Recommended urban sights in San Jose, Costa Rica?
October 14, 2008 8:43 AM   Subscribe

Unique sights in urban San Jose, Costa Rica

I've got a few days in San Jose, Costa Rica. We've done many of the standard wilderness trips while here and would now like to do some urban exploring. What would you recommend to see and do in San Jose and surrounding suburbs that is not in the usual travel guides? We are both foodies and geeks.
posted by benzenedream to Travel & Transportation around San Jose, Costa Rica (6 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
It's a little seedy, but I enjoyed just walking around. There's the gayborhood, the pedestrian mall (I forget what it's called), and--oh! If you're at all interested in opera, you can see a performance at the National Theatre for under $10.
posted by kittyprecious at 11:05 AM on October 14, 2008

Best answer: 1) Restuarante Beirut - Lebanese food. It's next to Casa Espana in Saban Norte. Have the oven-roasted lamb (off-menu, always available). The big-guy waiting the tables (Toni) is the owner.

2) If you are here on a friday/saturday night, go eat chicharrones, tipical food, and drink lots of beer with the locals at Meme Parajito, about 2km East of Ciudad Colon, on the main highway.

3) Go see a movie at the VIP theater TerraMall, on the road to Cartago. Full-sized recliners you can easily fall asleep in, in-theater waiters serving sushi, mexican food, and booze.

4) Just go hang out in Parque la Sabana for a while. Go fly a kite in Parque de la Amistad. If it stops raining (the last couple days are abnormally wet and cold)

5) Go for a day-trip to the Irazu summit. leave early (the summit is an hour away) and then, on the way back, walk around Cartago - it's much nicer than san jose, and has some really interesting churches and ruins. This is an easy lazy day -trip or half-day trip if you are an early riser. It won't wipe you out.

6) Gold & Jade museum.
posted by TravellingDen at 11:12 AM on October 14, 2008 [2 favorites]

the fat lady!
posted by changeling at 2:19 PM on October 14, 2008

I spent 2 months near San Jose this past summer, and it's kind That's why most things I have to suggest aren't actually in the city. The jade/gold/numismatic museum is pretty good. Also, the central market is big, with tons of different kinds of stalls.

There are 2 volcanoes that are easily accessible (by bus) from San Jose. I didn't make it to Irazu, which TravellingDen suggested, but I went to Poás. There's a crater lake at the top, and plenty of trails. It was about a 2 hour bus ride, but well worth it.

If you're going to the movies, go on Wednesday, when they're half price. I think that made it about $2 for a regular movie or $4 for VIP.

I went to a coffee plantation, which was really interesting. There are a bunch of them around.

One place I recommend, though it might be a bit pricey (we got a group student rate) is La Paz Waterfall Gardens. It's kind of a mishmash of all the touristy stuff you see in Costa Rica. There is a butterfly room, a hummingbird garden, flowers, frogs, etc. Then there are trails leading down to a wonderful waterfall, and you can get really close to it. It's run by Cafe Britt, and there's a pretty good gift shop there too.

¡Pura vida!
posted by iliketolaughalot at 7:06 PM on October 14, 2008 [1 favorite]

There used to be a disco, and I mean 70's disco ball and lighted floor discoteque at the Centro Comercial del Sur. Take the Desamperados bus from Parque Central. You enter on the 2nd floor, the disco was on the first floor in the back. I think it was called Dynasty. The drink of choice is the screwdriver, made with orange juice that one bartender furiously is making from fresh picked oranges. Delicious!
posted by Pollomacho at 8:44 PM on October 14, 2008

Oh, no Dynasty is only one of the bars at Centro Comercial, I remember now refering to it as Die-Nasty, the one I'm thinking of is Partenon! Almost comical atmosphere, stiff drinks, loud music. Wear your tight pants and be prepared to shake your booty!
posted by Pollomacho at 8:50 PM on October 14, 2008

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