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 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.
Circulo de Arte Santos Catolicos (pictured right), San José
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.
Fresh produce for sale at the Mercado Central. Feeling adventurous, we purchase 3 pink, hairy Mam ón 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.
Cases filled with crumbled, shredded, sliced, and cubed white queso for sale at the Mercado Central.
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, our order is delivered upstairs to the kitchen. Waiting for our food, tortillas, bags of rice, and other items are tossed back and forth between the restaurant and kitchen through a hole in the ceiling.
The scent of fresh flowers fills the market as we encounter vendors selling freshly cut arrangements.
Dried herbs for medicinal purposes and cooking can be purchased in neat packages, dried bundles, or in bulk.
Much more than produce and meats are for sale at the Mercado Central. Vendors sell shoes, backpacks, hats, traditional Costa Rica clothing, coffee, kitchen gadgets, and ceramic pots.
There is even a pet store inside the Mercado Central where visitors can purchase rabbits, chickens, a variety of birds, and fish.
Streets Outside of the Mercado Central
Outside of the Mercado Central, vendors sell their produce along the street.
Vendors without a shop sell their produce in crates, buckets, pallets, or cardboard on the street.
Distracted by the colorful produce, I jump as I almost bump into a skinned pig being carried from the butcher shop to a nearby store.
Drawn by the smell of sweet bakery items, we order a couple of cream filled pastries.
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 pedestrian friendly area.
In 2003 this bronze street sweeper statue was placed in Central Park to honor the city workers of San José.
Joaquim José da Silva Xavier in Parque Central, 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 flip and jump off a platform onto a trampoline then gracefully bounce back up to the stage.
Located below the Plaza de la Cultura is San José’s gold museum, Museo de Oro Precolombino.
Located in Plaza de la Cultura at the center of San José, the 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. National Theatre
Boutique Hotel Casa Orquideas
In 4 hours we were 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
Day 1: Fly into San José
Day 2: San José travel to La Fortuna
Day 3: La Fortuna
Day 4: La Fortuna travel to Montezuma
Day 5: Montezuma
Day 6: Montezuma
Day 7: Montezuma travel to San José
Day 8: Fly out of San José