San Jose Costa Rica is not only the capital city of the country, but also the name of the province that holds it. It is the 3rd smallest of the country’s provinces, yet it contains the most people, largely due to the population of the capital, which is one of the provinces 20 cantons. San Jose borders the provinces of Alajuela, Heredia, Cartago, Puntarenas, and Limón.
A major draw to San Jose Costa Rica is its wonderful climate year round; it’s generally around 75 degrees Fahrenheit and calm. But like anywhere else in Costa Rica, it rains! Owning an umbrella and a sweatshirt wouldn’t hurt. There is variation in the climate, however. Because of its proximity to the Pacific coast, as well as extreme altitude near Mount Chirripó, certain areas experience more distinct dry seasons or other various rain patterns.
The capital city of San Jose was established in 1823, after the people of Alajuela and San Jose fought off the people of Cartago in a civil war to keep independence from the Mexican empire. A large portion of the Costa Rican population lives in the capital, and gives the same appearance as any modern, major city. People line the streets, attending to the mass quantity dining, activities, and goods contained nowhere else in Costa Rica! Though the urban setting offers a different perspective on Tico life, some people frown upon the westernization the city has experienced in recent years. Extremely commercial areas now display Americanized shopping centers and fast food restaurants. Tourists frequent the capital, though it is usually not the mainstay of their trips. Since the international airport is located nearby in Alajuela, many people pass through town for a few days on their way out to national parks and beaches.
Outside of the capital, the San Jose Costa Rica province begins to look more like typical countryside. There are many beautiful residential areas, coffee and sugar cane plantations, and farms of other popular crops.
Pérez Zeledón, the southernmost province in San Jose Costa Rica, is the 7th largest of the 81 cantons in the country, and covers 40 percent of the land in its province. Mountains border the canton in the west, south and east, with a large, lush valley running through its center, making Pérez Zeledón a beautiful place to settle down!
A very cool place to visit is Dr. Alexander Skutch’s Los Cusingos Neotropical Bird Sanctuary, located in San Isidro de El General. He personally bought the land in the 1940s and protected it from deforestation. Visitors can walk the scenic forest trails, which are especially great for viewing rare species of birds! Dr. Skutch wrote countless books about his experiences in Costa Rica, his land being a primary inspiration. He passed in 2004, but part of his land can still be viewed for a fee through Tropical Science Center (http://www.cct.or.cr/).
San Jose is one of the most diverse provinces in Costa Rica, offering a variety of activities, climates, and adventures, based on its urban and rural settings. Due to the proximity to the international airport, San Jose is extremely accessible and should be explored by any visitors to Costa Rica, and considered for settling by anyone looking to move to this paradise!