historical addresses in San José, Costa Rica

In San José, the capital of Costa Rica, buildings and museums maintain the memories of the country

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History-filled café

Did you know that you could take this tour in just one day? Start with a visit to Don Juanito Café Histórico, a combination café and museum inspired by the Filibuster War, which reestablished and consolidated the foundations of the Costa Rican State. A wall containing the names of 4,000 soldiers invites diners to look back on history.

Avenida Segunda, nearby the Correos building

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Urban artery

The popular Via de San José, whose full name is Avenida Central Rogelio Fernández Güell, is the busiest thoroughfare in the city. Each year, around 3 million people circulate on it. It’s also the urban road most representative of Costa Rican urbanism, with 12 picturesque blocks filled with stores and historical buildings (like the Teatro Nacional and Gran Hotel Costa Rica).

 

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Memorable accommodations

Next to the theater stands the Gran Hotel Costa Rica. Built in 1930, the structure maintains little of its historical architecture. But this is no big deal: its timeless spirit is due to the visit of great personalities over time. An unforgettable guest: John F. Kennedy, the former president of the United States.

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Meeting place

Do you want to meet a 'Tico,' as residents are known? Sit on a bench at Plaza de la Cultura, located behind Teatro Nacional. It’s the most popular public space in San José, with plenty of vegetation, stairs, and a fountain. Underneath it, you’ll find the Museo del Oro Precolombino, Museo de Numismática, and an ample exhibition gallery. Built 35 years ago, it was remodeled in 2016.

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Architectural gem

In 1897, the bourgeoisie that became wealthy farming coffee built one of the structures most appreciated by Costa Ricans: the Teatro Nacional. Inside its walls you’ll find architecture trends, paintings, sculptures, and other works of art of historical value. It’s still the cradle of the performing arts in the country.

Avenida Segunda, between Calle 3 and Calle 5