One More Day in San Jose

January 1, 2015 - 9:49 pm No Comments

Woke up feeling a bit rough today, with a headache, unsettled stomach, and a desire to do nothing but lay in bed. But I rallied for my city tour of San Jose with a company called Expediciones Tropicales.

Our guide, Alberto, took us around the city in a small bus and told us about the history of coffee magnates, Costa Rica’s best and worst presidents, the abolition of the army, the architecture, pretty much all the things you’d expect to hear on a city tour. To accommodate our mixed group, he seamlessly flitted between English and Spanish.

We drove around in our little bus, stopping a few times to walk around. It was an absolutely perfect day to be outside, with a warm sun, fresh breeze, and happy birds chirping everywhere.

Hemingway Inn

Flag of Costa Rica

Museo Nacional de Costa Rica

Museo Nacional de Costa Rica

Estadio Nacional de Costa Rica

San Jose reminded me of Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires and gives me the impression that all large Central or South American cities look the same. Overall, it’s not a beautiful city, with a weird mix of architecture from the 1920’s (the last time a volcano destroyed the city) and 1970’s. Uninspired, angular buildings and a few odd-looking attempts at avant garde. Painted exteriors are drab, peeling, and dirty. Disorganized tangles of wire hang everywhere. I do like how traffic lights are suspended in middle of intersections, though. It reduces the numbers of required lights as well as the poles and wires to support them.

The center of the city is series of crisscrossing pedestrian arcades, though today most of the storefronts were shuttered because of the New Year’s holiday. Turns out that garbage-lined streets around New Year’s are a tradition for San Jose, as the municipal workers are on holiday and garbage collection is delayed for a couple of days.

Museums were closed for the holiday, so we spent a bit more time exploring the surrounding Jewish and German Christian neighborhoods. Our tour ended at a very specific and out of the way jewelry and art shop, presumably one that offers kickbacks to Alberto’s company. We finished the tour with a shot of Cacique.

Scultpures of Fat Women

Kids Play in La Sabana Metropolitan Park

Free for the rest of the evening, I decided to hop on TripAdvisor and find a place to have a nice farewell dinner. Restaurante Grano de Oro was rated #4 of 271 restaurants in San Jose and nearby, so I decided to give it a shot. Treated myself to an exquisite meal of chateaubriand (a large portion of filet mignon) with three sauces and a generous piece of tres leches cake for dessert. Delicious.

Tres Leches for One

Now just chilling in my hotel room. All packed up and going to bed early so that I can catch a taxi to the airport at 4:30am.

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