When Christopher Columbus set sail for the New World in 1502, he set anchor on a land that will then be called 'Costa Rica' or Rich Coast. This marked the start of the Spaniards' conquest of the Americas. They made their mark in the heritage and culture of the land, which is very evident in the way of life today in San Jose and other cities in Costa Rica.
As the capital, San Jose is the centre of political and economic activities in Costa Rica. It's also the hub of various museums, galleries, theatres, and other significant establishments. Visitors can enjoy sightseeing and going around the city to see fascinating landmarks that showcase the Spanish legacy.
San Jose has various points of interest that tourists can enjoy. One of the must-visit establishments on the list should be the Pre-Columbian Gold Museum. It displays more than 1600 golden artefacts from 500 AD, as well as various collections of amulets, figurines, and other crafts before the arrival of Columbus. These provide a glimpse to the civilisation before the Spaniards came to Costa Rica. There's also a Jade Museum located in the National Insurance Institute, which displays intricately carved jade artefacts such as pottery and small statues of fertility goddesses.
For more arts and crafts, there's the woodworking shop of the artisan Barry Biesanz in Bello Horizonte in Escazu to visit. Although hard to reach, a visit is worth due to the fine detail of the lines and forms of the wooden bowls and other handiworks.
The National Museum of Costa Rica is also worth a visit due to the rich history of the establishment. Other than the artefacts from the colonial days, the site of the museum is also where President José Ferrer declared that he was disbanding the standing army of the country after the resolution of the civil war in 1948.
Tourists shouldn't miss going to the National Theatre of Costa Rica. The architectural and interior appearance of the place is grand and elegant. Performances occur many times a week, with regular shows by the National Symphonic Orchestra.
Another architectural treat is the Catedral Metropolitana, which was built in 1871 in the Renaissance style. It has colourful Spanish tiles, beautiful stained glass windows, and an artistically created Christ figure. Tourists can go here for a respite and bask in the quiet atmosphere of the church.
How to get around within San Jose
It's not advisable to hire cars when in San Jose. Travellers will be better off riding the bus. There are local lines plying the routes from the city to the outlying villages. Taxis are also a favourable mode of transportation to get around different landmarks easily.
How to get there
When travelling to San Jose, the airport travellers need to get to will be Juan Santamaria International Airport. This is the hub of Copa Airlines and Avianca, which are major carriers of flights going to Central America.
Travellers from North America can look for flights on Air Canada Rouge, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and US Airways. European passengers can catch a plane on Condor and Iberia airlines. Tourists from Asia will have to get connecting flights.