We thought that since we’re staying just outside of San Jose, that we should really see the main tourist sites.
We walked from the condo to the bus stop, which is about a 25 minute walk. We actually went to the wrong one first, but we asked the guy waiting, and he pointed us a few blocks away to the right bus stop.
An interesting thing about bus stops and, well, everything really in Costa Rica, there are no signs. You just have to know that you’re at the right stop. There are also no schedules posted for when the buses will come.
But one came, and we got on. It was only $0.75 each for us to ride into downtown San Jose. The ride itself was only about 45 minutes. But, we did get to see this couple across the aisle who was totally making out. The whole way. I didn’t know people actually kissed like that. Yikes.
The bus dropped us off, and thanks to the handy dandy map from Hotel Aranjuez, we knew where to go to see the National Theatre.
We see it, and try to take a nice picture of it, but there are trees in the way, then a big crane comes. So, we don’t quite get the picture we envisioned, but c’est la Vie (or in Costa Rica: pura vida).
We decide to go in. When we walk in, we see that it’s not the National Theatre. It’s a cathedral. Yes, those crosses on the roof that you see were hiding behind the trees for us. And, we were a bit off on which street we were on. As I’ve said, there are no signs.
But, this way we got to see the Cathedral of San Jose as well.
From there it was only about another 2 blocks to the National Theatre. We’d read about it, and learned that it was built at a time when only 19,000 people lived in San Jose. So it’s pretty small, but a beautiful building.
From there it was on to the Gold Museum (Museo del Oro). We’d heard about this museum from David and Cora, and were pretty excited to see it.
It’s exhibits are of pre-Colombian gold artifacts. The trouble is, it’s really hard to find. We kept looking for it, and looking for it. David and Cora had told us that it was in the basement of a bank. So, we knew to be looking down.
We finally decide to go back to the hotel by the National Theatre and ask someone. But, we didn’t need to. It turns out that the Gold Museum is actually underneath the plaza by the National Theatre.
We thought that it was interesting how the price for foreigners is 4 times higher than the price for nationals. That is a bit excessive to me. But, we’d heard wonderful things, so we went anyway.
The Gold Museum also holds the Numismatics Museum. The challenge, for me, is that the displays don’t really have descriptions. I think it’s just one more thing that you’re supposed to know–like street signs.
Maybe native Costa Ricans do inherently know these things. Maybe that’s why it costs less for them.
Anyway, the museum is really nice. It houses a nice collection of ancient gold artifacts. It is really amazing to see how these were made and from what materials. It’s amazing how creative people of all ages are. (By “ages” I mean both numerically and historically of course.)
I recommend that you visit the Gold Museum if you’re in San Jose. It really has great exhibits, and the architecture of the building itself is something to appreciate.
(And, it’s always fun to walk into a vault.)
From there it was back on the bus to the condo. We waited at the stop where our bus dropped us off. We knew that we were looking for a bus that said “Guacima”. But, after three buses had come and gone all named “Belen”, we decided to ask if it was in the same area.
Jonathan asked the driver if he went to Guacima. He said no. When the next bus came and said Belen again, Jonathan asked again.
This bus driver told Jonathan that there were two different Guacimas. And asked which one he meant, Guacima Abaho or Guacima SomethingElse. Jonathan said Guacima Abaho.
Where he got that we were supposed to go to the “Abaho” of the two Guacimas, I’ll never know.
But after a bit of a nervous bus ride (for me as I was frantically searching for landmarks to reassure myself we were going the right way), he was right. We saw a landmark, and pulled the bus cord. And we were home (after a short taxi ride from the grocery store).