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San Jose

San Jose Travel Guide

Like most small nations, the bulk of Costa Rica's population is crammed into the capital city. San Jose lies in the Central Valley with an equally accessible location to the rainforest, volcanoes, the sea and any number of other beauty spots. Unless you are making San Jose your base, 2 or 3 days should be enough to cover the sights. Since it is more likely that you have come to explore Costa Rica for its ecological wonders or sweeping beaches and not its city, your stay in San Jose will likely be a short one coupled with several side trips. Regardless, it is a great place to start your adventure.

If there was ever to be a word to sum up San Jose it would be 'casual'. You will soon learn there is no need for your dinner suit around town. Dining is an especially dress down affair. The only place you may require some spit and polish action is if you wish to lose your shirt at the Melia Cariani or Melia Confort Corobici, both posh casinos baring a 24-hour license. 'Nightlife is pumping in the capital. In and around the city centre you will find a series of killer jazz clubs, funky bars and pulsating nightclubs. Not the sleepy town you might have thought the eco-proud country would have as its centre.

The Mercado Central is among the city's must-sees. The central market is alive with anything and everything to tickle your senses. Stroll amongst the exotic spice stalls, pick up a local handi-craft, try a taste of some local cuisine or just soak up the buzz of the people. To continue your enchanting tour of Costa Rica's capital step inside the glorious Teatro Nacional, the opulent performing arts theatre that captures audiences from around the globe. Of course the Plaza de la Cultura, dominated by Teatro, is fascinating in its own right. Riddled with street performers, cafes and souvenir stalls, the square is a great place to spend the afternoon people watching and soaking up the rays.

If museums and history are not your style, get your adrenaline pumping on the killer rapids of the Reventazon River or kayak down the Pucuare. Several white water adventures are available depending on your ability. Hire equipment and guides are plentiful around the Atlantic edge of the city.

So whether you make San Jose a stop gap between jungles treks or plan to stay a little longer to search out all its nooks and crannies, one thing is certain, San Jose will welcome you with a friendly smile and a great peep into Costa Rica - city style!

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