There are a lot of small parks scattered throughout the city. These are nice places to just sit back and relax, or to observe whatever event might be going on. Some of the things we saw in various parks were: concerts (variety of music too), dancing lessons, public board games (chess/checkers/etc), and people just hanging out.
Near the Catholic Cathedral is a small statue in memory of Anne Frank, very similar to the one in Amsterdam close to the Westerkerk and the Anne Frank House. I could not translate the plaque but it named Amsterdam at least....
On prominent display in the Plaza de la Cultura is this statue of Juan Mora Fernandez (1784-1854) an early leader of the Republic of Costa Rica.
In 1824, just three years after Costa Rica gained its independence from Spain, Juan Mora Fernandez became the first elected head of state. Fernandez is best remembered for his land reforms and liberal policies. He is also credited with inadvertently creating an elite class of powerful coffee barons.
After the destruction of many of San Jose’s building due to the 1888 earthquake, three experimental metal buildings were constructed in San Jose. This building, Edificio Metálico, was designed in France by Victor Baltard, architect of Les Halles. It was a pre-fabricated building manufactured out of iron in Amberes, Belgium, and shipped in pieces to Costa Rica. For many years, this was the biggest building in San Jose and has spent most of its time serving as a school.
Two museums are buried beneath the Plaza de la Cultura. This provides a suitable atmosphere for gold and rare coins. The Museo Numismatica, The Numismatics Museum, contains samples of Costa Rica’s money and coins from 1864 to the present. The Museo Oro Precolumbio, Pre-Columbian Gold Museum, contains the second largest collection in America of pre-Columbian (500 AD to 1500 AD) gold pieces (2000 pieces). As an added bonus, there is also an official Tourism Office (ICT). Open 9 am to 5 pm, Monday - Friday. Medium admission. No Photos allowed.
Built in 1887, Fuerte Bellevista, Fort with a Beautiful View, is now the National Museum. The museum has four sections: archaeological artifacts, gold figures and jewelry, colonial life artifacts, historic photos and implements. Bellevista fortress itself has historical significance in itself, once being the headquarters for the military and still pocked by bullet holes from the 1948 civil war. Open 8:30 am to 4:30 pm (Closed Monday). Medium admission.
In Nov./Dec. 2010 I have been at barkinghorsefarm in Puriscal, about an hours away by bus from San Jose, where they are offering horseback riding through the costarican mountains. We crossed rivers, discovered untouched, animal rich rainforests, took a break at waterfalls and enjoyed breathtaking views to the Pacific Ocean. The vacation has been a real adventure and a holiday to relax at the same time... sigh! :-) The farm even offers multiple day tours to the Pacific Ocean. I have been on a 3 day treking tour and was absolutely delighted!
Courses surrounded by lush rainforests, a passing macaw or monkeys watching you swing away is what makes golf in Costa Rica special. Explore the spectacular mountain views of the course in the San Jose area or enjoy the ocean views of Guanacaste and mid Pacific courses. These are the courses that you can enjoy in Costa Rica. We have separated them into three distinct areas:
San Jose Golf Courses
Valle del Sol
Located in the San Jose area, this 7,011 yard championship course offers ample and waved fairways surrounded by majestic trees and 15 large lakes which attract diversified and lively wild life. Type: Public Course. Reservations: Book online
Cariari Country Club Golf Course
Located in Cuidad Cariari community in the San Jose area, this 6.590 yard George Fazio championship course hosts many international tournaments and is a local favorite. Type: Private Course. Reservations: Call the Pro Shop at 2293-3211. Note: You must be a Ramada hotel guest or use Tee Times Costa Rica.
