In Costa Rica: San José

Both at the beginning and the end of our trip to Costa Rica, we spent several days in San José, the capital – a metropolitan area of about a million people, the political and economic center of the country.

We found wonderful museums.


Good museums – the gold and Pre-Columbian museums

We enjoyed the wonderful walking streets – and getting to watch people.


See the man with the rooster on his head?  Most people weren’t that unusual.

We liked the food.

I liked the Downtown Yoga studio, in a 115-year old building of beautiful walls and tiles and great yoga and Pilates instructors.


A morning class at Downtown Yoga

We liked our AirBnB:


Barry on our Airbnb patio

We liked the street art and the energy.



On a San José walking street

So whether you are an adrenalin-rush adventurer coming to Costa Rica for the white-water rafting, the Superman bungee jumping, and extreme zip lines or an avid bird watcher, don’t use San José as just your transit point.  Stay a few days in San José to enjoy the people, the food, and the museums.  Then head off to the wilderness.

Pura Vida, Renée


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About reneeriley

Our blog was begun as a way to share our experiences in China. From August 2010 to July 2011, my husband, Barry Kristel, and I were at our University of Hawaii Maui College sister school, Zhejiang Agriculture and Forestry University in Lin'an, China, a city considered rural because it has only 500,000 people! We had a wonderful time. Then in February 2012, we returned to teach this time at our other sister school, Shanghai Normal University, in a city of over 21 million people. We've made many discoveries. Did you know that now Chinese girls, at least the ones who go to university, for the most part feel they are luckier than the Chinese boys? Did you know that Shanghai saved over 20,000 European Jews during WWII? Do you know how Chinese university students would deal with problems that come up in Dear Abby letters? What's it like to be on the Great Wall of China? Do you know how many Chinese girls had their feet bound and why? And we have recipes from many of the places we've visited. Among others, you can find instructions on how to fry cicadas from one of my ZAFU students and how to make chocolate-Kahlua waffles from my brother Mike in Gainesville. You can also look back to our earliest entry to see what we experienced in Oaxaca, Mexico, in 2006 during the mainly peaceful six months of protest until the Mexican government sent in the troops. Between our stays in China, Barry and I have been on the Mainland U.S. visiting family, friends and Servas hosts as we traveled home to Maui. We share those experiences too. Welcome to our blog! Aloha and Zài Jiàn, Renée and Barry

5 responses to “In Costa Rica: San José”

  1. Rosita says :

    Costa Rica’s a very beautiful country, no? 🙂 and, plus, it’s an example of citizenship for the whole world. Oh if all of us respected human and animals rights like the Costa Ricans… We should learn a lot with other peoples worldwide, such as to be kind to both people and animals as the Costa Ricans. Sometimes, I feel I was Caribbean on a past life hahaha perhaps I lived in Trinidad & Tobago in a past life. Idk why, but when I do an internet test to discover where should I live, my result is ALWAYS the same: Trinidad & Tobago! the result is that, when isn’t bequia… Am I predestined to spent a time living in Caribbean? Who knows. I like to think yes, but if I do that, I’ll help poor potcakes. If you want to know what is a potcake, you can confer:
    is interesting that potcake dogs share so much similarities with BSDs (Brazilian Street Dogs), perhaps due to the same DNA heritage & colonization of countries
    I also discovered an info you may like it: it’s about poi dogs, an extinct Hawaiian dog breed:
    Personally, I think that modern Hawaiian dogs may have some poi dog traits, but it’s just a supposition, since I never visited Hawaii, but it’s a dream 🙂 am I right about Hawaiian dogs? Plz give me your opinion about that.

    • reneeriley says :

      Hi Rosita: That’s very interesting about an actual poi dog breed in Hawaii. I never knew there was an actual breed. Today in Hawaii, we refer to any mixed breed dog as a poi dog. We have lots of poi dogs. Thanks for the information. Aloha, Renée

  2. Rosita says :

    Hahaha so I’m correct 🙂 And I think interesting that your Nalu looks like a potcake. Perhaps she have the caliente Caribbean heritage? Who knows. But it’s interesting to say that BSDs looks like potcake, specially those from Brazilian North, perhaps due to proximity with Caribbean isles. I understand A LOT about dogs, their breeds & canine health. I understand them more than humans. I’ll, I decide, help street dogs wherever they’re, because compassion has no borders. And I have an ask to you: is true that Hawaiian beaches have cold water? I presume that, because Pacific Ocean is colder than Atlantic… Plz don’t forget of put here your opinion 🙂

  3. reneeriley says :

    Hi Rosita: In general, the Atlantic Ocean is supposed to be warmer than the Pacific, but it really depends where you are. When I’ve tried to go into the Atlantic in October from Ocean City, New Jersey, it was too cold for me. Where we are in Hawaii at about 22 degrees North latitude, the water is warm.

    According to –

    “The water’s warm enough to swim in at any time of the year on beaches in Hawaii. The Pacific islands’ average ocean temperatures for each month are listed below in degrees Fahrenheit and degrees Celsius.
    At Honolulu on Oahu, the ocean stays as warm as a heated swimming pool all year long.
    Ocean temperatures do differ by a few degrees throughout the Hawaiian Islands, though. The water off Honolulu, for instance, is typically 5 °F (3 °C) warmer than at Hilo on the Big Island.
    Yet Hawaii’s ocean temperatures don’t vary much from month to month. The water fluctuates by only 5 °F over the year off Honolulu. At Hilo, the temperature stays even steadier, varying just 3 °F (2 °C) annually.
    The Pacific Ocean at both cities reaches its highest temperature in September and October. By March, Hilo’s water has dropped to its coldest of the year, at 71 °F (21.7 °C), on average. The water during winter at Honolulu’s beaches typically maintains a steady 76 °F (24 °C) from January through to April.
    Average ocean temperature in °F
    Honolulu Hilo
    January 76 72
    February 76 72
    March 76 71
    April 76 72
    May 78 72
    June 79 74
    July 80 74
    August 80 75
    September 81 75
    October 81 75
    November 79 74
    December 77 73
    Annual 78 73”

    So what this means is that you should visit the Pacific Ocean – but come to Hawaii (not California) to swim. Aloha, Renée

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