Welcome to San José
Welcome to San José- the city of Volcanoes
San José, the capital of Costa Rica, is one of the youngest capital cities in Latin America by year of conception. Its population comprises approximately half of the whole country of Costa Rica. The local people of the city address men as `ticos` and women as `ticas`. San José is a city with many interesting environmental phenomena, home to spectacular volcanoes and beautiful landscapes set in the heart of a tropical rainforest.
Information and Facts
Food in San José is tasty and simple with restaurants and cafes scattered throughout the city allowing for easy access. The restaurants, which serve traditional food at affordable prices, are called `sodas`. Most of these restaurants offer for purchase the traditional `casados`, a dish of rice, beans, meat with tortillas, fried plantains or a cabbage-tomato salad, for lunch and dinner. The national dish, which is called `gallo pinto`, is a combination of fried rice and black beans and is among one of the most popular in San José.
San José is home to many famous sports teams, including the notable Baseball team, the San Jose Giants and the famous Soccer team, San José Earthquakers. The San José Sharks participate in the National Hockey League and have won many games.
San José is known for its many religious celebrations as well as its historically significant festivals which commemorate important past events.
The National Theatre
The National Theatre is located in the centre of San José. It opened with a performance of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s “Faust” in 1897 and today is a tourist attraction. Although a place of historical interest, the theatre continues to operate, showing several high quality performances per week. The National Theatre represents the economic stability of the nation and it is one of the finest historical buildings in San Jose.
Lankester Botanical Gardens
The Lankester Botanical Garden is situated on the outskirts of San José. Many paths intersect the beautiful garden which allow for visitors to glimpse a large portion of the 3000 different species of plants which are housed in the gardens. The garden was originally created as a private garden, but since 1973 it has been opened to the public. The mission statement of Lankester Garden is to `promote conservation, enjoyment and sustainable use of the epiphytic flora through scientific research, horticulture, and environmental education`.
San José is the city of volcanoes. If you are interested in experiencing this world wonder you can book a tour to visit the most popular volcanoes, such as the Arenal Volcano, the Poás Volcano and the Irazú Volcano. If you book a volcano tour, you will not only see the volcanoes themselves, but also the hot springs of the Baldi Hot Springs at the Arenal Volcano.
The Central Market
The Central Market is a very famous market in San José, and presents the opportunity to taste and buy different exotic spices, fruits, vegetables and fish. Additionally, you can have a look and purchase wood as well as leather handicrafts. This special market is opened from Monday to Saturday 6 a.m. to 6 p.m..
The National Museum
The National Museum was built in 1917 and was first utilized as a military barracks. In 1950 it became the National Museum, although bullet holes in the walls are still evident for visitors to see and serve as a reminder of the building's historical past during the Civi War. The National Museum of San José is organized in a thematic clockwise configuration with different rooms allocated to artefacts related to geological, colonial, archaeological, religious and the modern history of Costa Rica.
10 San José travel tips
1) Always travel in groups and keep your bag close to you, because pickpockets are rife in the city.
2) The taxi is the most common and cheapest way to travel, particularly when you arrive at the airport and want to go to your hotel. Before entering a taxi, ensure the taxi driver is using a meter. Avoid taxis loitering around the Coca Cola area; it is far more advisable to take the orange taxis, which park by the airport. Although these taxis tend to charge slightly more they are far more reliable and trustworthy.
3) Please never forget to look to the left and the right when you cross the street and be aware that the drivers in San José are very aggressive and seldom stop for pedestrians.
4) If you want to experience the wonderful environment of Costa Rica, you should definitely book a tour through the rainforest where you can see different animals, impressive plants and take a relaxing walk through the nature. Boat tours are also highly recommended.
5) Of course, you can enjoy your stay at a beach of Costa Rica, but unfortunately not directly in San José, because it is completely landlocked. The next beaches are Jaco Beach and Manuel Antonio, which are a few hours away from the city.
6) The most pleasant time to travel to San José is the winter holiday season, where it is cool and not always raining as from April to mid of November.
7) When it comes to the drinking water in San José, it is definitively recommended to drink bottled water.
8) If you are going to San José during the Christmas holidays, the Carnival is a must see event!
9) The official language is Spanish in San José, so a few lessons would be advisable. However, the second language is English, so your Spanish need not to be perfect!
10) If you are interested in pre-columbian history, a visit to the Central Bank’s Gold Museum is most definitely worthwhile. Gold figures and pieces, found by the original inhabitants of Costa Rica, are on show there.
Fun facts and tips about San José
The Guanacaste is Costa Rica's national tree, the clay-colored thrush is the national bird and an orchid named “the guaria morada” is the national flower.
Costa Rica has a population of 4.5 million and a life expectancy of almost 77 years, which is one of the highest in the world.
One of the early scenes of the film `Jurassic Park` features a beachfront conversation scene set in `San José, Costa Rica.`
According to the U.S. National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, San Jose is the most common name for different places in the entire world.
San José has many strict laws. For example, the penalty for drunk driving is an impounding your driving licence for at least 3 years.
Pacific Time: -6hours GMT
The weather in Costa Rica is often very warm, windy and the humidity range is between 60% and 90% during the daytime due to its locatation in the tropical rainforest. There are about 170 days of rainfalls per year.