The Costa Rican capital of San Jose is visited by foreigners primarily for its art and architecture. Tourists also take advantage of the diverse activities the city offers, including outdoor adventures such as white water rafting and entertainment pursuits in bars, nightclubs and casinos.
San Jose Attractions – Cultural Hotspots
The National Theatre of Costa Rica and the Melico Salazar Theatre are both popular venues for dance, music and theatrical performances. The National Theatre, which was constructed beginning 1891, featured Johan Wolfgang von Goethe’s Faust on its opening. Several San Jose attractions reside in the theater, including statues of Ludwig van Beethoven and the fresco by Italian artist Aleardo Villa, entitled Allegory of Coffee and Bananas. Downtown, the Edificio Correos building stands distinctively recognizable by its pea-green façade, Corinthian-style pilasters, and an arch where angels holding the Coat of arms of Costa Rica are sculpted. Its second floor is home to the Philatelic Museum, which exhibits postal history items and stamps. Another one of the main San Jose attractions is the Lankester Botanical Gardens, an eleven-hectare site for more than 3,000 orchids, bromeliads and other plant species.
San Jose Events – Background
Since Costa Rica is predominantly a Catholic country, most of its holidays and festivals commemorate events related to that religion. Late June is reserved for Saints Peter and Paul Day, observed by churches in the city. Other religious San Jose events include the Virgen de los Angeles Day, which pays tribute to the patron saint of the city through a pilgrimage to Nuestra Senora de los Angeles Basilica. San Jose also has non-denominational festivals, such as Copa del Café, a week-long tennis event. In early February, the city has its own celebration of the San Isidro General Fiestas, an agricultural festivity. One of the highly anticipated San Jose events is the International Arts Festival, which livens up the city with plays, street theater and other performances.
San Jose Museum – Gallery
The Pre-Columbian Gold Museum houses more than 1,400 pre-Columbian gold artifacts that can be traced back as early as 500 A.D. Managed by the Banco Central de Costa Rica, this San Jose museum also shows how each gold object was used by pre-Columbian peoples in the country. The exhibits include pendants, amulets, earrings, erotic statuettes, animal figurines and the first Costa Rican coin. It also features the gold warrior El Guerrero wearing gold ornaments. Also under the museum’s care is a replica of a pre-Columbian grave with 88 gold objects that were discovered in a southeast Costa Rican banana plantation in the 1950s.