San Jose - Costa Rica's capital city and hub
San José is the capital and largest city of Costa Rica, and is located in the Central Valley. San José is the seat of national government, the focal point of political and economic activity, and the major transportation hub of this Central American nation.
Founded in 1738, San José is one of the youngest capital cities in Latin America by year of conception, though it was not named capital until 1823. Nowadays it's a modern city with bustling commerce, brisk expressions of art and architecture, and spurred by the country's improved tourism industry, it is also a significant destination and stopover for foreign visitors. Officially, the city's current population is about 350,000, though the metropolitan area stretches beyond the "offical" city limits and comprises a third of the country's population. San José exerts a strong influence on a wider range because of its proximity to minor cities (Alajuela, Heredia and Cartago) and the country's demographic assemblage in the Central Valley.
The city lies at a mean elevation of 1,161 m above sea level, and enjoys a stable climate throughout the year, with an average temperature of 23C (73F) and annual precipitation of 1800 mm, more than 90% of it falling in the rainy season from May to November.
The first university of Costa Rica was established in 1843, at that time with the name of University of Santo Tomás. San José also serves as the headquarters of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. The city is served by Juan Santamaría International Airport, 23 km west of downtown, in the city of Alajuela.
AttractionsBoth The National Theater and The Melico Salazar Theatre offer hectic calendars of cultural activities, featuring acting and dance groups as well as orchestral musical presentations throughout the year.
There are some cafés in the downtown area, located in the Central Mail building, The National Theater and The Melico Salazar Theatre, where national coffee is prepared and served in typical Costa Rican ways.
There are also many museums and other attractions offering alternative ways of exploring the city. One of these is the Gold Museum, which offers an unusual view of various gold artifacts of the ancient Latin American civilizations. An interesting attraction for the less adventurous travelers is the Lankester Botanical Gardens at the outskirts of San José. This gardens and many attractions not far from San Jose can be visited on the multiple day tours offered in the city. For more information you may contact Expediciones Tropicales that for more than fifteen years has been providing this type of service. Other attractions include various bars and clubs which concentrate their activity on holding musical shows and events. One of them, for example, is "Sand Live", which is a massive inside/outside bar and concert hall which usually holds rock and extreme metal concerts.
El Pueblo is a mix of more than 50 bars, clubs, restaurants, art galleries and shops. Lining the picturesque cobblestone streets within walking distance of several hotels and resorts, it is a lively place from 9 p.m. until dawn. Calle de la Amargura in San Pedro near the University of Costa Rica has a wide selection of bars, restaurants and discos and caters to University students with food and drinks for relatively low prices. Pickpockets and low-level criminals are a cause of concern. Pueblo Antiguo is a theme park with lots of fun and colors; it has many museums and is modeled after 19th century San José, and is located inside Costa Rica's only major theme park, "El Parque de Diversiones de Costa Rica".