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National Theatre. Plaza de la Cultura, Boulevard Avenida Central. San Jose. Costa Rica
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Kultgegenstände und Schmuckstücke im Museo del Oro y Numismática

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City map San José

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    San José

    San José, the capital of Costa Rica, is the country’s economic, political and culural center. A university city with a population of around 340 000, it’s a lively metropolis set amid the delightful scenery of Central Valley and conveniently placed for transportation purposes on the Panamericana dream highway. In its golden age of coffee in the 19th century, the country created the basis for its wealth and political stability.

    The positive development of Costa Rica and its capital continues to this day – and that includes the restoration of antique wooden mansions in Barrio Amón and the revitalization of inner-city parks and gardens. Thanks to its culture – and in particular its music – scene, San José is becoming increasing popular with young travelers. San José has a pleasant climate all year round and boasts some architectural gems, such as the Teatro Nacional (national theater) and the Correo Central (central post office). It is also the starting point for trips to beaches on the country’s Pacific and Caribbean coasts and also to nature reserves, where visitors can look forward to spectacular volcanic craters, and rainforest and cloud forest trails.

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    Top 10 sights in San José

    ListMap
    Barrio Amon in San Jose, Costa Rica
    Barrio Amón was once inhabited by coffee barons, and was restored into a desirable area to live

    Teatro Nacional (National Theatre)

    Avenida Central
    San José
    Costa Rica
    Tel. +506-201 011 00
    Show on map

    Opening times (guided tours):
    daily 0900 – 1700

    This magnificent building, modelled after the Paris Opera, was opened in 1897 and was to serve as a suitably sophisticated location to experience European culture. Even today, the theatre is considered one of the most beautiful buildings in the country, and outside of show times, it can be viewed on guided tours. Also recommended is a visit to the Belle Époque café, which has an extensive speciality menu.

    Museo Nacional (National Museum)

    Cuesta de Moras/Plaza de la Democracia
    San José
    Costa Rica
    Tel. +506-22 57 14 33
    Show on map

    Opening times:
    Tue – Sat 0830 – 1630
    Sun 0900 – 1630

    The National Museum moved into the former Bellavista barracks after the dissolution of the Costa Rican military in 1949. Today, the exhibitions rooms are accessed via a butterfly garden. The thematically arranged exhibition documents the history of the country in several rooms, ranging from the pre-Columbian era and colonial times to the present.

    Museo del Oro y Numismática (Pre-Columbian Gold Museum)

    Plaza de la Cultura
    San José
    Costa Rica
    Tel. +506-22 43 42 02
    Show on map

    Opening times:
    daily 0915 – 1700

    The Banco Central museum complex is located on multiple floors below the bustling Plaza de la Cultura. This includes the modernly designed exhibitions of the Pre-Columbian Gold Museum. The museum displays cult objects and jewellery from pre-Columbian times, as well as coins up to 500 years old and bank notes, the oldest specimens of which originate in the 19th century.

    Parque Nacional

    Avenidas 1/3, Calle 15/19
    San José
    Costa Rica
    Tel.: +506-25 47 62 72
    Show on map

    The National Park must be the most beautiful green space in San José and is home to a wide variety of plant and bird species. Locals enjoy using the wooden pavilions and picnic tables. There are several memorials in the park in honour of historic events and individuals from Latin America, including the large Monumento Nacional in memory of the battles for independence at Santa Rosa and Rivas in 1856.

    Museo de Arte Costarricense

    Calle 42
    San José
    Costa Rica
    Tel. +506-22 56 12 81
    Show on map

    Opening times:
    Tue – Sun 0900 – 1600

    The most important art museum in Costa Rica has been housed in this former airport building at the entrance to the Parque La Sabana since 1978. The permanent exhibition displays paintings and sculptures by Costa Rican artists from the 20th and 21st centuries; there is also a changing programme of temporary exhibitions to see.

    Barrio Amón (Amón district)

    Avenidas 7/11
    San José
    Costa Rica
    Show on map

    The Amón district is located north-west of the Parque Morazan, roughly between Avenidas 7 and 11. Before the houses became derelict, the area was once inhabited by coffee barons, bankers and politicians. Thanks to a revitalisation and traffic calming project, the district was restored into a desirable area to live.Many beautiful boutique hotels have opened in the renovated historical buildings.

    Museo de los Niños

    Calle 4/Avenida 9
    San José
    Costa Rica
    Tel. +506-22 58 49 29
    Show on map

    Opening times:
    Tue – Fri 0800 – 1630
    Sat, Sun 0900 – 1700

    The Children’s Museum, housed in the former central prison, was the first interactive museum in Latin America at the time of its opening in 1994. Today there are 40 rooms with cultural, scientific and technical topics to playfully explore. The building is also home to the National Gallery.

