San Jose

Overview

Introduction

San Jose, Costa Rica, is the country's social, political and commercial center, and it's more cosmopolitan and prosperous than many other cities in Central America. San Jose is a pleasant place to visit, although it has comparatively few colonial structures, and most travelers use it as a stepping stone to somewhere else in the country. Volcanoes and mountains ring the city's barrios and suburbs; cloud forests, beaches, raging rivers and rain forests lie within a few hours' drive.

San Jose has its own attractions worth exploring, however, and these are on the increase. The capital has entered a revitalization period—condos are going up to attract urban dwellers, cultural events are thriving, and older areas have revived thanks to the boom in tourism. Because of a traditional lack of urban planning, San Jose's architecture is a mishmash of historic structures, glass high-rises and run-down buildings. In many ways, this is part of its charm. However, the city's streets are plagued by congestion and pollution in a country renowned for its environmental prowess, though this is thankfully beginning to change.


Amidst it all, the city is blessed with high-quality restaurants, excellent art galleries, museums and boutique-hotels. San Jose's delightful springlike climate is never too hot and never too cold because of the city's location in the Central Valley. The Ticos, as locals are known, provide excellent hospitality.

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