A statue of Juan Vásquez de Coronado in Parque España, San José, Costa Rica.

Juan Vásquez de Coronado, a Spanish conquistador known for his role in the colonization of Costa Rica, is commemorated with a statue in Parque España, San José, Costa Rica. Photo © Christopher P. Baker.

The past few years have seen a blossoming of cultural appreciation for San José and the corresponding launch of several walking tours and regular cultural events. Here’s the pick of the litter:

  • Enamorate de tu Ciudad (Love Your City, tel. 506/2257-1214 or 506/8655-1793), sponsored by the Ministry of Culture and Youth, is held 9am-5pm every Saturday in Parque Morazán, Parque España, and Parque Merced, with traditional crafts, musicians, and other performers.
  • The GAM Cultural guide sponsors a monthly Art City Tour (5:30pm-9pm)—a nighttime event called “Noche en Blanco” (White Night), when museums, galleries, and other cultural venues offer free admission and the parks and streets host myriad artistic and cultural events. Choose from five routes with the option of a free electric bus, cycling, or walking. Expat resident Molly Keeler also offers the Costa Rica Art Tour (tel. 506/2288-0896) with visits to five artists’ studios.
  • For a private guided tour, call U.S. expat Stacey Corrales, who runs Barrio Bird Tours (tel. 506/6050-1952), with five walking tours: One is an overview tour ($22); others focus on art and the culinary scene, bar life for night owls, and one for photography buffs. Stacey also arranges custom tours.
  • You don’t have to speak Spanish, but it sure helps to best appreciate a cycling tour or NoctUrbano nighttime walking tour with ChepeCletas (tel. 506/2222-7548). Check the website for upcoming tours, in addition to a weekly free walking tour (9:30am Thurs., reservations required) from Parque Nacional.
  • By night, join a pub crawl with Carpe Chepe (tel. 506/8326-6142, 7pm Thurs. and Sat.), popular with young locals.

Excerpted from the Tenth Edition of Moon Costa Rica.