    Mercado Central (Central Market)

    Avenida Central/Calle6/8
    San José
    Costa Rica
    Show on map

    Opening times:
    Mon – Sat 0600– 1800

    This market hall and the stalls in front and behind are where Josefinos, the locals, go to shop. You can buy everyday necessities like fruit, vegetables, meat and fish, but also saddles and snakeskin boots. In the centre of the market hall, there are several small snack vendors who offer cheap and fresh local specialities.

    Parque Nacional Braulio Carillo (Braulio Carillo National Park)

    North Of San Jose 19 km
    San José
    Costa Rica
    Show on map

    Opening times:
    daily: 0800– 1530

    The national park is located around 20 kilometres north of San José. It is divided into two areas: On the western side are the volcanoes Cacho Negro and Barva, whose main crater lies at an altitude of almost 3000 metres. On the eastern side is the aerial tram, which takes visitors on a one-hour ride through the evergreen jungle canopy – an unforgettable experience.

     

    Río Pacuare

    10107 Tres Equis de Turrialba
    Costa Rica
    Show on map

    At Río Pacuare, around 120 kilometres west of San José on the road to Puerto Limón, there are several jungle lodges and rafting stations, where you can travel through the luscious landscape of the rainforest over white-water rapids. Good fitness and a little practice are prerequisites for these adventure tours.

    Good to know

    Country information

    Country overview

    Costa Rica is considered the showcase country of Latin America and a safe and peaceful travel destination. The capital city, San José, is the economic and political centre of the country. In addition to tourism and agriculture – mainly banana and coffee plantations – the high-tech industry is another major economic sector of Costa Rica. More than a quarter of the country’s land is protected, either as a national park, biosphere reserve, UNESCO World Heritage site or Indian reservation.

    The tropical paradise has rainforests and cloud forests, beautiful beaches along the Caribbean and Pacific coasts, and active volcanoes in the cordillera mountain range. Most visitors come for ecological activity or nature-based adventure holidays. It’s no wonder then that trekking through the rainforests, kayaking and rafting tours, and wildlife observation are highly popular activities. The eastern coast offers a laid-back, Caribbean-style pace of life, while on the western coast, the Nicoya peninsula is a popular destination thanks to its beautiful beaches. Among the most-visited attractions in Costa Rica are the Poás volcano, the Irazú national park and volcano, the canals of Tortugeuro in the wetlands in the north-east of Costa Rica, the Monteverde reserve near Santa Elena, and the Manuel Antonio national park on the Pacific coast near Quepos.

    Geography

    Costa Rica lies on the Central American land bridge between North and South America. The country borders Nicaragua in the north, Panama in the South, the Caribbean in the east and the Pacific Ocean in the west.

    The country is lined from north to south by the volcanic mountain ranges of the Cordillera Central and the Cordillera de Talamanca. The highest mountain in Costa Rica is Cerro Chirripó Grande at 3820 metres above sea level. San José, the capital city, is located on the central plateau.

    General knowledge

    Key facts

    Population: 4.9 million (2017)

    Population density (per sq km): 84

    Capital: San José

     

    Language

    The official language is Spanish.

    Currency

    1 Colón = 100 Céntimos.
    Currency sign/abbreviation: CRC (ISO code).
    Banknotes are available in the values 50,000, 20,000, 10,000, 5,000, 2,000 and 1,000 colones, and coins in the nominal values 500, 100, 50, 25, 10 and 5 colones.

    Electricity

    120 volts AC, 60 Hz. Plug socket types A and B. Adapters required.

    Public Holidays

    Below are listed Public Holidays for the January 2018 – December 2019 period.

    2018

    Año Nuevo (New Year’s Day): 1 January 2018
    Día de San José (St. Joseph’s Day): 19 March 2018
    Día de Juan Santamaria (Anniversary of the Battle of Rivas): 11 April 2018
    Semana Santa (Maundy Thursday and Good Friday): 29 and 30 March 2018
    Día del Trabajo (Labour Day): 1 May 2018
    Día de San Pedro y Pablo (Feast of Saints Peter and Paul): 29 June 2018
    Annexion de Guanacaste (National holiday, Guanacaste Day): 25 July 2018
    Virgen de Los Angeles (Feast of Our Lady of the Angels): 2 August 2018
    Asuncion/Día de la Madre (Ascension Day/Mother’s Day): 15 August 2018
    Día de Independencia (Independence Day): 15 September 2018
    Día de la Raza (Columbus Day): 12 October 2018
    Día de los Muertos (All Saints’ Day): 2 November 2018
    Concepción Inmaculada (Feast of the Immaculate Conception): 8 December 2018
    Navidad (Christmas Day): 25 December 2018

