24 hours in San José, Costa Rica

    24 hours in San José, Costa RicaWhat to see in San José, the chaotic and lively capital of Costa Rica. A city that is disorienting at first glance but full of evocative attractions

    San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica, is a lively and chaotic city located exactly in the center of the state on a vast plateau at about 110 meters above sea level, a characteristic that gives the urban center a very mild climate especially for being in the heart of the area equatorial.

    The history of San Jose has its roots in the Spanish expeditions that led to the conquest of the regions of Central and South America. For almost two centuries it was only a minor center compared to nearby Cartago, and it became the capital of the newborn state of Costa Rica only in 1823, in the same years as the declaration of independence from Mexico and from then on its development was impetuous and in some ways poorly controlled.

    Today San José is undoubtedly the political and economic heart of Costa Rica, but from a tourist point of view it has not yet managed to take off like other similar cities that can be found when traveling between Central and South America. In this guide we will discover an itinerary designed for those who want to visit San José in one day and reach its most interesting attractions and museums not to be missed.

    The first stop on any visit to San Josè can only be the very central one Culture Square, the large and most important square of the city. Although from an architectural point of view it does not cause particular amazement, it is the best place to come into contact with the Costa Rican people and see the josefini, the inhabitants of San José, who meet and have fun in front of the numerous street artists who gather in square. The Plaza is probably the safest place in all of San José, guarded night and day by the grande's security staff Pre-Columbian Gold Museum, which is located exactly under the square.

    The Museo de Oro Precolombino is the largest and most important museum in the city and you cannot miss a visit to its spectacular rooms, where a treasure consisting of over 1600 pieces of art created by the pre-Columbian populations who inhabited Costa Rica between 500 and B.C. and 1500 AD. The museum allows you to learn about the history of these populations, their customs and their religion, with particular attention dedicated to the period of the Spanish conquest of the region. Entrance to the museum also allows you to visit the numismatic collections from the Spanish era and the temporary exhibitions that take place on a regular basis.

    After the museum the tour can continue towards the majestic National Theatre, also on Plaza de la Cultura, considered by many to be the most beautiful monument of San Josè. Built during the 19th century, the theater is a perfect example of the country's neoclassical architecture. With a little advance notice you can easily purchase tickets for its wonderful shows and concerts, or alternatively you can have an excellent coffee and a dessert in the elegant foyer bar.

    Moving towards the north east you reach the suggestive parco Morazan, which in recent years has undergone a major redevelopment plan that has made it one of the most beautiful walks in all of San José. Inside you can admire one of the symbols of the city, the Templo de la Musica with its imposing and elegant classical structure.

    Just beyond the park is the Museum of Contemporary Art and Design, the most important museum institution dedicated to contemporary art from all of Central America, which exhibits numerous works by the main contemporary artists of Costa Rica and the entire South American area. For lunch the best choice is to eat a typical dish in one of the numerous kiosks and small taverns that surround the Amon neighborhood, the historic neighborhood of San José, where you can taste the national dish, the Gallo Pinto or the patacones, the delicious slices of fried plantains.

    Continuing on our itinerary we arrive at Jade Museum, which houses a wonderful collection of pre-Columbian artifacts made of jade and other precious stones that show the incredible level of skill that the artisans of these ancient civilizations had achieved.

    The last destination not to be missed is the National Museum of Costa Rica, which with its vast collections traces the entire history of the region, from the first evidence of human presence to the events that led to national independence in 1823. The museum is located inside the large Bellavista fortress, the Spanish fort which had the function of defense and control over the city and was the site of the fierce fighting of the civil war which broke out in Costa Rica in 1948. Among the most interesting objects in the collections we can mention the fountain pen with which the abolition of the national army and the rich section that collects the elegant period furnishings of the fortress.

    To end the day enjoying the most authentic atmosphere of San José, our suggestion is to return to Morazan park and eat a good dish to the rhythm of the music which is played every evening among the splendid tree-lined avenues of the heart of the city.

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