North and East of Downtown

DESTINATIONS north-and-east-of-downtown

Immediately northeast of downtown lie Barrio Amón and Barrio Otoya. Both neighborhoods are repositories of historic houses that have escaped the wrecking ball; many now serve as hotels, restaurants, galleries, and offices—a few are even private residences. Where these barrios begin and end depends on who's doing the talking. Locales on the fringes of the city center prefer to be associated with these "good neighborhoods" rather than with downtown. Barrio Escalante, to the east, isn't quite as gentrified but is fast becoming fashionable.

The sprawling suburb of San Pedro begins several blocks east of downtown San José. It's home to the University of Costa Rica and all the intellect and cheap eats and nightlife and copy shops that a student or student wannabe could desire. But away from the heart of the university, San Pedro is awash with malls, fast-food restaurants, and car dealerships—although it manages to mix in such stately districts as Los Yoses for good measure. To get to San Pedro, take a $3 taxi ride from downtown and get off in front of Banco Nacional, just beyond the rotunda with the fountain at its center.


Museo de los Niños

Three halls of this museum are filled with eye-catching seasonal exhibits for kids, ranging in subject from local ecology to…

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Jardín de Mariposas Spyrogyra

Spending an hour or two at this magical butterfly garden is entertaining and educational for nature lovers of all ages.…

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