Going to the dentist could never be so fun. San José, Costa Rica is a very interesting city due to its artistic, cultural and historical offer. So now you can come to your appointments at Mario Garita MP Dental Clinic, get an Invisalign, All On 4, Veneers or Laser Teeth Whitening and at the same time take the trip to Costa Rica.

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Then, in the meanwhile, enjoy any of the 10 wonders in San Jose that, listenign to our patients, we recommend now to make cultural trips.

 

Tip Number 1. Teatro Nacional

Teatro Nacional at Night

Constructed in the late 19th century, when San Jose’s population was only around 19,000 people, the theatre presented many private performances. Its only real competition was the Teatro Mora (also called the Municipal Theatre, or Teatro Municipal), that existed for many years before the National Theatre, until it was destroyed and deemed unsafe by an earthquake.

To finance the construction of a theatre suitable for name “National Theatre”, the President of Costa Rica, José Joaquín Rodríguez Zeledón decided to place a tax on coffee, then the principal export product. Later, one coffee planter begged the government to remove the export tax on his product and put it on rice and beans (also principal export products of the time).

There were many problems during the early period of construction. However, the construction errors were corrected by an Italian engineer who was brought in to direct the process. It took seven years to finish the theatre, and the inauguration took place on 21 October 1897.

The front of the theatre features statues of Calderón de la Barca and Ludwig van Beethoven. There are several monuments by the entry walkway including Frédéric Chopin. The inside features the mural Allegory of Coffee and Bananas by Milanese artist Aleardo Villa

Tip Number 2. Museo Nacional

Vistamuseocr

The Museo Nacional de Costa Rica is the national museum of Costa Rica, located in the capital of San José. It is located at Calle 17, between Central and Second Avenue, Cuesta de Moras, in the Bellavista Fortress, a crenallated, ochre colored building opposite the Legislative Assembly of Costa Rica. The fortress was built in 1917 and was originally a military barracks: the exterior walls still have many bullets lodged in them from the country’s 1948 civil war. It became the site of the museum in 1950.

The entrance on the east side leads to a courtyard displaying pre-Columbian artifacts and cannons from the colonial period. The museum is organized thematically in a counter clockwise direction from the entrance with artifacts related to Costa Rica’s geological, colonial, archaeological, religious and modern history. The museum had a notable collection of pre-Columbian stone tables (metates), ceramics and a gold room “Sala de Oro” in the northeast tower. The colonial room has a notable collection of furniture and is designed to emulate that of an actual quarters in the 18th century. The museum also has an exhibit of the 1987 Nobel Peace Prize awarded to Óscar Arias, and a bust of José Figueres and butterfly garden in the outside “Plaza de la Democracia”.

Tip Number 3. Museo de Jade

Metate. Jaguar. Pacifico Sur. Costa Rica (2)

There are over 7,000 items on display in the Jade Museum in Costa Rica. Most of these are dated between 500 BC and 300 BC. During that period, the jade trade was at its peak. Pre-Columbian cultures traded with the Olmecs and Mayans to acquire enough raw materials to satiate the demand.
Most of the jade pieces are images of animals and depictions of societal organization. Jade artwork and jewelry were used for ornamentation and often emphasized religious or shamanic rituals.
To demonstrate the importance of jade in the region, the museum highlights aspects of jade artwork with six exhibits:
• Threshold: A look at the ecological and historical contexts that lead to the rise of jade societies.
• Jade: The craft, economics, and trade of jade stone and artifacts in ancient Mesoamerica.
• The Day: Daily life of Pre-Columbian societies in Costa Rica.
• The Night: The uses of jade in religion, war, and burial rites.
• Memory: A celebration of the cultural music, history, and technology.
• The Collection: Jade art from three regions: Greater Nicoya, Central Region, Greater Chiriqui.

There are other works of gold, ceramic and stone to be seen alongside the jade pieces. Items on display in the museum are enhanced with detailed graphics, maps, and textual explanations. Visitors are encouraged to brush up on their language skills. Most of the information is presented in Spanish.

Tip number 4. Barrio Escalante

Casa en Barrio Escalante

Formerly a residential enclave, the streets of this increasingly hip neighborhood are now lined with dozens of restaurants, cafés, bakeries and bars. The largest concentration of eateries stretches along Calle 33 and has been dubbed Paseo Gastronómico La Luz (La Luz Restaurant Promenade) in honor of a small grocery store that used to stand on the street’s corner facing Avenida Central. Crowds of foodies descend on Barrio Escalante on weekend evenings, when finding parking becomes a very tall order.

Tip Number 5. Barrio AmónCalle 11 San José CR

North and west of Plaza España lies this pleasant, historic neighborhood, home to a cluster of cafetalero (coffee grower) mansions constructed during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In recent years, many of the area’s historic buildings have been converted into hotels, restaurants and offices, making this a popular district for an architectural stroll. You’ll find everything from art-deco concrete manses to brightly painted tropical Victorian structures in various states of upkeep. It is a key arts center. 

