A taste of Costa Rica travel blog

We awake to the bustling city sounds and discover we have a large balcony and a hot tub! Fits with the very spacious room and massive bed we have! Not necessarily the prettiest view to enjoy though.

Off early on a day of ‘culture’ to discover the National Museum is open at 8.30! A beautiful entrance through a tropical butterfly garden with stunningly, exotic and huge butterflies.

The museum is fascinating and housed in what was originally a coffee farm (German owned) then a military academy. Superb displays on the country’s history and massive recent development. Sadly, despite all this, children are still the most vulnerable group of the population. Surprising facts - known for its ecological record it still has many environmental contradictions - waste management being one & it is one of the world’s highest users of agrochemicals.

The cultural tour continued with The Jade Museum. Interesting how long ago jade was being fashioned into axes at first, then into more ornamental artefacts. Coffee stop then The Museo d’Oro ...Gold!

Massive safe-like doors protect the precious exhibits which escaped being plundered by the Conquistadors. Incredible how seemingly primitive indigenous people produced such intricate items through very complex procedures involving such skill and teamwork. Both the jade and gold items were used by Shamens too. These were powerful members of society accorded the skill of communicating with spirits through a secret languages & believed to be capable of healing the sick.

Time for a picnic lunch in the Plaza Cultura enjoying the children playing in the fountains, people watching and shooing the pigeons away. It is a lovely 18 deg and light sun - a little humid but perfect!

National Theatre next which is a gem of a building amongst, not to put too fine a point on it, the muddle of more recent and not very attractive edifices in this sprawling city. Most interesting fact is that the whole of the floor of the stalls area can be elevated to be the same height as the stage! This is done manually by 12 people using a mechanism beneath the floor, bit like a ship’s capstan. It is one of only 5 in the world!

Tea in the cafe there before a quick visit to the Catedrale Metropolitana. Not the most amazing but we have discovered that the photo in our guide book is incorrect!!!! After much confusion we checked with the guard who confirmed it. Oh dear Lonely Planet!

Dinner at Gran d’Oro restaurant in a hotel part of which is 113 years old. Wonderful setting and service.

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