Los Reyes Golf Course
Located in La Guacima, this 5,834 yard Robertson Ward course has well maintained and attractive fairways, as well as well tended greens. Type: Semi-Private course. Reservations: Call Pro Shop at (506) 2438-0004
Located in the east side of San Jose, this 2,243 yard Douglas Beach par 3 course offers city views and a course that will test your mid to short game. Type: Private course. Reservations: Call Pro Shop at (506) 2273-8779
Costa Rica Country Club
Located in the Escazu area, this 6,031 yard Charles Donovan course offers tight fairways with rolling hills and excellent mountain views. Opened in 1940, this country club course is full of tradition. Type: Private course. Reservations:
Guanacaste Golf Courses
Reserva Conchal Golf Club
This Robert Trent Jones II course is located in Brasilito/Playa Conchal area. The Reserva Conchal Golf Club was the first Audubon-certified course in Costa Rica and is a great spot for your Guanacaste vacation. Type: Private Resort course. You need to be a Paradisus Conchal guest or Conchal condo rental Course Reservations: Call Pro Shop at (506) 2654-3030
Hacienda Pinilla Golf Course
Inside the Hacienda Pinilla resort near the town of Tamarindo, this course has beautiful ocean views and was designed to conform to the slopes and contours of the natural landscape of Hacienda Pinilla. This 7,300-yard, par 72 masterpiece golf course is the creation of Mike Young, who is responsible for some of the finest courses in the southern United States. Type: Resort Course. Reservations: Call Pro Shop at(506) 2680 3000 or reserve online
Four Seasons Costa Rica Golf Resort
This 6,788 yard Arnold Palmer championship course sits in the Papagayo Peninsula just minutes from Liberia International Airport. More than half of the holes offer spectacular views of the ocean. Type: Private Resort Course.Reservations: Call Pro Shop at (506) 2696-0000
Playa Herradura Golf Courses
Marriott Los Sueños Ocean & Golf Resort
Located inside the Los Sueños Marriott resort in Herradura/Jaco area, this Ted Robinson Jr course was landscaped to include exotic native plants, banana trees and orchids, more than 150 species of birds as well as monkeys and other wildlife that have been identified on the grounds. This challenging course blends into the mesmerizing scenery. Type: Resort Public Course. Reservations: Call Pro Shop at (506) 2630 9012 or reserve online
Los Delfines Golf Resort
Located in Tambor at the tip of the Nicoya Peninsula, this 6,264 yard course consists of nine intriguing holes that have an unbelievable setting, Costa Rica's tropical scenery. Type: Resort course. Reservations: Call the Pro Shop at (506) 2683-0294 or reserve online.
Costa Rica Golf Course Map
I see several tips suggesting to avoid San Jose, or only stay there as short a time as possible. But San Jose can be a great destination in itself between trips to the beaches or wilderness areas. It has great restaurants, bars and hotels, beautiful parks and many wonderful, friendly people.
You can get on a city bus route and ride the entire loop for less than a dollar. That's one good way to explore the city. Taxis are much cheaper than in most large cities.
Spend an hour or two on Avenida Central, dining or drinking in one of the little places with sidewalk tables adjacent to the pedestrian mall. And it's easy to catch an inter-city bus in the morning to visit other cities, like beautiful Cartago with its beautiful basilica and scenic ruins, and be back in San Jose in only a few yours. The most difficult part is determining where to catch buses bound for specific destinations, because there are several bus terminals, plus many places on the streets, as well as at the terminals, where the inter-city buses collect and drop off passengers.
A former factory that was converted to a new Center for Arts in San Jose. It includes an unimpressive, modern art museum (most of it was closed when I was there, hence my opinion) but the grounds are worth wandering.
This National Art Museum is housed in a former airport terminal. It has a nice outdoor setting. A sculpture garden can be visited at the back of this structure. The collection is small but quite interesting. It also includes some works by Costa Rica's well-known artists.
This park is next to the National Assembly, a modern but an unassuming building. It is the largest of the city's central parks. The park features a statute honoring the struggle against William Walker, an American Southern Confederate, who tried to establish an empire in Central America during the War of 1856.
Small museum next to the markets across from the run-down Plaza de Democracia.
Former Presidente of Costa Rica, Oscar Arias, earned Nobel Peace Prize in 1987. This is here, with some other awards he won, for trying to bring peace to the Central america countries.
Also big poster boards of the conflicts and fight for peace of the other countries of Central America. There are some on-line teaching interactive videos also. Open in the afternoon. Free.
Central San José is nothing like an old, colonial city with lots of old buildings and sleepy squares. The city is a modern, 21th century metropole the has wide avenues full of cars and high buildings with multinationals all around.
In the middle of this modern centre there is a nice area in which you can get a good view of the surroundings without having the danger of being hit by a car or faint because of too much exhaust gasses. In the area around Avenida Central, Parque Central and Plaza de la Cultura there is a large pedestrian area that is very nice to visit.
What can you expect here: shops, shops, shops and some fast food restaurants. That basically it. But especially around the main squares you can also see some of the remaining nice buildings in the city like the Catedral Metropolitana and especially the Teatro Nacional at the Plaza de la Cultura. The latter was built in 1897 and with its neoclassical facade it is a nice surprise in the concrete jungle of the capital.
And besides the nice buildings every now and then, and the trendy shops all around, there often are some small squares where you can sit down in the shade, and some small artisania-markets where you can shop for nice souvenirs in a good atmosphere.
One of the only things to do in San Jose by day is the walking tour. It takes about 1 hour and takes in a park, a market and a few churches.
Highlights include Parque Central and Plaza De La Cultura
Hardly breathtaking, but a nice enough stroll to pass a morning.
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