    2019

    Año Nuevo (New Year’s Day): 1 January 2019
    Día de San José (St. Joseph’s Day): 19 March 2019
    Día de Juan Santamaria (Anniversary of the Battle of Rivas): 11 April 2019
    Semana Santa (Maundy Thursday and Good Friday): 18 and 19 April 2019
    Día del Trabajo (Labour Day): 1 May 2019
    Día de San Pedro y Pablo (Feast of Saints Peter and Paul): 29 June 2019
    Annexion de Guanacaste (National holiday, Guanacaste Day): 25 July 2019
    Virgen de Los Angeles (Feast of Our Lady of the Angels): 2 August 2019
    Asuncion/Día de la Madre (Ascension Day/Mother’s Day): 15 August 2019
    Día de Independencia (Independence Day): 15 September 2018
    Día de la Raza (Columbus Day): 12 October 2019
    Día de los Muertos (All Saints’ Day): 2 November 2019
    Concepción Inmaculada (Feast of the Immaculate Conception): 8 December 2019
    Navidad (Christmas Day): 25 December 2019

    All information subject to change.

    Enjoy

    Hotels in San José

    ListMap

    San José is the centre of the country and almost all visitors will pass through at one point or another. From small guest houses to international chain hotels, accommodation is available in all price classes and levels of luxury.

    In the centre, it can get very lively at night. Otoya and Barrio Amón are quieter areas, where many boutique hotels have recently opened in the renovated historic buildings.

    Hotel Grano de Oro

    Calle 30, Avenida 2/4
    San José
    Costa Rica
    Show on map

    Category: Luxurious

    This luxury hotel, which is housed in a historic building from 1910, is considered one of the best hotels in Central America. The opulent interior in a colonial style harks back to the time of the coffee barons. The courtyard terrace, which is in use by the hotel’s outstanding in-house restaurant, is particularly beautiful.

    Casa de las Tias

    Del cruce Escazu-Santa Ana
    San José
    Costa Rica
    Show on map

    Category: Luxurious

    This little hotel is situated in the middle of a beautiful park, around six kilometres east of San José city centre in San Rafael de Escazú. The rooms are decorated with artwork by local artists. This charming establishment is recommended for everyone looking for a comfortable, quiet and authentic Costa Rican stay.

    Hotel Don Carlos

    Calle 9/19, Avenida 9
    Barrio Amon
    San José
    Costa Rica
    Show on map

    Category: Moderate

    This boutique hotel in the up-and-coming Amón district offers double rooms, family rooms and suites. It occupies one of the elaborately renovated wooden houses there. The reception can arrange tours of San José, and trips to Tortuguero and the Irazú volcano.

    Hotel Alameda Cariari

    Casa 22/Calle Miraflores Bosques de Doña Claudia
    Ciudad Cariari, Asuncion
    San José
    Costa Rica
    Show on map

    Category: Moderate

    This boutique hotel is located in a villa district near a golf course between Alajuela and San José. The ten rooms are bright and comfortably furnished, and the hotel also has an outdoor pool. The location and facilities make this hotel ideal for guests who want to relax before or after a long flight.

    Capital Hostel de Ciudad

    Avenida 16A
    San José
    Costa Rica
    Show on map

    Category: Budget

    This friendly and modern hostel near the Parque La Sabana is a popular choice for young guests and families. There are both ensuite rooms and dormitories with a shared bathroom. A well-equipped kitchen is available for all guests. Breakfast is included in the price.

    Discover

    On the coffee trail in and around San José

    ListMap

    Coffee used to play the role tech companies play today in Costa Rica: of foreign exchange earner, image creator and job engine. In its golden age of coffee growing in the 19th century, the once poor country created the basis for wealth and political stability.

    More recently, in 1989, a law was enacted to guarantee the consistently high quality of the coffee produced,  which stipulates that only Arabica beans may be grown – in mild temperatures and mostly at higher altitudes. Our guide to the coffee trail in and around San José.

    Café Franco

    Avenida 7, Casa 3166
    San José
    Costa Rica
    Tel. +506-40 82 70 06
    Show on map

    Opening times:
    daily, 0700-0900

    From among the nearly 400 locally grown coffee varieties, César Madriz picked just 14 for the café he recently opened in the trendy gastronomic district Escalante. He personally roasts the beans once a week. The 27-year-old barista learned his trade from his coffee producer father and runs the Franco alongside his business partner, Brandon Mais, who hails from San Francisco. The café has a pleasantly loungy atmosphere with a modern jazz soundtrack, laurel-wood tables and an exquisite little flower shop in the middle. It also offers tasty confections from its own bakery to accompany your cafecito, which comes in the form of espresso, cappuccino or macchiato from the  machine or classic black from the Chemex, a special glass carafe for a slow-pour and drip method that coaxes more flavor from the beans. If you like the sound of a one-hour coffee workshop, drop a line to info@franco.cr.

