Avenida 4 – Calles 5 y 7

    CAJA from Calle 7 CAJA from de Presidente CAJA from Calle 4
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    • Architecture

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    Church of El Carmen

    by penumbra Written Oct 2, 2006

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    The original church was built on this site in 1841. When Costs Rica was experiencing a cholera epidemic in the 1860’s the people promised to carry a statuette of Black Christ if they were but spared. The church still holds the mahogany statuette and it is carried in a parade on the last Sunday of August.

    Address: Avenida Central - Calle 3

    Church of El Carmen
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    Braulio Carrillo National Park

    by Stephen-KarenConn Updated Apr 16, 2007

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    It proportion to it's territory, Costa Rica has more of its land in National Parks than any other country in the world. On our trip to San Jose from Puerto Limon we passed through the Braulio Carrillo National Park which is only 20 killometers northeast of the Costa Rican Capitol.

    Although the limited time of our tour did not allow us to stop and explore the park, it was still very interesting to at least get a passing glimpse of the lush green volcanic mountains, laced with rivers and streams. The fact that our tour guide was a retired National Park Ranger was a bonus because he shared many stories as only someone intimately involved with the park service could do.

    One of our best views of the Braulio Carrillo National Park was that of the Rio Sucio, literally translated as "Dirty River." However, we were informed that the water is actually very clean. The yellow color is caused by sulfur from the volcanos within the park and not from mud or pollution.

    Rio Sucio in Braulio Carrillo National Park Rio Sucio in Braulio Carrillo National Park Braulio Carrillo National Park
    Related to:
    • National/State Park

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    Church of La Soledad

    by penumbra Written Oct 2, 2006

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    This church dates to 1909 and has stained glass windows shipped from Switzerland. Statuettes adorn the niches of both matching towers. The bells and organ date from the early 1900’s.

    Address: Avenida 4 - Calle 9

    La Soledad, Calle 9 La Soledad, Calle 9
    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Architecture

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    Grecia

    by grets Written Aug 20, 2004

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    Grecia is situated in an agricultural area, where mainly sugar cane and pineapple are grown.

    Grecia was once voted the cleanest little town in Latin America.

    It's red town centre church is constructed from metal.

    Metal church
    Related to:
    • Architecture

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