A Travellerspoint blog

August 2015

Subtle Depth in the Capital of Pura Vida, San Jose

The city with a bad reputation had hidden beauty and was more than meet the eye...You just had to look for it.


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We headed to San Jose hesitant, all we had heard was how terrible it was as a city. Our reason for going was we needed to get to other places and it was the main transport hub for getting anywhere in Costa Rica. Overall though we were pleasantly surprised...The city didn’t live up to the dodgy reputation for us. Sure it had it’s bad areas, it is a city..which one doesn’t. But as a city it was full of life, colour and greenery. There were green spaces everywhere, lively sellers on all of the streets and street art on nearly every corner.

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Our main aim in San Jose was to chill out. We were still tired and knew we didn’t have very much time to really enjoy the country to the full extent. The first thing we noticed was the price difference. Things are much more expensive in Costa Rica than the rest of Central America we have been too.
After our long bus ride we were happy to get to our gorgeous accommodation. We decided to splash out and have a nice room via AirBnB. The place was basically brand new and we had the whole place to ourselves!

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The next day I convinced Lewis to head down to the theatre. On Tuesdays at midday they do a show that mostly retired people go to. It is cheap (2000 colons (under $4USD) per person). We were lucky enough to hear Max Goldenberg, a Guanacastian guitarist and singer. It was a beautiful hour long acoustic set with the old folks tapping their feet and singing to the songs they knew. It was cool experience. He was magical strumming and picking the guitar. I was mesmerised by the sounds he could produce. The theatre itself was also stunning. We walked through the whole thing after and saw the beautiful room where they host balls and events. We meet a local who was telling us about the curiosities of the paintings in the room.

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That evening we headed down to our local Soda, to be honest it looked how I pictured an American Diner to look. Every time we went I was starving so photos were non-existent (Sorry!). The soda made excellent burgers and iced coffees. The burgers were unique and seemed to have a Central American spin on them with refried beans on the buns, this added a creamy texture to the burger and was rather delicious.

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Our last day we spent exploring the city. We headed off in search of the legendary street art. I loved the fact that the art was mainly of people and different faces. They wanted to show the lives of the city in a vibrant way. We discovered along the way more gorgeous green spaces. It was a great morning. We spent the afternoon strolling around the park and it’s massive lagoon. There were people running everywhere. They kind of reflected the "Pura Vida" in one form that costa rica is famous for.

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The next day we were off to Tortugero, a village in the middle of nowhere and we couldn’t wait!
San Jose is a city, and as such you have to expect lots of people and in San Jose's case it is not catered solely for tourists. I am unsure whether it deserves it’s dodgy reputation. It is definitely a place worth exploring to find it's charm for a few days while you are in Costa Rica.

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Posted by chellebelle 15:12 Archived in Costa Rica Tagged art street theatre green san fruit costa jose max soda space airbnb goldenberg guittar rica. Comments (1)

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