Fun things to do in San José

  • inside view
    inside view
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  • creche in front yard
    creche in front yard
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  • Teatro Nacional
    Teatro Nacional
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Most Viewed Things to Do in San José

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    San Jose Zoo

    by Josilver Written Jun 1, 2007

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    This proabably the saddest zoo I have ever been to, The enclosures are tiny and not so clean and the animals look really realy bored, I dont know whether you should boycott the place in protest or go in the hope that the more people who support it the better the facilities will become.

    Cost 1200 colones, about $2.50US, it will only take about an hour to get around the whole place.

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    Fort Bellavista

    by Stephen-KarenConn Updated Apr 15, 2007

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    Visitors to the National Museum get a double treat because the museum is housed in the former Army headquarters of Costa Rica, Fort Bellavista. Bellavista means "Beautiful View," and the view from the fort overlooking the city is beautiful indeed. My opening photographs for this San Jose page were taken from there.

    As you approach the old fort you will notice that the sides are riddled with bullet holes, put there by those who wanted to overthrow the government during the revolution of 1948 and before. In front of the fort and in the courtyard you will see old cannons.

    After the civil war, on December 1, 1948, President José Figueres Ferrer abolished the Costa Rican army. In a ceremony here at the Fort Bellavista, Figueres broke a wall with a mallet symbolizing the end of Costa Rica's military spirit.

    The national budget previously used to support the military is now dedicated to security, education and culture; the country maintains Police Guard forces. Since 1986, Costa Rica has celebrated Día de la Abolición del Ejército (Military abolition day), every year on Dec. 15. Unlike its neighbors, Costa Rica has not endured a civil war and has been the most peaceful country in all of Central America for more than half a century.

    Cannons at the Old Fort Old Fort Bellavista Old Fort Bellavista A View of Fort Bellavista
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    Fuente de la Hispanidad

    by Stephen-KarenConn Updated Apr 15, 2007

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    Heading east on Avenida Central from central San José through Los Yoses, we passed a busy traffic circle with a huge fountain - the Fuente de la Hispanidad (Fountain of the Spanish Speaking World). This local landmark is hard to miss if you are passing through the area.

    Another fountain by the same name, but with a very different design, can be found in Zaragozo, Spain.

    Fuente de la Hispanidad

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    Mayan Teeth

    by easterntrekker Written Feb 28, 2007

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    Maybe because I had just had a dental makeover but this really caught my eye when I visited the Jade Museum . There are ceramices and bone depicting the mayans teeth . As prove of bravery and their rank they would serrate their teeth and have jade jewels inserted....

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  • Canopy Tour

    by Bartle16 Written Nov 13, 2006

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    If you travel to Costa Rica, I strongly advise you to participate in any Canopy Tour, especially in Monteverde. It is extremely entertaining and well worth the cost. If you cannot stand extreme sports, or you get motion sickness easily....beware. It is only a zip-line, but can get you sick. Otherwise, go for it! It will be an awesome addition to your trip.

    random pic

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    Parque Central – Main Square

    by penumbra Written Oct 3, 2006

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    The citiy’s main oldest park is fenced by palm trees and has a fountain, concrete benches and a central pavilion. Public concerts are offered on most Sunday mornings. Taxis queue up along the north, east and south sides of the park.

    Parque Central Pavillion Parque Central Pavillion
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    Museo de los Niños – Children’s Museum

    by penumbra Written Oct 2, 2006

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    Built in 1848, Antigua Penetenciaría, The Old Prison, was converted to a children’s science museum in 1994. There are 34 rooms each with different theme, hands-on interactive exhibits and activities. Exhibits include astronomy, planet earth, Costa Rica, ecology, science, human beings, and communications. Open 10 am – 4pm. Small admission.

    Museo de los Ni��os Museo de los Ni��os, Calle 4
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    Gran Hotel

    by penumbra Written Oct 2, 2006

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    Impossible to miss, the Gran Hotel is central to the downtown San Jose experience. With its own Plaza de Juan Mora Fernandez, the hotel offers a wonderful meeting point or rest stop. The plaza is great for people watching and should it rain you can retreat to the archways for cover. Try the café or restaurant or casino.