    Espíritu Santo Coffee Estate: Coffee tour

    Naranjo, Province Alajuela
    Costa Rica
    Approx. 50 mins northwest of San José
    Tel. +506-24 50 38 38
    Show on map

    Coffeetour:
    daily 0800/0930/1330 and 1500

    While on a visit to Germany two years ago, one thing in particular struck Vera Rojas Morales: “The Germans drink so much coffee!” Because it usually tastes “bitter and strong,” they often sweeten it, although “good coffee needs no sugar,” says the Espíritu Santo manager. Good coffee is what you get when, as in Costa Rica – and therefore also on her coffee plantation – the coffee ripens on volcanic soil, where it can develop a balanced acidity and fruity notes. Rojas Morales took over the more than100-year-old estate in the hills of the tiny village of Naranjo from her father. It encompasses 2300 small farms, often run by women, who bring their harvests to a cooperative. There, the beans are only fermented and then sold “green” to countries all over the world, where they will later be freshly roasted – at Starbucks, for example. Every step, from cultivation to sale (shop!) is described and illustrated on the coffee tour, which includes tastings. Visitors also learn that the estate has already met the official national target for 2021, which is to ensure 100-percent climate-neutral operation.

    Alma de Café

    Café at the Teatro Nacional
    Avenida Central, 5015-1000
    San José
    Costa Rica
    Tel. +506-20 10 11 00
    Show on map

    Opening times:
    daily 0900-1800 (except Sundays)

    All of them –  , from “Ike” Eisenhower, Che Guevara and Fidel Castro to Helmut Kohl and the Dalai Lama – wanted to experience it, the “soul of coffee” at the National Theater of Costa Rica, a building funded by the coffee aristocracy. Sitting at a Viennese-style coffeehouse table beneath a magnificent ceiling fresco, you will be served the country’s most famous beverage – from one of seven provinces, according to your preference. But first, it’s worth taking a look around the building and especially at a large mural dating from 1897, which is considered part of the nation’s identity even though it contains three errors: a banana plant growing the wrong way up and a white-skinned coffee picker on a plantation that’s right beside the ocean.

    Kuö Spa for a coffee body scrub and wrap

    Marriott Hotel San José
    La Ribera de Belen
    Heredia
    Costa Rica
    Show on map

    Coffee isn’t just an enlivening beverage, it perks us up on the outside, too. In the tasteful, tranquil surroundings of the Kuö Spa in the grounds of the Marriott Hotel, hotel guests and other visitors (please arrange an appointment) can let themselves be cocooned in the aromatic powder (body wrap) or treat themselves to a coffee body scrub. The coffee grounds come straight from the neighboring coffee plantation and are supposed to cleanse the skin (kuö in the indigenous language Cabécar) and nourish it with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. For a fresh, lively look rather than a caffeine-induced flush, maybe after a long flight.

    Café Central at San José’s Mercado Central

    Café Central
    Mercado Central
    Avenida Central, bzw. Av. 1
    San José
    Costa Rica
    Show on map

    Virtually everything colones (the local currency) can buy has been on sale at the central market in San José since 1880 – even livestock in the early days. For decades now, Costa Rican coffee has been on sale at the corner stand of the Café Central, right across from the entrance to Avenida 1. Just follow your nose and the promising rattle of the roaster as it constantly turns out freshly browned beans. Barista Patricia and the rest of the staff know all the nuances of the different varieties: What’s it to be? A mild, aromatic café negro from the Tarrazu highlands, or an intense caracolillo brewed from small, snail-shaped beans? Patricia first pours the coffee into a small pot of hot water and then lets it trickle through the traditional chorreador, a kind of cotton sock suspended from a wooden stand. Chorreadors can be purchased at the café as well as from market stalls selling household goods.

    Café Rica – Coffee liqueur from Salicsa

    Salsas y Licores de Costa Rica
    Escazú, Apdo 264-1017
    San José
    Costa Rica
    Tel. +506-22 89 41 21
    Show on map

    Café Rica (rich coffee) is to the Ticos, as Costa Ricans call themselves, what Kahlúa is to the Mexicans: a sweet, highly potent coffee liqueur made with genuine Arabica. Café Rica has been around since 1978, when it was first created by Edward Drew, a Jamaican and a keen cook who had relocated to his mother’s native country. The success of his company, Salicsa, and of its Golden Cream is founded on this very palatable beverage. The cream liqueur contains plenty of Café Rica, but unlike its Irish counterpart, Baileys, no chocolate extract. Café Rica makes a fine last-minute souvenir from the Duty Free Shop at Juan Santamaría International Airport in San José.

    Finca Rosa Blanca boutique hotel

    Finca Rosa Blanca
    3009 Santa Bárbara
    Costa Rica
    Approx. 50 minutes from San José and just under 30 from the airport
    Tel. +506-22 69 93 92
    Show on map

    To escape the hubbub and the congested streets of San José and enjoy the rich natural countryside close to the capital, check in at this country inn at the heart of an over 120 000-square-meter organic coffee plantation, where the coffee “cherries” are left to ripen at their leisure in the shade. From the infinity pool, which is fed by the hotel’s own spring, you can look across to volcanoes and down into Central Valley and San José. The 13 suites with their whitewashed walls, intricate Gaudí-style arts and crafts and ample terraces amid lush greenery invite you to linger longer. And there’s more: The fusion dishes made from ingredients grown in the hotel’s own organic gardens and served at the El Tigre Vestido restaurant as well as a guided tour of the plantation are sure to give you a lasting “coffee baron” feeling.

