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Self-Guided San José

There are plenty of activities you can enjoy while staying in San José, this city offers an interesting mix of cultural and artistic highlights, the city is going through a revitalization process and there is history, culture and architecture everywhere. Walking from the hotel or with a 5 minutes ride in a taxi, you can visit the surrounding areas; we recommend the following 4 routes or jumping on the Hop On /Hop Off Bus that stops right outside of our hotel! Ask our receptionists for a city map.

Self Guided 1

Art Museum & La Sabana Park

Just 8 blocks from the hotel you can walk to the Costa Rican Art museum and La Sabana Park. The Art Museum is set in a neoclassical style building, built in the late 30’s; this building was the first international airport in Costa Rica. The museum offers exhibitions of works by local and international artists related to the visual arts. La Sabana Park is the largest park in San José, spanning 72 hectares (including a man-made lake, the National Stadium, the Art Museum and the National Gym) it has a track for running, a roller skating rink and basketball courts.  Take advantage of a beautiful morning or a sunny afternoon to go check out these spots!

Guided Walking City Tours 1

Pedestrian Boulevard & Central Market (Mercado Central)

Only a 15 minute walk from the hotel, is downtown San Jose’s main Pedestrian boulevard lined with all kind of stores including: shoe stores, department stores, clothing stores and fast food restaurants. This boulevard has been improved in recent years, with the addition of decorative lamps, trees and flowers and during the year cultural exhibitions take place here. The Central Market was built in 1880, and is a very crowded and popular market for locals and tourists alike.  Packed full with vendors booths selling a variety of products such as: handi-crafts, flowers, spices, candles, meat, fish, produce – here you can find almost anything you can imagine, visiting this market is a must.  Take care to note where you enter the market as it is a maze of windy passage ways and has more than a dozen exits.

Self Guided 3

National Theater & Pre-Columbian Gold Museum

If you continue walking along the Pedestrian boulevard you will arrive at the Plaza de la Cultura, where both the National Theater and Gold Museum are located. The National Theater is considered one of the most appraised cultural jewels of the capital. Inspired by the Paris Opera House, this Neo-baroque style building was built to impress. The theater has fine finishes including, marble floors and pillars, 22.5-karat gold leaf and Belgian ironwork. The construction began in 1890. In order to pay for this expensive construction, a special tax was placed on each bag of coffee for export (Costa Rica’s main export at the time).  In 1897, the opening of the National Theater was a significant event for Costa Rican society. The gold museum is located underneath the Plaza; this museum offers archaeological, numismatic (coin) and pre-Columbian art collections. After visiting these two places we suggest you to stop and enjoy a famous Pops ice cream while wandering the Plaza.

Self Guided 2

National Museum & Artisans Market

Once you arrive at the end of the pedestrian boulevard, if you continue two blocks east you will arrive at the National Museum.  The building was originally a military barracks, the Bellavista Fortress: the exterior walls still have many bullets lodged in them from the country’s 1948 civil war.  It is the last building of this type still standing in Costa Rica. The showrooms of this museum take you on a journey through the history of Costa Rica.  To the west of the National Museum sits the Artisan Market, this market consists of a narrow alleyway with booths where you can find almost every type of souvenir.