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Any suggestions on what to do for an afternoon in San Jose?

Any suggestions on what to do for an afternoon in San Jose?

Old Apr 15th, 2004, 05:31 PM
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Any suggestions on what to do for an afternoon in San Jose?

We will arive in San Jose around noon, does anyone have any suggestions on what to do or where to go in the city for the afternoon? thanks, Steve
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Old Apr 17th, 2004, 08:27 PM
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Well, if you only have an afternoon, I'd suggest just heading downtown and hitting the museums of central bank (Museos de Banco Nacional de Costa Rica) -- the museums are located under the Plaza Cultura. The Jade Museum might also be worth a look, or the history museum.

I've got a few snapshots of downtown San Jose if you want to take a look and see what to expect:
http://www.tiogringo.com/sanjose.html

Have fun!
Mark
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Old Apr 17th, 2004, 11:10 PM
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Check out the Teatro Nacional adjacent to the Plaza de la Cultura. It is beautiful inside. The Jade Museum is atop the insurance building (one of the few tall buildings to the north of the Plaza area, it is a landmark). Also, we really enjoyed walking down the pedestrian mall (Avenida Central) to the west a few blocks to the Mercado Central. Definitely interesting! Lots of neat little shops here and there. Parque Morazon is nice (also in this area). Enjoy!
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Old Apr 18th, 2004, 04:59 AM
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Zoo Ave is about 10 mins from the airport. La Paz waterfall garden is 1 hr. Several very pretty towns nearby to just walk around in.
For the city, I just enjoy hanging out downtown at the Gran Hotel. Sit outside at their little cafe and people watch or go across the street to the National Theater or walk around to look at the shops. Mercado Central is a lot of fun.
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Old Apr 18th, 2004, 05:39 AM
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Hire a driver and visit a coffee plantation if you're a fan and have never seen one. The Boka tour was VG, and the country is lovely.
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Old Apr 18th, 2004, 08:08 AM
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Doka Coffee (tres generaciones) coffee is my favorite.
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Old Apr 18th, 2004, 01:21 PM
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I know I will get alot of flak for this, but get out of San Jose. I live here and I only go to San Jose if I absolutely have to. I am not sure why he first person to respond said visit the central bank, but apparently they may have something to offer, but San Jose to me would be like going to the slums of Detroit or Philly. Not high on my to do list. Get out of the city and see a coffee plantation, or a waterfall, or ANYTHING but stay in San Jose. Maybe its just me, but it has nothing special to offer, and even if it did, I am not sure I would want to take the time to see it.
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Old Apr 18th, 2004, 02:51 PM
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I'm with you Walt. Notice I listed other options before even a mention of downtown. I do enjoy walking through Mercados Central though.
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Old Apr 19th, 2004, 06:35 AM
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Claro que si, the Plantation is Doka, not Boka. Lo siento!
M
PS try their "peaberry" an interesting, well regarded genetic variant.
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Old Apr 19th, 2004, 10:06 PM
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Steve:

Don't let those naysayers talk you out of visiting San Jose! I don't know why some people just feel the constant need to bash other peoples' home towns, but referring to the city as a "Detroit slum" and such is not only rude, it's ignorant. The city may not be Beverly Hills, but it *DOES* have some interesting places to see and is worth experiencing in its own right.

I agree that the countryside is wonderful, but getting out to places like La Paz *WILL* be a pain in the tookus if you're not familiar with the terrain and you truly have only an afternoon to spare. You are MUCH better off with your original plan to see what you can in town.

I stick by my earlier recommendation to visit the Museos del Banco. San Jose's museums aren't top flight, but those museums down under are the best downtown, mostly because their museum of pre-Columbian gold is utterly fascinating and worth visiting in its own right.

You can easily walk around the city and get a good feel for the place in a single day. Have a cup of coffee at the Gran Hotel and people watch. Then stroll over to the mercado on Calle 8 if you want -- it IS interesting, though if you've been to other latin countries, you've probably seen bigger and better markets.

I thought the Museo Nacional was pretty cool, though it's not particularly large -- maybe an hour, tops.

The infamous Jade museum is maybe a 10 block walk. It's on an upper floor of an office building, and kind of cool if you're into historical artifacts, especially gold objects and, of course, jade. (Jade isn't native to Costa Rica by the way, so the museum is really evidence of ancient Mayan trade routes!)

Some of the things that are touted by guidebooks, I thought were probably not worth a big time investment. The serpentarium was small, kind of beat, on the 2nd floor above a store. If you're into snakes, it's probably cool, to me, it was kind of a dump.

I didn't think most of the government buildings were worth seeing, and the city's main cathedral was too modern for my colonial architecture loving tastes.

Have fun!
Mark
www.tiogringo.com
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Old Apr 20th, 2004, 07:02 AM
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Glad to hear someone else thinks San Jose is worth an afternoon of your time! It is definitely that. The Museo de Oro is very state of the art and Costa Rica can be very proud of it! As for the Serpentarium, we were going to check that out about a year ago and were told that it was now closed. Stop by a supermarket in the downtown area and pick up some cheap coffee to take home for yourself or as gifts. Cafe Britt, Volio, and others in the more expensive range can be purchased here for around $3 per bag as opposed to $6 or $7 at the airport!
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