    Enjoy

    Discover Costa Rica’s rich diversity at the market

    Feria Verde, the popular organic farmers’ market, takes place every Saturday in San José. Farmers, cooks and artists head to Plaza Mayor in the morning to ply their wares and services. You can discover all the country has to offer on a single tour of the market: organic coffee, artisanal chocolate and a wealth of tropical fruits – the selection is vast and even includes jewelry and clothing. Local musicians round off the experience by providing a live soundtrack to the market.

    Website

    Open:
    Saturday: 0700-1230

    Plaza Mayor
    Aranjuez, San José
    Costa Rica
    Good to know

    Health

    Food & drink

    Due to the risk of intestinal infection, caution with drinking water and food hygiene is advised. Only use bottled water for drinking and cleaning your teeth. On purchase, check that the original packaging is properly sealed.

     

    Other Risks

    A number of insect-borne diseases are found in Costa Rica. This includes diseases such as the Zika virus, malaria, dengue fever, chikungunya and leishmaniosis. Effective protection against insects, such as mosquito nets, full-length clothing and insect repellent spray, is therefore advised.

    Caution is advised when swimming in the sea, as strong currents and waves can be dangerous even for experienced swimmers. The best option is to consult the locals about the current level of risk. If taking part in adventure activities such as rafting and trekking, be advised that safety regulations do not always meet European standards and proceed with caution.

    Good to know

    Phone calls & Internet

    Telephone

    Country code: +506

    Telefon

    The telephone network in Costa Rica is extensive and reliable. Public telephones usually function with telephone cards.

    Mobile telephony

    GSM 850 and 1900. Dual-band devices are required, but the roaming charges for using them can be high. It is cheaper to buy a pre-paid mobile phone or SIM card at the airport or in one of the many phone shops. Providers include Kölbi (kolbi.cr), Claro CR (claro.cr) and Movistar (movistar.cr).

     

    Internet

    Internet cafés exist in the larger cities. Most hotels offer their guests Wi-Fi Internet access. Internet providers in Costa Rica include Kölbi (kolbi.cr), Claro CR (claro.cr) and Movistar (movistar.cr).

    Enjoy

    Restaurants in San José

    ListMap

    The staple ingredients of Costa Rican cuisine are beans, sweetcorn and rice. These feature in the national dishes of gallo pinto and casuado, of which there are many different variants: For example, they can be eaten with or without sour cream, meat or plantain. In San José, there are eateries in all price classes. The cheapest place to eat is at sodas – small snack vendors that are usually family-run – and at the markets, including the Mercato Central.

    Many restaurants cater to the tastes of North American visitors (particularly the chain restaurants around the Paseo Colón), but even in San José, there is a strong sense of tradition and typical Costa Rican dishes are served with a modern twist. Many of the more interesting restaurants are in the Barrio Escalante.

    Saga

    Avenida Escazú
    11856 San José
    Costa Rica
    Show on map

    Price: Luxurious

    A gourmet mile has developed along the Avenida Escazú, west of the city centre. The most elegant of the many restaurants there is the Saga, which serves Mediterranean-inspired dishes.

    La Cultura Gran Hotel Costa Rica

    Avenida 2/Calle 1/2
    San José
    Costa Rica
    Show on map

    Price: Luxurious

    The Gran Hotel’s in-house restaurant also welcomes guests from outside the hotel. The menu features fresh and beautifully prepared international cuisine with local flair. The terrace offers a beautiful view over the city.

    Esquina de Buenos Aires

    Calle 11/Avenida 4
    San José
    Costa Rica
    Show on map

    Price: Moderate

    The interior of this inner city restaurant is reminiscent of Latin America in the 1930s, with a lot of dark wood, elegant accessories and waiters in classic uniforms. This is accompanied by a menu featuring all kinds of steaks as well as pasta dishes and a large selection of wines.

    Tin Yo

    Calle 11/Avenida 6/8
    San José
    Costa Rica
    Show on map

    Price: Moderate

    The dining rooms of this restaurant are themed by region – for example, there is a Chinese and an Indonesian room. Guests can order Asian dishes throughout the restaurant, and even vegetarians will not be disappointed.

    Kalú

    Calle7/Avenida 11
    Barrio Amón
    San José
    Costa Rica
    Show on map

    Price: Budget

    This café near the Parque Morazán has established itself as a meeting point for creative people from around the globe. It offers sandwiches, salads and burgers, including many vegetarian and vegan dishes. Readings and concerts often take place in the evening.

