Tuesday, 26 January 2016

People watching on the Avenida Central in San Jose, Costa Rica

We had a full day in San Jose before our tour of the countryside started.  It was great fun strolling the pedestrian only mall, populated by both locals and tourists.   Street musicians were in abundance, as were artists and hawkers of a multitudinous variety of goods and foods.  Hawking is serious business in San Jose - there were hawkers even on the main roads at strategic stop lights, merchandising down the length of traffic, in between rows of cars stopped at the stoplight, risking loss of life and limb.

In the main pedestrian mall (Avenida Central) in downtown San Jose, it's a bit more lighthearted. There was live music, older musicians in the morning replaced by younger ones as the day turned into night.  The atmosphere was relaxed and relaxing, even the policemen were enjoying their ice cream or on their smart phones, reassuring tourists by their very presence that all is well.

The wonderful thing for tourists is that the major landmarks, museums are all on or just off this main drag - the Central Market, the National Theatre, the Gold Museum, the Jade Museum and the National Museum.  You can't get lost!

Jamming in the morning on the Avenida Central - by the time we returned to the same spot at noon, they were replaced by another group.

And the police had special perch for people-watching - a raised platform in the middle of the street to observe comings and goings...
It's not easy to escape the temptation of buying dreams - lottery ticket sellers guard every entrance!

Central Market entrance
The Central Market was fascinating, with a maze of alleys and shops selling everything from dry goods to wet ones, raw fish right beside cooked meat.

Ice cream is popular...

Pretending it's a gun?

Artists at work

This had to be the coolest hawker on the strip...wonder what else he was selling...
This one the most charming...

I think she was selling these flags

Very enthusiastic drummer, replacing the group of mellow old crooners that were here in the morning

People meeting people

The clock on the edge of the Plaza de la Cultura was at the centre of things - to the west, the Central Market; to the east, the museums; to the south, the National Theatre
The same Plaza transformed at night - salsa on the street

The same Plaza where the Gold Museum is located, across from all the fast food joints
The same Plaza where all the action is at night, with the National Theatre just on the southern edge
Another two blocks east is the 100 year old house which is now a restaurant - we ate here our first night in San Jose

And I can't help but post this candid capture - Love among the tropical fruits...

What a great people place!


  1. Viewing your pictures is like revisiting downtown San Jose. I bought some kind of fruit from a street hawker and ate it in the hotel. But didn't like the taste or the texture. A very interesting place indeed.

    1. I bought the sweetest mango ever from this man in the last photo later on. Then later on, on the way back to San Jose, we stopped by a roadside fruit stand - I bought another huge mango, also very sweet. It confirms what I'd thought all along - fruits are very juicy and sweet in Costa Rica!