Skip to main content

Intro to San Jose, Costa Rica

Golden Room
The old international airport of Costa Rica is now the new home of the Museum of Costa Rican Art. The Golden Room used to be the diplomatic lounge. Murals of the history of Costa Rica from pre-Columbian period to the 1940s adorn the walls. Luis Féron Parizot, a French artist, carved the bas reliefs in stucco and painted them in bronze.

A section of the murals in the Golden Room shows Christopher Columbus among the indigenous  people of Costa Rica.

Que Clavo! Luis Tenorio Rosales, 2010, acrylic on canvas
One of the most evocative works of art at the museum is this painting of the crucifixion. 

Teatro Nacional de Costa Rica
This elegant theater in the Neo-Classical style was built courtesy of the tax levied on coffee. Thanks to the farmers who toiled in the fields this venue for the performance arts was completed in 1897. 

The Flutist, Jorge Jimenez de Heredia
In front of the National Theater is this beautiful marble statue of a flutist which was originally created for the Bank of San Jose. It was donated to the theater in 1996 as the statue was deemed inappropriate for display at the Bank. Jimenez de Heredia (Deredia) is the only Costa Rican artist whose work is displayed in the Vatican.
 
Los Heroés de la Miseria, 1909
Miseria is the most celebrated work by Juan Ramon Bonilla. It earned an award in the Biennale in Europe in 1907.  Bonilla donated Miseria to the state upon his return to Costa Rica only to be met with controversy after the founder of the National Academy of Fine Arts attacked his sculpture for its representation of poverty which was at odds with the interests of the bourgeois elite of the era. Disgusted with the local mindset and the method of instruction at the Academy, Bonilla went back to Europe. Miseria is made from Carrara marble.

Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de La Merced
The Church of Our Lady of Mercy is in the commercial heart of San Jose on busy Calle 12 which leads to the Central Market. It is characterized by its Neo-Gothic architecture which is particularly evident in its singular bell tower.

La Casona Tipica
For our lunch, we had a choice of fish, chicken or lengua (tongue). The platter included salad, gallo pinto (rice and beans) and my favorite fried and sweetened platanos. Lunch was included with our half day tour of San Jose. Coffee was not.

From the country that produces one of the best coffee beans in the world, this is how coffee is filtered in Costa Rica. No fancy machine. Just ingenuity.

Busy commercial center in San Jose. People were out and about shopping for Christmas presents despite the pandemic.

Sorbetera Lolo Mora
This is the oldest ice cream shop in San Jose. It’s been around since 1901. They serve one flavor which is a mix of vanilla and cinnamon. It’s located deep inside the Central Market.

The Central Market is also home to a number of popular "sodas" which are simple restaurants serving local cuisine. You can order from a menu or opt for the buffet. Prices are lower than a regular restaurant. Sodas are packed on weekends and you'll most probably be rubbing elbows with other guests. 

Also in the Central Market is a souvenir shop where you can buy among other things, the Costa Rican coffee filter. 

Floral arrangements with Santa Lucia wildflowers (Ageratum) are part of the traditional Tico new year celebrations. These pale blue and lavender flowers will bring prosperity to the receiver. You can’t give it to yourself and expect to be prosperous! 😂

Metropolitan Cathedral
Costa Rica has its share of dazzling cathedrals built in an array of architectural styles. The Metropolitan Cathedral is in the Neo-classical style and was built in 1871 and reinforced twice following earthquakes that threatened its structural integrity.

Pre-Columbian Gold Museum
This is one of the most interesting displays of pre-Columbian gold and other historical objects inside a vault in a subterranean museum under the Plaza de La Cultura.  More about the Gold Museum here: https://www.travelswithcharie.com/2022/02/all-that-glitters.html

San Jose offers many attractions which I’m looking forward to see on my next visit. These include the immense La Sabana Park, the National Museum of Art housed in a yellow palace, flea markets, pretty hillside houses, street art and the Jade Museum. 

Where to stay:
Holiday Inn Escazu
I opted to stay in Escazu because there are many dining and shopping options in the area. Right in front of the hotel is a row of restaurants and the Multiplaza Mall is a 10-minute walk away. It has a food court and several restaurants as well as ATM machines.

Where to eat:
Porto 8
Tempo Plaza in front of Holiday Inn Escazu
Seafood/Italian. Outdoor seating available.
Porto8.com

P.F. Chang’s
Avenida Escazu off of Prospero Fernandez Freeway
Asian cuisine
Strict sanitation for entering the restaurant. Caters to both take out and dine in.
This area where P.F. Chang’s is located is also home to several restaurants in an outdoor setting.

Sightseetseeing tour:
viator.com

Where to get your Covid-19 test:
There’s a laboratory next door to the airport that provides covid-19 testing and returns the result to your email address or phone number in less than an hour. A free shuttle bus from the airport goes to the lab every few minutes.

*****

Images by TravelswithCharie

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Filipino Struggles in History - Carlos "Botong" Francisco

In 1968, Antonio Villegas (then Mayor of Manila), commissioned Carlos "Botong" Francisco to paint the history of Manila for Manila City Hall. The series of large scale paintings was called  Kasaysayan ng Maynila  (History of Manila).  The paintings deteriorated over time and no attempt was made to preserve these historical canvases until 2013 when Mayor Amado Lim sent them to the National Museum for extensive restoration. Four years later, in 2017, Mayor Joseph Ejercito Estrada and the Manila City Council signed an agreement with the National Museum to leave the paintings at the museum so they may reach a larger audience in exchange for museum grade reproductions to replace the originals. Kasaysayan ng Maynila was later renamed Filipino Struggles in History and is now on display at the Senate Hall of the National Museum . Carlos "Botong" Francisco died in March 1969, a few months after completing the paintings. He is one of the first Filipino modernists and

The Art of Carlos Botong Francisco - Progress of Medicine in the Philippines

Pre-Colonial Period Pag-unlad ng Panggagamot sa Pilipinas (The Progress of Medicine in the Philippines) is a group of four large-scale paintings depicting healing practices in the Philippines from pre-colonial times to the modern period. Carlos Botong Francisco was commissioned in 1953 by  Dr. Agerico Sison who was then the director of Philippine General Hospital (PGH) together with   Dr. Eduardo Quisumbing of the National Museum, Dr. Florentino Herrera, Jr. and Dr. Constantino Manahan. These oil on canvas paintings measure 2.92 meters in height and 2.76 meters in width (9.71 ft x 8.92 ft) and were displayed at the main entrance hall of PGH for over five decades. Owing to its location, the artworks were in a state of "severe deterioration" at the beginning of the 21st century from exposure to heat, humidity, dirt, dust, smoke, insect stains, grime, termites and an oxidized synthetic resin used in an earlier restoration. These canvases were restored three times, the last

8 Heritage Houses of Iloilo

Lizares Mansion The province of Iloilo on the island of Panay has a rich trove of heritage houses, left over from the sugar industry boom in the 19th century. Iloilo also had the largest port in the Philippines at that time which facilitated the export of sugar to foreign shores and deposited money in the hands of the sugar barons. The barons dropped their earnings into the acquisition of properties in Negros and the construction of beautiful homes in Iloilo, many of which are located in the vicinity of the Jaro Cathedral. The Lizares Mansion was built in 1937 by Don Emiliano Lizares for his wife, Concepcion Gamboa and five children. The family fled to safety when World War II broke out and the house was occupied by the Japanese military. The family returned to the house after the war but left once again after the demise of Don Emiliano. It was sold to the Dominican order in the 1960s and was converted in 1978 to a private school, Angelicum School. The mansion now houses the