May 22, 2017

San Jose: Streets

 When we visited Ecuador in 2011, we both really liked the city of Quito and found we didn't have enough time there. So when going to Costa Rica I thought we should have a few days in San Jose at the end, hoping for a comparably gorgeous city..

It made sense to ask our guides about the city and what to do there, so I was a bit worried when Mario said he couldn't stand San Jose and spent as little time there as possible. Ok, that was fair, he was from the countryside and maybe just didn't like the big city. I was a bit more worried when Nico, who lives in San Jose, said he didn't really like it much....

uh oh.
 San Jose is the capital and main city of Costa Rica, with over a million people commuting in to work daily. This creates a bustling and busy city and a total nightmare for traffic congestion. Fortunately, there are several pedestrian corridors throughout the downtown area, and several covered markets. There are tons of illegal vendors selling DVDs and clothes in the streets while the markets reminded us of the bazaars of Istanbul and were fun to explore (so long as you kept your distance from the butcher shops at the back).
 Several of the downtown plazas are centered on churches and public squares, which offer nice views from the surrounding restaurants. On our last night there, a huge flock of hundreds of small parrots swarmed into the trees of this square and industriously began stripping many of the leaves from the palms.
We have covered some of the museums already, and will give some attention to some of the other attractions in the city, but would advise future travelers to allow a day or two at most for San Jose and spend the rest of your visit in the countryside.

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