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World Tourism Day in San José: Visiting some of the city’s best attractions

December 3, 2019

The Greater Metropolitan Area (GAM), which contains the capital of San José, is the most densely populated area in Costa Rica. We’ve covered fun things to do there before — from Feria Verde, to romantic activities, to nearby getawaysBelow are more options for things to do in the city. 

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San José hosted a celebration last Friday as part of World Tourism Day, an annual event when countries around the world raise awareness about the impact tourism has had on their communities.

The San José municipal government partnered with the National Chamber of Ecotourism and Sustainable Tourism (CANAECO), the Costa Rican Association of Tourism Operators (ACOT), the Costa Rican Chamber of Restaurants and Allies (CACORE) and the National Chamber of Tourism (CANATUR), to lead a historical rally in the National Park that highlighted the city and country’s role in the tourism industry. Tourism organizations and journalists were invited to participate.

“This initiative was born with the idea of showing people that it is also possible to do city tourism and to know valuable historical sites of our country,” executive director of CANAECO, Dayana Hernández, said.

The mayor of San José, Johnny Araya, emphasized that tourists come to Costa Rica for more than just the country’s beaches.

“Costa Rica is able to offer, thanks to its natural heritage and our landscapes, a complement of urban tourism since in the capital there is culture, history, commerce and above all, people, which is the most important added value that we can offer to the world,” Araya said. “The city is more attractive to other types of tourism, such as tourism for businesses and conventions, which diversifies the [tourism] sector and generates new product chains.”

After the speeches, four dancers wearing traditional Costa Rican dress put on a performance, which drew a crowd of onlookers passing through the park.

Organizers then directed a historical scavenger hunt throughout the city. Participants had a set of clues to locate 25 different historical buildings, monuments or statues throughout the city center.

Here are some of our favorites:

The Buenaventura Corrales Elementary School
The Buenaventura Corrales Elementary School, also known as the "Metallic Building," in San José. Nate Doughty / The Tico Times
The National Library
The National Library was one of the historic locations to find on the scavenger hunt. Nate Doughty / The Tico Times
The National Park
The National Park in San José. This park contains the National Monument of Costa Rica. Nate Doughty / The Tico Times
Statue of Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla
The statue of Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, who is credited as the father of Mexican independence. Nate Doughty / The Tico Times
Central Park
Central Park in San José, Costa Rica. Nate Doughty / The Tico Times
Costa Rica National Museum
Costa Rica's National Museum, the former home of the country’s military barracks. Nate Doughty / The Tico Times
National Theater of Costa Rica
Costa Rica's National Theater in San José. Nate Doughty / The Tico Times

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