Duration: 5 hours
Meeting Point: Parque de Francia
Finish Point: Jade Museum
Itinerary: San José’s rising star revolves around a rejuvenated arts scene, an eclectic and culinary panorama of fusion and Costa Rican tradition, carefully preserved postcolonial architecture and of course, the coffee culture. The revival is happening east of downtown and our start point in Barrio Escalante. What was historically an upscale residential area, is now sprinkled with art galleries, boutiques and creative eateries. Beginning with visits to two art galleries, one representing the modern scene and the next featuring more traditional work from the coffee-driven colonial era, journey back in time over the next several hours to see and taste the history of the city.
Strolling by a number of small cafes and restaurants creates a bit of an appetite, preparing us perfectly for a quick snack stop at one of neighborhood’s innovative restaurants that combines indigenous, traditional and modern tastes in an inventive menu. Did we mention coffee? Today’s Costa Rican society was built around the successful coffee industry over the last several hundred years. Tap into this deep local knowledge while learning some of the intricacies of coffee tasting and selection from a resident expert in a quaint coffee shop.
Not ready to end the day yet? Continue on your walk to hear why this nation has no army and emphasizes education over conflict while standing in the most appropriate place to do so, the Plaza de la Democracia (Democracy Square). Finally, step across the square to dig deeper into the past at the international award-winning Jade Museum, housing vast collections of pre-Columbian art and artifacts of outstanding quality and artistic ingenuity, many with deep meaning for local indigenous populations.
Packing essentials: refillable water bottle, comfortable walking shoes, sunscreen, light jacket.