Costa Rica’s capital city has the capacity to either enthrall a new visitor, or to make them head hand over fist for the more popular mountains and beaches.
A new comer to the land of Pura Vida might not know how to attempt to approach San Jose. Fortunately, a new guidebook seeks to dispel some of the mysteries of the eponymous city. “The Real San Jose” by a twenty year visitor to Costa Rica, Michael Miller, attempts to explain the capital city for those who might feel that it isn’t as much of a tourist destination as some of the other areas of this incredible country.
There is much to do in the capital which might at first be overlooked by tourists. In the city center can be found a surplus of activities, museums, restaurants, cafes, theaters, parks, markets and more. The national cultural center (Antigua Fanal), which used to be a large liquor factory, in association with the ministry of culture and youth put on a number of concerts, cultural fairs, operas and a lot of annual activities in the downtown area. There are expositions in the park, and once per year noche en blanco (white night) allows all visitors access to the theaters, museums, orchestras and opera houses free of charge.
“The Real San Jose” seeks to shed light on a number of places in the city center related to both entertainment and convenience. The book outlines places for coffee, laundry and more, while discussing the nightlife of San Jose, as well. The attractions which have gone somewhat unnoticed by the droves of visitors that flood through immigration into Costa Rica are paid their due diligence in this 137 page book.
There are at least two dozen bakeries and delicatessens in San Jose. The National Symphonic Orchestra of Costa Rica (Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de Costa Rica) performs at the National Theater (Teatro Nacional). The National Theater is itself a building of great esthetic beauty built in 1897, and situated next to Plaza de la Cultura. All told, San Jose is worth both the time spent exploring its streets and edifices, and it is worthy of the new text attributed to it by Mr. Miller.