    Plaza de Juan Mora Fernandez at the Gran Hotel
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    Casinos

    by penumbra Updated Oct 2, 2006

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    Costa Rica has legal gambling establishments, many of them in San Jose. None of them are very large or glamorous (compared to Las Vegas or even Atlantic City) but they do offer entertainment for those who like to wager. Most clubs only have 10–20 tables and 100-200 slot machines. The tables play Caribbean stud poker, mini baccarat, blackjack, canasta, roulette and craps. Only a couple of the casinos offer sports books or simulcast horse racing. A couple of the well known casinos like Club Colonial, Horseshoe, Del Rey and Morazon, are grouped together along Avenida 1 between Calle 7 y 11. For a bit more upscale atmosphere, consider the casinos at the Gran Hotel and the top of the Holiday Inn .


    Gambling problem? Please contact Gamblers Anonymous ®.

    Club Colonial at Avenida 1 - Calle 11 Horseshoe at Avenida 1 - Calle 9
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    Casa Amarillo - House of Yellow

    by penumbra Written Oct 2, 2006

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    Built in 1907, destroyed by an earthquake and rebuilt in 1916, this mansion houses the Ministerio de Relaciones Extriores y Culto, Costa Rica’s Foreign Ministry. In front is a huge La Ceiba tree that was planted in 1963 during Central America president’s summit (attended by President John F. Kennedy). The interior is also yellow with many mirrors and dark wooden furniture.

    Casa Amarillo from Avenida 7 Casa Amarillo from Avenida 7
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    Asamblea Legislativa - Legislative Assembly

    by penumbra Written Oct 2, 2006

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    On the east end of Avenida Central, across from the National Museum, are a couple of buildings that make up the legislative assembly for Costa Rica. The eastern most, Castillo Azul, Blue Castle, was built in 1911 by presidential candidate Maximo Fernandez. When he lost in 1914, he lent his home to President elect Alfredo Gonzalez Flores. If you see police barricades surrounding the building you probably shouldn’t tarry as this is usually an indication that a street demonstration is headed in your general direction.

    Asamblea Legislativa from Avenida Central Castillo Azul from Calle 17 Castillo Azul from Avenida Central
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    Cemeterios

    by penumbra Written Sep 1, 2006

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    There are two old cemeteries in Barrio San Bosco on the south side of Avenida 10. Cemeterio General, Calles 22-28, contains mausoleums and graves with sculptures of many Costa Rican artists, writers, politicians and coffee barons. Foreigners’ Cemetery, Calles 18-20, has railway workers and immigrants from Europe, North America and Arabia dating back to the mid-1800’s.

    Cemeterio General Cemeterio General
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    The Interamerican Court of Human Rights

    by Kindra Written Aug 22, 2006

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    This is an important landmark in the Los Yoses neighbourhood (just south of the San Pedro Mall) of San Jose and an important institution not only for Costa Rica but the Americas.

    The American Convention of Human Rights helped to establish the Interamerican system of Human Rights which includes a vast number of declarations and conventions signed and ratified by OAS member states in the Americas and which established institutions to which individuals, states and organizations can appeal their enquiries and complaints regarding violations of the human rights mechanisms: the Interamerican Commission of Human Rights (in Washington, D.C.) and the Interamerican Court of Human Rights.

    Tours are not generally offered at the Court but they occasionally do have open hearings where the public has the opportunity to view a hearing and to learn more about how the system operates. The Court accepts a decent number (up to 20 or more during the summer) of interns (law students or trained lawyers) to work at the Court for 3-6 months and several organizations, including my host organization CEJIL, centre much of their work on the functioning of the Court.

    Interamerican Court Interamerican Court- like a small White House

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    Relax in the downtown Plaza

    by Kindra Written Aug 22, 2006

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    This large plaza is downtown parallel to Paseo Colon where you will find many shops and restaurants and is just northeast of the Teatro Nacional. Ticos of all kinds flock to this plaza on weekends to people watch, eat snacks and sip refreshing drinks and take respite from the otherwise noisy and busy city.

    Main Plaza downtown

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    Enjoy downtown architecture, stroll the streets

    by Kindra Written Aug 22, 2006

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    Do be vigilant when walking through the San Jose streets and try not to wander off from the many areas where you will find the National Museum, street market, Jade Museum, Morazan and Espana Parks and the various shops and galleries close to the downtown Plaza and Teatro Nacional. Robberies are still common so be conspicuous with your camera and don't carry too much money on you.

    Nevertheless a day downtown San Jose will allow for some shopping, sightseeing of the more colonial architecture, resting in the various green parks and sampling some of the tastes of typical Costa Rican snacks.

    Old cinema, downtown San Jose Architecture across from Parque Morazan Downtown San Jose Walkway near Museo Nacional

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