San Jose is not a colonial quaint town! You will immediately note the relative lack of a colonial or even a pre-20th-century legacy, just a chaos of architectural styles, part Spanish, part Moorish, some even adobe with ornamental grillwork abutting the sidewalk and opening onto inner patios in the colonial style. Equally lacking is any vestige of an Indian heritage, such as gives Guatemala its characteristic feel. Almost every street corner has its vendor carts bursting with mangos, bananas, coconuts, pineapples, and papayas. And the neighborhood corner store (pulperia) remains the center of social life, as it was 200 years ago.
San Jose mirrors North America far more: commercial center with hotels, offices, and shops stocked with the latest fashions; narrow streets clogged with cars, trucks, and buses; appallingly ugly modern high-rise architecture; neon signs advertising Kentucky Fried Chicken, McDonald's, and Pizza Hut contending with billboards touting condoms, Mercedes, and the Moulin Rouge-style lures of Josephine’s, one of the nightclub. The Josefinos' (as San Jose residents like to be called) passion for cars has added to the detrimental effects.
Downtown San Jose's traffic scene is a choking nightmare of honking cars, buzzing mopeds, trucks and gaily painted buses spewing diesel fumes everywhere.
Attractions: the Gold Museum and the INBioparque Instirute providing the best introduction to Costa Rica natural wealth and, alone, worth a visit to San Jose. Activities: horseback riding, hiking and city activities like shopping.