The capital city of Costa Rica, also translated as ‘Saint Joseph’ in English, interestingly has the same name as the province it’s in. And that’s not all, San Jose sits in the middle of Costa Rica while being the largest city of the country. For being the most pivotal city of this region, it has gained a reputation of the safest city, offering the finest quality of life. As evident as it is, the world’s capitals receive the most attention when it comes to development. So has this city evolved through the establishment of world class recreational sites.
The recognition of this wide spanning natural plane surrounded by an enclosure of volcanos and leafy hills, dates back to the eighteenth century. However, its population expanded in number and diversity in the 1960s. Outlanders from neighboring countries started settling in with the natives, and that’s how San Jose is now identified as home to diverse culture. Its residents are known for their friendly and accommodating attitude with which they welcome any visitors.
For the many reasons mentioned earlier, this city welcomes the maximum tourists visiting the country. People from European countries and American descent land in via direct flights through San José international airport, namely the Juan Santamaria International Airport. This airport, which is situated in the Alajuela district, is hardly one or two miles away from San Jose. So, it’s inevitable for most visitors to skip stopping by the most prominent city of Costa Rica.
After when you’ve finally hit home in Alajuela, it’s time for you to plan your trip in San Jose keeping in mind the target of going to the most valuable places before the least preferable spots (set as they are by an average number of travelers). You must have already done that before coming here in the first place, but consider going through the following overview to ensure making the best choices.
Things to do in San Jose
Although there’s a lot which could have been added to this section regarding sightseeing in the city area, focus has been given to options which have more to do with the natural sites (otherwise not readily available to visit in other countries).
1. Site-seeing at Lankester Botanical Gardens
Jardín Botánico Lankester, or what is commonly known as Charles Lankester’s Botanical Gardens among tourists are now run as a research center by the University of Costa Rica. Apart from the purpose it primarily fulfills, it is also open for the public to pay visits. This site spanning over 11 hectares of land serves as a habitat for over 3000 plant species which are otherwise seldom available altogether at other similar places.
2. Navigating the Prominent Volcanic Sites
Since San Jose seems to be guarded by volcanos at its outskirts, it provides the visitors with an opportunity to view some of them, if not all. Arenal Volcano is situated 90 kilometers northwest of the country’s capital. The site can be reached by a road trip, however, traveling to this destination at night time isn’t recommended for the pathway is curvy. Poas Volcano National Park is another addition to the list of must haves in this regard. And, this is a place which can be traveled to through a shuttle service that runs once from San Jose. Turrialba and Irazu Volcano are two more options you may add to your preference list.
3. Touring Feria Verde de Aranjuez
The hustle and bustle of a regular city is something most tourists have had exposure of in their respective countries. However, it is the natural habitat of San Jose which attracts most people to this place. Same goes for local organic natural produce which is sold nowhere else in the world. Feria Verde de Aranjuez is a farmer’s market welcoming natives and tourists on Saturdays with everything that has to do with maintaining good health.
4. Visiting San Jose’s Central Market
When you want to experience local life in a certain area, the best considerable option is none other than to visit market places frequently visited by locals. And for exploring life in San Jose, that venture can be done by going to San Jose’s Central Market (dating back to the late nineteenth century). It’s home to stalls displaying regional produce, customary herbal medicines, souvenirs and some finest quality coffee beans. One of the city’s oldest café, Soda Tapia, is situated in the same market as well.
5. Experiencing Wild Life at Simon Bolivar National Zoo
This is a place for everyone to visit if they’re coming to San Jose with their family. Spreading across an area of 2 acres, this zoo has become home to animals belonging to 60 species (the majority of which have been brought from different parts of Costa Rico itself). Additionally, as part of its visitors’ package, the zoo authorities provide children of pre-school, primary, and secondary level with the country’s most thorough environmental education program.
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