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Embarking to paradise - San Jose, Costa Rica

San Jose, Costa RicaIf you are ready to embark on a getaway that entails a picture perfect paradise then you should definitely consider booking your next vacation to San Jose. San Jose, Costa Rica is a piece of paradise that allows visitors to get close to nature at its best; where you can treat yourself to stunning beaches and dramatic landscape, scenic mountain trails and stellar waterfalls, as well as charming towns and lovely people. But not all attractions are outside the bustling cities. San Jose, the country's capital, can be more than just a short stopover on your way to your ultimate destination. It offers visitors an insightful glimpse into the rich culture and history of this dynamic nation.

San Jose, located in the Central Valley, and located in the middle of the country, serves as a perfect start to explore Costa Rica's top destinations. Its central location and proximity to Juan Santamaria International Airport makes it a mandatory stop for most visitors, but only to get on board a tour company bus or as a transit point to a cruise departure. It is well worthwhile to arrive a day or two earlier and explore this unique city.

Located just 20 minutes away from the airport, San Jose can be a great place to take a walking tour. A walking tour of San Jose’s downtown area is called for because exploring the sites by car will make you only spend more time in traffic than sightseeing.

Start at Plaza de la Cultura where a towering palm tree, some benches and hundreds of pigeon to feed await. It is frequented by locals and makes for a pleasant place to sit back and relax on a late afternoon. Also, if you want to visit a museum then you should definitely put the Gold Museum on to your itinerary. At the Gold Museum you will find an impressive collection of gold figurines dating back to the pre-Columbian period. Not far away is the Teatro Nacional where you can visit for your evening entertainment, just make sure you get a ticket in advance to ensure admission.

If you are a history enthusiast, then proceed to walk along Avenida Central until you get to the National Museum. Before going inside, notice the many bullet holes are peppered around the structure's turrets - a testament to the building's origin as a former army barracks.

The museum is now home to a vast collection of pre-Columbian artifacts, gold jewelry and figurines, as well as some ancient stone spheres. The National Center of Art and Culture is the way to go to immerse yourself quickly in Costa Rica's culture.

However, if you are more of a shopping enthusiast then you can spend long hours along Avenida Central and its elegant shops. If you are looking for something more local, then better head to the open-air market of Plaza de la Democracia or the vibrant Mercado Central. For local crafts, experience the charming colonial atmosphere of Barrio Amon and its enchanting shops.

Finally, to take a break from your sightseeing, proceed to the end of Avenida Central to get to Parque La Sabana. This lush park is the perfect place to take your break from all the activities. If you are feeling adventurous, there are several sport facilities in the area and if you love art, you can visit the Costa Rican Art Museum nearby.