    Enjoy

    Shopping in San José

    Key Areas

    Today, as in times gone by, Costa Ricans shop for fruit, vegetables and other food in pulperias, typical corner shops that can be found on every street and are often open until late in the evening. In the centre of San José, several sections of road have been closed to traffic and converted into pedestrian areas. The most important of these is the Avenida Central, home to branches of international chains, boutiques and specialist shops. Outside the centre, there are exclusive shopping opportunities on the Avenida Escazú.

    Markets

    The biggest market in San José is located in the halls of the Mercado Central and the surrounding area. Here you can buy everyday necessities like fruit, vegetables, meat, fish and shoes, and even saddles and snakeskin boots. In the centre of the market hall, there are several small snack vendors who offer exceptionally cheap and fresh local specialities. In Aranjuez, north of the centre, the Feria Verde takes place on Saturdays (Sat 7–12:30; feriaverde.org), a trendy market that sells organic products as well as arts and crafts. At the Mercado Nacional de Artesania (Avenida Segunda), you can find ceramics, wood carvings, leather goods and other hand-crafted objects made in Costa Rica. Around the Museo Nacional (Avenida 2/Calle 15) too, you can find a large number of stalls selling everyday essentials and souvenirs.

    Shopping Centres

    The San Pedro Mall (tumallsanpedro.com), east of the centre, is the largest shopping centre in the country. It has four floors with a wide variety of shops, as well as leisure activities, cafés and restaurants. Other large shopping centres include the Multiplaza Escazú (multiplaza.com), the Mall Real Cariari (plazarealcariari.com) on the road to Alajuela and the Terra Mall on the road to Cartago (terramall.co.cr).

    Good to know

    Travel etiquette

    Social Conventions

    Costa Rica is home to almost five million people, including many immigrants from El Salvador, Nicaragua and Colombia. Most are practising Catholics, so religious rituals and holidays are still a part of everyday life today. School is compulsory for nine years, so illiteracy is rare. Children are welcome everywhere.

    Clothing

    In business environments, smart and fashionable clothing is expected, but in the private sphere, it is more relaxed. However, women should take care not to show too much skin. Swimwear should only be worn at the pool and the beach.

    Smoking

    Smoking is prohibited in hotels, restaurants, bars, buses, parks, markets and on beaches.

    Tipping

    In hotels and restaurants it is customary to tip ten percent.

    Discover

    Calendar of events

    Art City Tour

    prospective for February, May, July and October 2018
    Website

    Venue: Various venues in San José

    This event, a kind of “Long Night of Art”, takes place every three months. Then museums and galleries open their doors for a vibrant cultural programme. A shuttle bus runs between the different event venues. The exact dates can be found of the website of the organiser.

    Semana Santa

    28 March – 1 April 2018

    Venue: Various venues in San José

    The Easter festivities are one of the most important times of the year. On Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, the city comes to almost a complete standstill – except for the procession and worship services. These, however, are particularly grandiose and imaginative; even the ensemble of the Teatro Nacional gets out on the street.

    Festival Internacional de las Artes

    7 – 15 April 2018
    Website

    Venue: Various venues in San José and all over Costa Rica

    This large cultural festival takes place every year in Costa Rica, with an international focus in even years, and a national focus in odd years. The almost two-week programme includes music, lectures, dance performances and concerts.

    Enamorate de tu Ciudad

    June – July 2018
    Website

    Venue: Parque la Sabana and other venues throughout the city

    The festival, the name of which means “Fall in love with your city”, consists of a series of events organised by the Ministry for Culture and Youth. Concerts and workshops are on offer for everyone on the streets and in the parks of the city, ranging from Zumba and folk dance to painting and face-painting.

    Fin del Año

    25 December 2018 – 2 January 2019

    Venue: Various venues in San José

    The end of the year is celebrated abundantly between Christmas and New Year. Spectacular costume parades, horse shows and bull fights take place in the city.

    All information subject to change. Please check the dates on the relevant event organizer’s website.

    Good to know

    Best time to visit

    Today: Saturday, 21.04.2018 21:00 UTC

    partly cloudy

    temperature


    27°C


    wind speed

    6.25 mph

    humidity

    48%

    7 days forecast

    Monday

    23.04.2018

    28°C / 20°C

    Tuesday

    24.04.2018

    29°C / 19°C

    Wednesday

    25.04.2018

    29°C / 19°C

    Thursday

    26.04.2018

    28°C / 18°C

    Friday

    27.04.2018

    29°C / 19°C

    Saturday

    28.04.2018

    27°C / 19°C

    Sunday

    29.04.2018

    27°C / 19°C

    Climate & best time to visit Costa Rica

    Costa Rica has a tropical and sub-tropical climate, with high temperatures the year round, ranging from 22 degrees Celsius in the highlands to 30 degrees Celsius on the coast. The two climate zones are the Atlantic region, which is always wet, and the Pacific region, which alternates between wet and dry. In the highlands and on the Pacific side, the dry season lasts from November to April, while on the Caribbean side, rain can be expected all year round. During the rainy season from May to October it is often hot and humid and in rural areas, there are frequent transport delays caused by flooding.

