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San José is notable among Latin American cities for its high quality of life.

City Overview

San José literally meaning "Saint Joseph" is the capital and largest city of Costa Rica, and the capital of the province of the same name.

It is located in the centre of the country, specifically in the mid-west of the Central Valley, and contained within San José Canton. San José is the seat of national government, the focal point of political and economic activity, and the major transportation hub of Costa Rica.

Founded in 1736 by order of Cabildo de León, the population of San José rose during the 18th century through the use of colonial planning. It has historically been a city of strategic importance, having been the capital of Costa Rica three times. More than 1 million people pass through the city on a daily basis. It is home to the Museo Nacional de Costa Rica, the National Theatre of Costa Rica, and La Sabana Metropolitan Park. The Juan Santamaría International Airport serves the city.

San José is known as well as for its security, level of globalization, environmental performance & public service. According to studies on Latin America, San José is one of the safest and least violent cities in the region. In 2006, the city was appointed Ibero-American Capital of Culture and the sixth-most visited destination in Latin America, ranking first among Central America.

Getting Around
San José has several internal transportation networks that connect the city districts and metropolitan area; as well as national transportation networks that connect the city to other parts of Costa Rica.

Buses
Private bus companies connect different areas of the city with each other and the suburbs. There are also bus services between Juan Santamaría International Airport and downtown San José.

Train
The Instituto Costarricense de Ferrocarriles, or the state owned railway institute, is in charge of all of Costa Rica's railways. In 2004, this institution began work on the establishment of an inter-urban railway network. This network would connect Tibás, Heredia, San Antonio de Belén, Pavas, San Pedro de Montes de Oca, Sabanilla, and Curridabat, among other locations.

Taxis
San José public taxi services complement the urban transportation network. Taxis are characterized by their red color and belong to registered cooperatives. There are other taxi services which do not belong to the registered system, there are also taxis from the airport that are usually orange.                           

Sightseeing
San José has a number of theatres, many with European-inspired architecture. These buildings serve as the city's main tourist attractions, not only because of their architecture, but because of the cultural, musical, and artistic presentations and activities, which include traditional and modern Costa Rican and San Josefinan culture.

The National Theatre of Costa Rica (considered the finest historic building in the capital and known for its exquisite interior which includes its lavish Italian furnishings and the Melico Salazar Theatre present drama, dance performances and concerts throughout the year. Nevertheless, other 'smaller' theatres can be found throughout the city and provide a large array of entertainment.

San José is also host to various museums. These museums allow visitors to view Costa Rican history, scientific discoveries, pre-Columbian era culture and art, as well as modern Costa Rican art. The city is also host to the nation's museum of gold and museum of jade.

The city is home to many parks and squares (plazas in Spanish); where one can find gazebos, open green areas, recreational areas, lakes, fountains, statues and sculptures by Costa Rican artists and many different bird, tree and plant species.

In addition Plazas, or town squares, are very prominent across San José's districts. The Culture Square — La Plaza de La Cultura is popular.

Bars & Clubs
About 70% of Costa Ricans live in the capital of San Jose and the surrounding central valley cities. Most of Costa Rica’s gay bars and clubs are in centre of in San José. If partying is your main interest then you should stay the longest in San José. Several of the bars operate a fixed fee paid when you enter and 

The bars and clubs bring a fairly amount of curious straight guys to them if you are into that. Tico’s (How the locals call themselves) from all over the region come into San José for its nightlife. The clubs are mainly on Friday to Sunday nights.

Cafes & Restaurants
The cost of different food is good. From cheap “cantinas” or small cafes to family restaurants called ' Sodas' to more up market healthy choice of places to eat.

Shopping
Mercado Central is one of the most recommended places for shopping in Costa Rica. The place is at the centre of the city and it has a variety available for shopping.Paintings, sculptures, ceramics, textiles, beads, jewelry, wood & leather products are popular.

There are lots of other malls including Avenida Escazu, City Mall, Avenida Central & Multiplaza Mall. Mercado Nacional de Artesania (National Craft Market) is popular to buy art. At Galeria Namu you can find the range of unique products in Costa Rica.

Main LGBT Events
The main LGBT event in Costa Rica is San Jose Gay Pride held around the 3rd week of June.In addition to the main pride event there are the events held in Manuel Antonio. These is a pride on the beach in July at Manuel Antonio which is the LGBTQ beach/jungle destination in Costa Rica. Located on the Pacific approximately 80km south west of San Jose.

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