- Three SJO ¡Vive!, San José Lives, signs can be found throughout San José. In 2017, the new branding was created in hopes of the city becoming a tourist destination, rather than a stop along the way.
- A series of 6 iron dog sculptures are displayed in the center of San Jose bringing awareness to the high number of stray dogs in Costa Rica. The artist himself has adopted over 20 strays.
- The artist feels Costa Ricans and stray mutts have many similarities, both are of mixed origins, intelligent, hardy, and street smart.
- La Chola, created by Manuel Vargas, is a bronze statue to honor the Costa Rica mothers (pictured left).
- As part of a movement to create a more pedestrian friendly city in 2008, the Cow Parade was brought to San Josè. Over 100 artists were given the opportunity to decorate a glass, white cow that would be displayed in the city (pictured right).
- Near the center of San Jose, at Banco Central, stands a group of bronze statues. The Presentes, created by Fernando Calvo in 1982, represent the everyday people of Costa Rica. The statues are here, unmoving, regardless of what happens around them.
- Jose M Castro Madriz, served 2 terms as president of Costa Rica from 1847 to 1849 and 1866 to 1868.
- The Central Market, Mercado Central, takes up 1 city block. It is the largest market in San José and attracts more than 20,000 visitors each day.
- There are many stands selling fresh produce at the Mercado Central. Feeling adventurous, we purchase 3 pink, hairy Mamón Chinos, also known as Rambutan (pictured right). Peeling away the outside, a white fruit similar to a green grape surrounds a hard brown pit.
- Seafood and meat must be sold from glass, refrigerated cases to help control the amount of insects in the market.
- Weaving through the maze of narrow walkways, we enter a food court. After taking our breakfast orders of Gallo Pinto, the waitress clips the paper to a string. Using a pulley system, the order travels upstairs to the kitchen. Waiting for our food, tortillas, bags of rice, and other items are tossed between the restaurant and kitchen through a hole in the ceiling.
- Much more than produce and meats are for sale at the Mercado Central. Vendors sell shoes, backpacks, hats, traditional clothing, coffee, kitchen gadgets, and ceramic pots.
Streets Outside of the Mercado Central
- As we begin to wander farther from Central Avenue, a man leaning against a light post advises us to be careful with our belongings in this area. Grateful for the advice, we abruptly return to the more crowded area.
- In 2003 this bronze street sweeper statue was placed in Central Park to honor the city workers of San José.
Plaza de la Cultura
- In the 1970’s three architects worked to create a space locals could gather. Arriving at the grand stage in Plaza de la Cultura, preparation for a performance is underway. We watch 3 men jump off a platform onto a trampoline and gracefully bounce back up to the stage.
- Located in Plaza de la Cultura at the center of San José, the National Theatre is one of the most treasured historical buildings in Costa Rica. Construction began in 1891, initiated by coffee growers for a place to gather. The 3 statues on top of the building represent dance, music, and fame. Consuming food inside the theatre is forbidden. Guided tours are available Monday – Sunday 9:00am – 4:00pm.
In 4 hours we are able to see most of San José. We return to Hotel Casa Las Orquídeas, say goodbye to our G Adventures group, and begin the journey home.
Traveling Gingerbread Tip: Cost comparing with other group members, we learned taking an Uber from the airport was cheaper than a taxi.
* For more information on our tour check out: G Adventures Costa Rica on a Shoestring.