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The Rich Culture of Costa Rica

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The Rich Culture of Costa Rica
Costa Rica offers a variety of activities beyond the well-known allure of its volcanoes and beaches: fascinating museums, old colonial towns, archaeological sites, and surprising culinary experiences await visitors.
Photo by Cecilia Giovanni
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    San José’s must-see museums
    The Museo de Jade, created to safeguard over 7000 jade carvings, is an impressive archaeological museum, whereas the Museo Nacional offers a broader approach to history, one that allows for a butterfly garden. Also in San José, the Central Bank Museum is rather an underground complex designed by architects Edgar Vargas, Jorge Bertheau, and Jorge Borbón. Its main attraction is the Museo de Oro Precolombino, housing one of Latin America’s leading archeological collections. It is adjacent to magnificent Teatro Nacional, which opens its doors to visitors for a visit to its opulent mezzanine and its performance hall, with beautiful frescoes in the ceiling.
    Photo by Cecilia Giovanni
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    100% Costa Rican Crafts
    When it comes to true, authentic, creative crafts, the line between shopping and learning tends to vanish. That's what can happen when you visit galleries (boutiques) such as San José’s Kúkara Mákara, or eÑe, a fantastic store in Barrio Amón. But even in places like Puerto Viejo, in Limón, you can notice something’s happening with local aesthetics by setting a foot in LuluBerlu Art Gallery, where you can find anything from paintings to handmade jewelry or even an original swimwear line.
    Photo by Cecilia Giovanni
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    Costa Rica for History Lovers
    Most travellers come looking for outdoor experiences and amazing beaches. They’ll find them, without a doubt. However, at sites like Guayabo National Monument, Costa Rica’s largest archaeological find, uncovered in the late 1800s, visitors can realize the importance of this land before the Spaniards arrived, when it was inhabited by over 10,000 people. Those who are more interested in the colonial period, should head to the town of Orosi, home to the country’s oldest church, and a lovely religious art museum.
    Photo by Cecilia Giovanni
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    Edible culture
    Sometimes, food can become the fastest, most direct way to get to know a culture. In San José, venues like Kalú, where home roasted coffee beans are used to smoke salmon; Saúl Bistro, by fashion designer Saúl Méndez, or Bocana, where you can taste an array of local artisanal beers while admiring local artist Juan Gha’s murals, are fun shortcuts to Costa Rica’s capital’s lively spirit.
    Photo by Cecilia Giovanni
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    Very local food
    The most daring foodies desiring to eat like ticos should head directly to the Mercado Central and its informal dining spots, known as sodas. For fancier palates, local cuisine can also reveal itself in restaurants like Alma de Amón and Restaurante Whapin, strictly Caribbean.
    Photo by Cecilia Giovanni
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    A night-out in San José
    Barrio Escalante is the neighborhood to be when the night falls. For local beer, two safe bets are Costa Rica Beer Factory Inc. and Bocana. However, there are bars and venues for every taste, including La Uvita Perdida: Cantina de Vinos, a great gastro-bar where an impressive variety of wines is served along with tablitas, or Mediterranean nibblers.
    Photo by Cecilia Giovanni