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San José ( , ) is the capital and largest city of Costa Ricamarker. Located in the Central Valley, San José is the seat of national government, the focal point of political and economic activity, and the major transportation hub of this Central American nation.

Founded in 1738 by Fernandaz San José is one of the youngest capital cities in Latin America by year of conception, though it was not named capital until 1823. Today it is a modern city with bustling commerce, brisk expressions of art and architecture, and spurred by the country's improved tourism industry, it is a significant destination and stopover for foreign visitors.

The population of San José Canton is 346,799, though the metropolitan area stretches beyond the canton limits and comprises a third of the country's population. San José exerts a strong influence on a wider range because of its proximity to minor cities (Alajuelamarker, Herediamarker and Cartagomarker) and the country's demographic assemblage in the Central Valley.

The city lies at a mean elevation of 1,161 m above sea level, and enjoys a stable climate throughout the year, with an average temperature of 23C (73F) and annual precipitation of 1800 mm, more than 90% of it falling in the rainy season from May to November.

University of Santo Tomás, the first university of Costa Rica was established here in 1843. San José serves as the headquarters of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. The city is served by Juan Santamaría International Airportmarker, 23 km west of downtown, in the city of Alajuelamarker.

History

See: History of Central America.

San José was a small village of little significance until 1823. In that year, Costa Rica's first elected head of state Juan Mora Fernández, moved the government of Costa Rica from the old Spanish colonial capital city of Cartagomarker. This was a time of much optimism in the newly independent Federal Republic of Central America, of which Costa Rica was at that time a state.

Districts and barrios

San José is divided into 11 districts (distritos):

  • Catedral
  • El Carmen
  • Hatillo
  • Hospital
  • La Uruca
  • Mata Redonda
  • Meire
  • Pavas
  • San Francisco de Dos Ríos
  • San Sebastián
  • Zapote


The districts are divided up into a number of barrios (neighborhoods).

Image:San Jose districts.png|Districts of San JoséImage:San Jose barrios.png|Barrios of San José

San Jose Skyline.

Climate

San José City lies in the Torrid Zone and is in a tropical rainforest. However its elevation gives it a mild climate. Under the Köppen climate classification it features a Tropical savanna climate that borders on a Subtropical highland climate. The temperature ranges between . The rainy season is from April to late November, but cloudiness and rainfall can occur during the dry season. The weather is also very windy; this may decrease the apparent temperature even more. Relative humidity tends to range between 60% and 90%.



Tourist attractions

Central Avenue Blvd.
There are numerous tourist attractions around San José:
  • El Pueblo is a mix of more than 50 bars, clubs, restaurants, art galleries and shops. Lining the picturesque cobblestone streets within walking distance of several hotels and resorts, it is a lively place from 9 p.m. until dawn.
  • Calle de la Amargura in San Pedro near the University of Costa Rica has a wide selection of bars, restaurants and discos and caters to University students with food and drinks for relatively low prices. Pickpockets and low-level criminals are a cause of concern.
  • Pueblo Antiguo is a theme park with lots of fun and colors; it has many museums and is modeled after 19th century San José, and is located inside Costa Rica's only major theme park, "El Parque de Diversiones de Costa Rica".


Attractions

National Theater.


Both The National Theater (Teatro Nacional de Costa Ricamarker) and The Melico Salazar Theatre offer hectic calendars of cultural activities, featuring acting and dance groups as well as orchestral musical presentations throughout the year.

There are some cafés in the downtown area, located in the Central Edificio Correos building, The National Theater and The Melico Salazar Theatre, where national coffee is prepared and served in typical Costa Rican ways.

There are also many museums and other attractions offering alternative ways of exploring the city. One of these is the Gold Museum, which offers an unusual view of various gold artifacts of the ancient Latin American civilizations. An interesting attraction for the less adventurous travelers is the Lankester Botanical Garden at the outskirts of San José. This gardens and many attractions not far from San José can be visited on the multiple day tours offered in the city. For more information you may contact Expediciones Tropicales that for more than fifteen years has been providing this type of service. Other attractions include various bars and clubs which concentrate their activity on holding musical shows and events. One of them, for example, is "Sand Live", which is a massive inside/outside bar and concert hall which usually holds rock and extreme metal concerts.

Sister Cities

Escazu City, west San Jose


References

  1. History of San José, Costa Rica, by Spanish Abroad, Inc.
  2. Infoplease. San José, Costa Rica
  3. Total Population of Costa Rica by, for province, canton and district levels, December 2006, published by the National Institute of Statistics and Census(INEC)
  4. In San José, Costa Rica, effective metropolitan planning and selective infrastructure investment can improve the quality of life for the poor, by Rosendo Pujol, researcher of ProDUS on the World Bank Urban Research Symposium in Brasilia, Brasil, April 4-6, 2005
  5. BBC Weather. Average Conditions for San José, Costa Rica
  6. http://www.frommers.com/destinations/print-narrative.cfm?destID=42&catID=0042025074


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