San José of Costa Rica has many things to boast with from luring climate to public safety but its most enticing quality is that it never stops developing. This facilitates it to draw in more and more tourists each year and, in spite of its lack of direct contact with either the Caribbean Sea or the Pacific Ocean, it is one of the prime attractions of its parent country.
With a metropolitan population of over 2 million, San José is not only the capital of Costa Rica but also its largest city. Located within the bounds of the Central Valley, in the western province, it is currently considered the 15th fastest-growing destination cities in the world. There are two main aspects that make San José interesting. First and foremost, it has a relatively small amount of people living in its centre. This means that it experiences a flux of 1 million people each day (coming and going). The second aspect pertains to crime – in spite of the fact that it does experience certain issues at times, San José is one of the safest cities in Latin America.
San José’s position in Central America lends it a tropical wet and dry climate. This means that it does not succumb to temperature fluctuation and that it can boast with generally warm weather. Daily means are between 20 and 22 degrees Celsius all year long and this makes it an extremely desirable place to spend the cold months at. The hottest month is April whilst the coldest one is October – though temperatures only vary by 1-3 degrees. Also, we recommend that you pack an adequate protection against mosquitoes for they can be abundant (and pesky, for that matter).
San José is served by the heavily-trodden Juan Santamaría International Airport. Funnelling over 4.5 million passengers each year, it serves as a hub for the Nature Air and the Sansa Airlines. Located near the city of Alajuela roughly 20 kilometres west of the city centre, the airport was named after the Costa Rican drummer boy named Juan Santamaría who had died in 1856 while defending the country from the famous US filibuster William Walker. A bus network connects it with the central downtown area and it is not only frequent but also efficient (in fact, buses are some of the most heavily-used means of getting around in Costa Rica).
The aforementioned airport is not the only one serving the capital for the Tobías Bolaños International Airport takes some of its traffic over. Besides its obvious private-flight activities, it is often the main destination for tourist flights (so that it may mitigate the heavy traffic of the primary airport a bit). Handling just under 20,000 passengers each year, it is one of the four international airports located within the bounds of Costa Rica (the others being the Limón International Airport, the Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport, and the aforementioned).
Besides the railway network handled by the Instituto Costarricense de Ferrocarriles, the taxi option always remains. We must, however, urge you to pay attention when it comes to pirate-cabs (the ones that often stick close to public transport hubs, looking to take advantage of travellers). The people that operate them will often “forget” to start their metres and extort insurmountable amounts of money at the end of already-unnecessarily-long fares. Always urge the drivers to start their metres and, if you can, check the route ahead via Google Maps. Stay smart and thus, stay safe!
SIGHTS AND ACTIVITIES:
First and foremost, we recommend that you pay a thorough visit to San José’s Pre-Columbian Gold Museum. Located beneath the Plaza de la Cultura in an underground facility, the establishment is managed by the Banco Central de Costa Rica. What’s interesting about it is that it houses around 1,600 pre-Columbian artefacts from 600 AD. Another fact that should draw you to it is that the first Costa Rican coin, the Media Escudo, is on display there. So, make sure you keep a lookout for the Museo Numismático (National Coin Museum) that is located in the same building.
Located in the central section of San José, the National Theatre of Costa Rica is something that cannot be left out. Not only does it signify the prosperity of Costa Rican art but it is also a fascinating building whose brilliance must be basked in. Designed by Ruy Cristóforo Molinari, the structure adheres to the standards of the Neo-Classical architectural style and it was completed and opened in the same year: 1897. Its extravagant furnishings and the three statues on its roof all add to its reputation of being the finest historic building in the San José. Oh, and do keep an eye out for performances because they happen multiple times a week and they tend to appeal to tourists.
Occupying an area of 620,000 square metres, the La Sabana Metropolitan Park is an excellent place to spend an afternoon at. The cosy weather and the absolute abundance of trees make it an idyllic recreational zone. Opened in 1977, it currently harbours numerous vital institutions and organisations such as the Costa Rican Art Museum (Museo de Arte Costarricense) and the Estadio Nacional de Costa Rica (national stadium). Oh, and if you are in a sports-mood, do not forget to hit the football (soccer) fields (wink)!
As you can see, the tropical nature and the exquisite landmarks make San José of Costa Rica one of the most visitable cities in the world. We encourage you to try and speak Spanish with the locals because they appreciate tourists making an effort to be polite. Oh, and do not forget to make a few photos with the native palm trees (wink)!