Exploring Tourism in Costa Rica
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Top 10 Places To Visit In San Jose

San José, Costa Rica

San José is the capital and largest city of Costa Rica, and the capital of the province of the same name. It is in the center of the country, in the mid-west of the Central Valley, within San José Canton.

San Jose, Costa Rica is now the 6th most visited Latin American city – thanks mostly to visitors from the United States.

Despite the city’s large urban sprawl, San Jose itself is technically built in the middle of tropical rainforest and it only takes a short drive outside the city limits to find humid forests and wildlife you’d expect to see in Costa Rica.

Here are the Top 10 Places to Visit in San Jose, which are worth visiting on a San Jose trip:

1. San Jose City

A city tour of San Jose is hands down the best way to get to know the city, find your bearings, and get settled into the city overall. There are a few great options for city tours in San Jose so it all depends on what you enjoy. There are lots of tour companies that provide paid tours which often involve a hotel/hostel pick-up as well as transport around the city.

2. National Theater – Teatro Nacional Costa Rica

The National Theater (or Teatro Nacional Costa Rica) is one of San Jose’s most prestigious buildings. It’s filled with lavish furnishings and many stunning marble statues. In the past, it was used as the main selling point to attract rich visitors to the country and city. These days, the theatre still operates and you can come and watch a show here or just have a look around. The theatre is actually visited on the free walking tour of San Jose, however, you won’t get to see much of the theater.

3. National Museum

San Jose is home to many great museums that give visitors an insight into Costa Rica’s history, culture, and politics. The next few things to do on this list include the best museums to check out in San Jose. The National Museum itself is actually an old fort called the Bella Vista Barracks and old bullet holes can still be seen in the walls that surround it.

4. Jade Museum

The Jade Museum is home to over 7,000 pieces of jade. It’s the largest collection of pre-Colombian jade in the world! Here you can find out the importance of jade to the Costa Rican people as well as how jade artifacts are made.

5. Pre-Colombian Gold Museum

The Pre-Colombian Gold Museum is home to the largest collection of pre-Colombian gold in Latin America. At the museum, you can find many gold artifacts dating back thousands of years. It is home to over 1,600 individual pieces.

6. La Paz Waterfall Garden

The La Paz Waterfall Garden is a privately owned property that combines natural waterfalls with a huge range of other attractions such as a butterfly garden, bird sanctuary, trout lake, hummingbird garden, and other animal enclosures. It’s the largest animal sanctuary in Costa Rica.

7. La Chimba Coffee Farm

La Chimba Coffee Plantation is home to a 5-kilometer and 9-kilometer trail called Hacienda y Beneficio La Chimba. Both trails lead to the viewpoint, with one slightly longer for those who love to hike. The trail is easy to follow and, although a little muddy and slippery in some places, fairly easy with a gradual incline up to the viewpoint.

8. Centre of Science and Culture

The Costa Rican Centre of Science and Culture is actually home to three museums. These are the Children’s Museum, the National Gallery, and the National Auditorium. The exhibits on the show are about science, culture, recycling, and technology.

9. Butterfly Garden

Visiting a butterfly garden is one of the more iconic activities you can do all over Costa Rica, and there are a ton of different places to visit all around the country. Tours through the gardens usually start with an informative video explaining the life of butterflies as well as some interesting facts about them. You’re guaranteed to learn something new!

10. Central Market

The Central Market in San Jose is a must-visit! This place is filled with interesting shops to buy souvenirs and lots of food! On a San Jose city tour, they may take you here, but if not, make sure to have a look on your own. One thing you must try is the ice cream shop called “Helados de Sorbetera”. It’s a very unique tasting ice cream and is only found at this one specific store.

Besides these, there is much more to explore in San Jose of Costa Rica like the Museum of Costa Rican Art, Tortuga Island, Wildlife Rescue Center, and much more... You can do various activities there like Whitewater Rafting, Tasting Coffee, Tasting Local Craft Beer of Costa Rica...

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