Things to do
Despite its youth (the capital was only established in 1738), San José has a deep and illustrious history. From Victorian structures to Art Deco builds, you need only take a stroll through Barrio Amón to see signs of the city’s colonial and European past. Or for cultural artefacts dating from pre-Columbian times, visit the National Museum of Costa Rica. The walls of this ochre-yellow building, located opposite the Legislative Assembly, still show the bullet holes made during the 1948 Costa Rica civil war.
Renowned for its natural brilliance, San José is also a city of architectural triumph. Take, for example, the Metropolitan Cathedral built in 1871. Stained-glass windows depict scenes from the life of Christ, while intricate tile work lines the floor. From here, you’ll find the Teatro Nacional (National Theatre), a Neoclassical building adorned with sculptures of the nine muses. The square out front is a popular site for art exhibits and live performances.
For shopaholics and fashionistas, Escazú is a must-do destination. Home to the best mall in Costa Rica, Escazú is the urban epicentre of the city. From designer stores to movie theatres and restaurants, you could easily spend a whole day at The Multiplaza. Alternatively, shop like a local and visit the farmers markets at Barrio Escalante, for a gastronomic taste of the city.