San José is the capital and the most populous city in Costa Rica, it is considered one of the most cosmopolitan cities in Latin America. Colonial neighborhoods, pre-Columbian art and fast-paced music run through the veins of San José. You will discover the Latin charm, marked by great contrasts.
The city of San José is the capital and largest city in Costa Rica, by both area and population. Founded in 1738 by Cabildo de Leon, San José was not named capital city until 1823. Today it is a sprawling metropolitan area that encompasses 44.62 sq km (17.2 sq mi) and a population of 365,799 people, which is roughly a third of Costa Rica's total population. San José is the economic center of Costa Rica, home to a rich culture, historic architecture, and an exciting night life.
In its historic center you have to see some colonial-style buildings and the great vitality of its commercial streets crowded by its local population and with little tourism stands out. San José also has several interesting museums, but you can't miss the Pre-Columbian Gold Museum, which is located in the Plaza de la Cultura.
Located in the Central Valley of Costa Rica, San José has an average elevation of 1,161 meters above sea level. Technically it lies in a torrid zone of tropical rainforest, but due to its elevation it has a mild climate. Temperatures range from 15 and 30 °C (59 and 86 °F), but it is also very windy so it can be cooler. The rainy season stretches from May to late November, but it isn't atypical for San José to experience rain and cloudiness during the dry season due to its elevation.
Within the city of San José there is a rich cultural history, including theaters and museums, and many bars and restaurants. Within one block you can find two of Costa Rica's most famous theaters, the Teatro Nacional de Costa Rica and the Teatro Popular Melico Salazar, and a variety of musical performances, acting, and art exhibits. The Gold Museum offers a rare collection of gold pre-Colombian artifacts from Latin American indigenous civilizations. The beautiful Lankester Botanical Garden is also located on the outskirts of the city.
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