     

     

    The peak season is from December to March, when Costa Rican destinations are a popular choice for Christmas and Easter. This means that the prices at this time are also higher, and the nature parks, beaches and hotels are full. For this reason, July and November are a good time to visit. Nature-lovers will enjoy visiting in January, when the whales reach the Pacific coast, and in the spring, when the orchids bloom and brooding birds can be observed particularly well.

    Enjoy

    Hotels in Marrakech

    ListMap

    Marrakech offers a wide range of options for accommodation, including cheap dormitory rooms in hostels near to the Djemaa el Fna, hotels that belong to international chains and luxurious boutique hotels in lovingly restored Riad buildings.

    Villa des Orangers

    6 Rue Sidi Mimoun
    Marrakech
    Morocco
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    Category: Luxurious

    The furnishings in the rooms and lounges of this fantastic city center hotel are old-fashioned but they offer modern standards of comfort. Ornaments made of dark wood and well-placed marble elements create a dignified ambience. Guests have access to three patios and a garden pool.

    Les Deux Tours

    Douar Abiad
    Circuit de la Palmeraie
    Marrakech
    Morocco
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    Category: Luxurious

    This complex, which has Arab-Andalusian-style architecture, is nestled in a palm grove (the Palmeraie) slightly outside the city center. The rooms are light and spacious, offering modern luxury. The on-site spa and fitness facilities are a welcome extra. The hotel has two excellent restaurants.

    Dar les Cigognes

    22 Rué de Berima
    Marrakech
    Morocco
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    Category: Moderate

    This hotel is part of the Sanssouci Collection chain and it is located near the Royal Palace in the Medina quarter. The building was formerly a merchant’s house, and its colorful wooden ceilings have been lovingly and faithfully restored. It is an example of traditional Moroccan elegance from the colonial period. Guests have access to an incredible roof garden.

    Riad 11 Zitoun

    Riad Zizoun Laktim
    11 Derb Lakdar
    Marrakesh
    Marocco
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    Category: Moderate

    Careful thought has been given to the decor and furnishings of this stylishly renovated Riad building, where guests are made to feel at home. The Djemaa el Fna and the Medina quarter are just a few minutes’ walk away. As well as being able to make lunch and dinner reservations, guests can also book yoga classes on the roof terrace.

    Riad Ta'achchaqa

    Sidi Abdelaziz
    19 Derb Ouayhah
    Marrakech
    Morocco
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    Category: Budget

    Despite the central location of this small guesthouse, once the heavy entrance doors close behind you, you can barely hear the hustle and bustle of the Medina quarter. Good, simple rooms at sensible prices.

     

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    Outdoor adventures in Vancouver

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    Wild woods, steep slopes, rough waters: Vancouver, the metropolis on the west coast of Canada, has all of these right on its doorstep. No wonder locals and tourists alike want one thing above all else: to get out into the great outdoors!

    Grouse Mountain: steep slopes on Vancouver’s home peak

    6400 Nancy Greene Way
    North Vancouver, BC V7R 4K9
    Canada
    Tel. +1/604-980 93 11
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    Admire a glorious, snow-covered mountain panorama as you stroll barefoot along the warm sands of the Pacific shore – in Vancouver, you can do just that! The mountains at the city’s back rise well over a thousand meters above sea level. Mount Fromme boasts spectacular bike descents, while neighboring Grouse Mountain is legendary for its truly sweat-inducing climb. The steep path to the summit covers a little less than three kilometers, but along the way, there is a difference in altitude of 900 meters to be overcome. The record time for the climb is 25 minutes, but it takes most hikers one and a half to two hours to reach the top. In winter the Grouse Grind trail is closed, but then the ski and snowboard runs (some of them extremely challenging) of Vancouver’s best-known mountain are open to winter sports fans. Another very popular activity is exploring Grouse Mountain on snowshoes along its marked snowshoe trails.

    Wilderness with skyscrapers: Stanley Park

    Borders to the northwest on downtown Vancouver
    Vancouver
    Canada
    Tel. +1/604-873 70 00 (Vancouver city hotline)
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    Directly bordering high-rise downtown Vancouver, it is larger than New York’s Central Park and – unlike most urban green areas – a genuine wilderness: Vancouver’s Stanley Park with its gnarled, centuries-old maple trees. Eagles circle above their crowns, while the occasional raccoon and coyote rustles through the undergrowth. Located on a peninsula extending out into the Pacific, the park is encircled by the Seawall, a coastal promenade popular with joggers and inline skaters. Beach volleyball is played on several public bathing beaches, and there are public tennis courts and a pitch-and-putt golf course on the park’s perimeter.

