Chances are that your holiday in Costa Rica starts or ends in San José, the capital of the country. The city is beautifully situated in the so-called Central Valley and surrounded by green mountains (where you can go hiking and mountain biking for example). And the weather is nice all year round, not too hot and not too cold ...
Yet travellers often prefer to skip a visit to the city. They then arrive in the evening and leave in the early morning again, because the city is big, busy, ugly and uninviting. At least that is what they’ve heard or read in their travel guide.
At Edventure, we often hear this too, but then convince our customers to start their journey in a relaxed way and stay in San José for two nights. Why? Because in and around San José there are also many beautiful and fun things to see and discover. You just have to know where to go! And that’s what Renee’s blogs are about!
Costa Rica is slightly larger than the Netherlands and has approximately 5 million inhabitants. Although the country is divided into provinces just like in the Netherlands, everything is actually arranged from the capital. San José, also called “Chepe”, is therefore really the beating heart of the country. Both economically and legally, but certainly also when it comes to culture.
In the last five years, a lot has been done to polish, beautify and clean San José, using the slogan “San José es destino, no es camino” (which means as much as San José is also a tourist destination, not just your first stop during your holiday). In the city center you can explore the up and coming neighbourhoods of Escalante, Dent and California where new and trendy bars and restaurants open almost every day.
You’ll also notice the increasing popularity of the city from the growing offer of Costa Rican art & design. More and more graphic designers, artists and crafters are selling their unique, handmade products in concept stores such as Tienda EñE or in their own store.
A few years ago, the best Costa Rican souvenire to take back home was probably coffee. Now you can choose from beautiful leather bags, handmade bikinis from KC Bikini’s illustrated with toucans or sloths (see photo!) or the cheerful posters and other design work of Hola Lola!
Made in Costa Rica is now really becoming a movement of young makers, professionals who are proud of their country and what they produce.
Edventure’s logo was designed by Priscilla Aguirres. She is a graphic designer, painter and founder of Hola Lola. She makes colourful, accessible work that shows typical Costa Rican culture with a twist. Her work can now be found in many stores in San Jose, and throughout the country. Nowadays you can also quickly pick up a poster or a set of postcards at the airport before you leave. That certainly wasn’t always the case. If you ask Priscilla about how it started with Hola Lola, she says it was certainly not easy. It took time and a number of challenges to overcome, before she was able to make a living out of it.
Whereas a designer she was first more mainstream focused on nature (with mainly a tourist target group), she now wanted to focus more on “the city” and the Costa Rican culture with Hola Lola. In addition, she mainly wanted to make what she liked. This also proved to be a hit with locals. Priscilla also emphasizes that it is important that the prices of her work remain accessible. Not only for the Costa Ricans themselves, but also for travellers who already spend their money enough on hotels, tours and so on. If you are looking for something special for the wall at home, a nice reminder of your trip through Costa Rica or the city of San Jose, then definitely drop by at the Hola Lola shop in Barrio Dent, a store that puts a smile on your face. Priscilla’s work can also be ordered online via: www.holalolashop.com.
In San José, we work together with various small-scale and rather unique accommodations. We offer something suitable for every budget, without compromising on atmosphere and appearance.
For example, do you like style, luxury and excellent food? Then staying in this special boutique hotel is for you!
If you prefer not to stay in the city, you can also start your journey in Alajuela or Ciudad Colon. Planning your trip? Fill your travel suitcase with our packages or example trips of your choice. If you need advice, please send us a message.