Tip Number 6. Museo de Arte Contemporáneo

The Museum of Contemporary Art and Design strives to provide visitors with enough interesting and unique exhibits to capture and hold their attention. The museum features four exhibit rooms, an auditorium, and the Pila de la Melaza, which is an open air theater where all sorts of performances and other events can be witnessed.

A visit to the museum would not be complete without seeing its extensive library. The Museum of Contemporary Art and Design has catalogued and impressive collection of books and art. Some are produced by the museum itself while others have been collected from other institutions.

The Museum of Contemporary Art and Design features a permanent collection of art which contains more than 900 pieces. This collection of art has incredibly variety, containing pieces which range from paintings and etchings, to sculptures, to photography and video art. In addition to the permanent art, rotating and guest exhibits are also on display. No matter what your tastes are, an evening exploring the Museum of Contemporary Art and Design will be highly rewarding. There is always something interesting to behold at the museum

Tip Number 7.  Mercado Municipal de Artesanías

The Municipality of San José inaugurated the Municipal Handicraft Market on March 19, 2018, a space in which at least 90 artisans will offer their creations to tourists visiting Costa Rica.

“This market is going to become an urban icon, and we fulfill the commitment to give San Jose a true handicraft market,” the mayor of the Costa Rican capital, Johnny Araya, said at an official event.

This modern space for artisans is located in the heart of San José and replaces the stalls of artisans who were located on Calle 13a, where they were for years under conditions not suitable or comfortable for visitors. The new market, with a cost close to 4 million dollars, was inaugurated today after years of conflict and dialogue with a group of artisans who did not want to leave 13a Street, since they considered it a strategic point for the visit of tourists to be located next to the main museums of the capital.

On March 17, the Municipality demolished the old market of Calle 13 bis and moved the belongings of the artisans who were still there to the new space, some of whom refused to leave.

The Municipal Handicraft Market is located in the center of San José next to the Plaza de las Garantías Sociales, a few blocks from the National Theater and the main museums such as the Gold Museum, the Jade Museum and the National Museum.

Tip Number 8. Museo de Oro Precolombino

Oro precolombino de Costa Rica

The Pre-Columbian Gold Museum (in spanish: Museo del Oro Precolombino) is a museum in San José, Costa Rica. It is located in a subterranean building underneath the Plaza de la cultura and is managed by the Banco Central de Costa Rica. The museum has a substantial collection of over 1600 artifacts of Pre-Columbian gold dating back to AD 500.The collection includes Costa Rica’s first coin, the Media Escudo which was minted in 1825, animal (notably frog) figurines, amulets, earrings, erotic statuettes and El Guerrero, a life sized gold warrior figure adorned with gold ornaments in a glass case. In Costa Rican history, gold was considered a symbol of authority and the items are testament to the craftmanship of the Pre-Columbian period. There is also a replica of a pre-Columbian grave containing 88 gold objects which was unearthed on a banana plantation in southeastern Costa Rica in the 1950s.

The Museo Numismático (National Coin Museum) is also located in the same building on the ground level and features displays dating back to 1236, including coins, banknotes and unofficial items such as coffee tokens. The “Casa de Moneda” is also located on the ground level with information on the history of minting in Costa Rica and displays illustrating its development.


Tip Number 9. Artist Bird (walking tour through San José)

This tour will wind through graffiti-painted streets, parks and bohemian neighborhoods of downtown San José, Costa Rica with a focus on the top artistic places to visit in San José.

We will pass through Barrio Amon, City Center and Barrio La California visiting  ​a viewing leading works from masks to political graffiti that only our on-the-ground guides would know.

Our team is committed to downtown culture and revitalization, and we will share our insider culture knowledge with you. We will discuss Costa Rica’s history and current events through the eyes of our artists. We’ll introduce you to these creative leaders if we meet along the way.

 

Fruits and Vegetables in the Central Market since 1880

Tip Number 10. Mercado Central

San José Central Market (in spanish: Mercado central) is the largest market of the city of San José, Costa Rica. Established in 1880, it occupies an entire block on Avenida Central, 250m northwest of the Parque Central.

The doughnut contains a complex of narrow alleys with over 200 shops, stalls, and cheap restaurants called sodas. A huge range of meats, fish, fruits, vegetables, coffees, and other products are for sale including snakeskin boots and cowboy saddles, herbal remedies, flowers, cooked meals, souvenirs, and local handcrafts. Tens of thousands of people visit the market daily.

Two blocks to the north is the Mercado Borbón, which specializes in food, with numerous butchers, fishmongers, and fruit vendors located there