    Shopping at Canada’s biggest outdoor store

    130 West Broadway
    Vancouver, V5Y 1P3
    Canada
    Tel. +1/604-872 78 58
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    Unspoiled forests, rugged mountains, rough waters: Vancouver really isn’t short of challenging destinations for adventure lovers. But even for day trips, having the proper equipment is important: Set off without and you could soon find yourself regretting it! In Vancouver, the place to stock up on all the gear for shorter and longer expeditions into the wilds is giant outdoor store MEC. Sleeping bag, snowshoes, thermals, kayak or mountain bike – MEC has everything it takes to put a gleam in an eager adventurer’s eye. In the unlikely event that you don’t find what you need here, simply take a few steps around the corner to MEC’s neighboring outdoor specialists, which include a shop specializing in the iconic Swedish brand Fjällräven.

    Treetop trails: Capilano Suspension Bridge Park

    3735 Capilano Road
    V7R 4J1 Vancouver
    Canada
    Tel. +1-604/985 74 74
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    A narrow suspension bridge spans the steep gorge where, 70 meters below, you can hear the rush of the Capilano River. The Capilano Suspension Bridge is one of Vancouver’s best-known outdoor attractions. The same applies to the neighboring Cliffwalk, a semicircular series of walkways, bridges and platforms protruding from a granite rock face and on a level with the treetops. Thanks to an entire network of other platforms and bridges, you can enjoy a squirrel’s perspective of the forest. Next door, an exhibition of totem poles gives visitors an insight into the time when only the Canadian First Nations inhabited the area – the tradition of these gigantic sculptures is said to have originated in this region.

    Paths across the water: kayak tours

    Kayak and stand-up paddleboard rentals and tours
    Various locations, including Granville Island in the center of town and a little further out on Jericho Beach
    Canada
    Tel. +1/604-689 75 75
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    Many parts of Vancouver are located right on the coast and have long beaches and coastal promenades so conditions could not be better for exploring the area by kayak, canoe or stand-up paddleboard. Fantastic beaches, hidden coves and offshore islands all provided by a number of operators all year round. If you only want to venture out onto the water for an hour or two, then False Creek is the ideal place to paddle the waves against the high-rise downtown backdrop. An affordable alternative for visitors who prefer a sea trip that requires no personal exertion is the roughly ten-minute ride on the Seabus ferry, which shuttles back and forth across the fjord between downtown and north Vancouver from 6 am daily.

    Whistler: Excursion to the winter sports Mecca

    Roughly 90 mins (by car) north of Vancouver
    Canada
    Tel. +1/800-944 78 53 (Tourism Whistler)
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    Out of the way there! The bobsleighs racing down the Olympic track in Whistler reach speeds of up to 125 kilometers per hour. Here, bob beginners can even snag a ride down the ice channel with experienced pilots. For winter sports fans wishing to try out as biathletes, it’s worth making the 90-minute drive to Whistler, where beginner courses are available. At the 2010 Winter Olympics, the famous resort was the venue for several disciplines, and both professional and hobby athletes love its breathtaking ski and snowboard. In summer, Whistler beckons with mountain biking, rafting and zip lining, as well as relaxation on hiking trails and the golf course.

    Enjoy

    Nightlife in San José

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    The nightlife of San José is clustered predominantly to the south of the Parque Central, in the university district of San Pedro and in the Centro Commercial El Pueblo in Barrio Tournon. There you can find jazz cafés, salsa discos and clubs, as well as student theatres and simple bars.

    Steinvorth

    Calle 1/Avenida 0/1
    San José
    Costa Rica
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    The Steinvorth house, built in 1907, is one of the classic locations in San José nightlife. For many years it was occupied by a music club; nowadays, it operates as an art gallery. However, concerts still take place regularly and the café bar still serves as a meeting point for night-time revellers.

    La Avispa

    Calle 1/Avenida 8/10
    San José
    Costa Rica
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    This club is a meeting point for the LGBTQ+ community. There the party never stops and you can often find concerts or themed parties mid-week.

    Jazz Café San Pedro

    Contíguo al Banco Popular, San Pedro de Montes de Oca
    San José
    Costa Rica
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    This bar is home to jazz, blues, R&B and Latin American folk, played mostly live on its small stage. Although the club has a capacity of only 220 people, it still attracts famous musicians. A second jazz café is located in San Rafael de Escazú.

    Vertigo im Centro Colón

    Paseo Colón Calle 38/40
    San José
    Costa Rica
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    The top address for techno and house is located in the Centro Colón office block. The club has space for more than 800 guests on two dance floors.

    El Cuartel de la Boca del Monte

    Avenida 1/Calle 21/23
    Barrio California
    San José
    Costa Rica
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    Students and other young people have congregated in this bar since the 1980s. On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, there is usually a live band playing, and events often take place on other days too.