Paseo Colon Tour (Self Guided), San Jose

The Paseo Colon is a modern area in San Jose where you will find most of the business centers and foreign embassies, as well as other architectural highlights and tourist attractions. At the end of Paseo Colon is Sabana Park, which stands out among the local metropolitan communities because of its proximity to the business district and its large area dedicated to recreation. Take this tour to explore the beauty of this modern area.
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Paseo Colon Tour Map

Guide Name: Paseo Colon Tour
Guide Location: Costa Rica » San Jose (See other walking tours in San Jose)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 6
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.7 Km or 3.5 Miles
Author: john
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Museo de Ciencias Naturales La Salle
  • Contraloria General
  • Museo de Arte Costarricense (MAC)
  • Parque Metropolitano La Sabana
  • Museo Historico Tecnologico
  • Iglesia de la Merced
Museo de Ciencias Naturales La Salle

1) Museo de Ciencias Naturales La Salle (must see)

The Museo de Ciencias Naturales La Salle is a major attraction in San Jose. Located on the corner of Parque la Sabana, which is next to the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, this interesting little natural science museum features one of the best butterfly collections you can find in the country. Since Costa Rica is a very tropical country, with lots of rainforests, they are blessed with lots of beautiful creatures to show off.

Butterflies are not the only thing to see, however. You can find reptiles in collection jars and a rather weird collection of stuffed animals, which have aged a bit through the years. A leatherneck turtle, the biggest reptile on Earth, is on display here as well. You will also want to check out the grouper they have on display because it has to be one of the ugliest creatures ever found. So if oddity and eclectic displays are your thing, you need to pay a visit to the museum. The cost of admission is $1.00, so it will be hard to beat that deal.

Why You Should Visit:
Excellent place to learn about the planet's biological diversity!

Operation hours:
Mon-Sat: 8am-4pm; Sun: 9am-5pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
Contraloria General

2) Contraloria General

The Contraloria General’s building stands out as one of the tallest buildings in San Jose. It belongs to the branch of the government that controls the use of public funds to improve the management of public funds and to promote political and civilian control. The nearest attraction is La Sabana Park.
Museo de Arte Costarricense (MAC)

3) Museo de Arte Costarricense (MAC) (must see)

The Museo de Arte Costarricense has been built into an old air terminal building at the Parque la Sabana. At one point in time, this location was the main airport for the whole area. The airport has since been moved to a new location.

The museum features the paintings of Costa Rican artists, with permanent exhibits including the works of Teodorico Quiros, Margarita Berthau, and Enrique Echandi. There are also some works on display from artists outside the country, such as paintings from Diego Rivera and Alexander Calder.

Pay attention to the overall architecture here, for there are many wall paintings that portray the history of the lives of the Costa Rican people. The wood carvings are also quite stunning, as many of them are overlaid in gold.

Why You Should Visit:
The curating of both the permanent & temporary exhibits is unsurpassed – you could spend hours with either, as well as with the magnificent mural in the upstairs lounge.
This museum is free and surely one of the art highlights of San José, besides being a wonderfully kept historic place!

Don't miss the sculptures and beautiful garden outside.

Opening Hours:
Tue-Sun: 9am-4pm; Free admission
Parque Metropolitano La Sabana

4) Parque Metropolitano La Sabana (must see)

La Sabana Metroplitan Park is one of San Jose, Costa Rica’s biggest and most prominent parks. It is 72 hectares in size. It is very near all the city’s core districts, so it offers a real needed green space for this busy city. The locals often call it the “lungs of San Jose” just because of the green space here.

The park was officially opened to the public in 1977, though its origins go back two centuries. A local priest of the 1700s, named Mata Redonda actually donated the land to the city that year. It has been used by people for relaxation and sports since. It has now, then, had over 150 years to develop the location. For a while, the country had its first international airport located here, which was called the La Sabana International Airport. It has since been moved elsewhere. The park now contains the country’s National Museum and Art Museum.

For the sports enthusiast, this may be your location in town. It has several athletic fields, a shooting range, and a running and skating track. There is certainly something for everyone here.

Why You Should Visit:
Great spot to view the river and Cork Harbour

Visit over the weekend and you'll find there are numerous sports games going on and hundreds of people just enjoying the park – great atmosphere!
Don't miss the outdoor sculpture garden as it is quite large and interesting as well.
Note: Women are advised not to go alone into the wood areas or in the evenings, around or after sunset.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Museo Historico Tecnologico

5) Museo Historico Tecnologico

The Museo Histórico Tecnológico del Grupo ICE was born in the year 1993, in order to recount the history of electricity and telecommunications in Costa Rica. The Museum contains documentary files, historical background, old communication devices and many more items.
Iglesia de la Merced

6) Iglesia de la Merced (must see)

The Iglesia de la Merced is one of the most beautiful churches to be found in San Jose. It is one of the oldest standing churches in town also. The tall rising tower of the location can be seen all over town. The overall influence is of German and neo-Gothic architecture and it is one of the most recognizable buildings in San José.

You will want to go in and see the stained glass windows, as they are some of the most beautiful in town. There is also a stunning wooden ceiling here, which is ornately carved. The altar area is also quite well done is design, so take a moment to go in, if you get a chance.

The location is also well known for the park located next door. It is a local hangout for the Nicaraguan people of the city. There is also a giant stone sphere located here which is of local interest. The sphere dates back to the very beginnings of the country and is as historic as any Mayan or Aztec piece to be found in the neighboring countries surrounding Costa Rica. The spheres remain a mystery because no one is for certain what they mean. They are also a bit of a mystery because they are perfectly round, and no one knows how that was accomplished so long ago.

Be aware that the adjacent park is not a good area to be in the late afternoon or after dark.

Walking Tours in San Jose, Costa Rica

Create Your Own Walk in San Jose

Create Your Own Walk in San Jose

Creating your own self-guided walk in San Jose is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Souvenir Shopping

Souvenir Shopping

It would be a pity to leave San Jose without having explored its specialty shops and bringing home something truly original. We've compiled a list of gifts and souvenirs, which are unique to San Jose, that a visitor might like to purchase to reflect their visit.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.8 Km or 1.7 Miles
Historical Architecture Tour

Historical Architecture Tour

From a small village of little significance during the Spanish invasion, San Jose grew to become a densely populated cosmopolitan city. The city of San Jose was mostly built from the profits of the coffee-export business, and that is why its architecture represents a mix of European and Latin American features. Take this tour to discover some of the best historical architecture in San Jose.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.1 Km or 1.3 Miles
Shopping Tour in San Jose

Shopping Tour in San Jose

Shopping in San Jose is undeniably a fun experience, with a large selection of downtown department stores, traditional marketplaces and souvenir shops selling handicrafts. So if you are looking for something authentic, original and made in Costa Rica, then take this tour to visit some of the acclaimed shopping venues of San Jose.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.5 Km or 0.9 Miles
San Jose's Historical Churches

San Jose's Historical Churches

San Jose's churches are vivid examples of historical and architectural value. Whether you are a keen church goer or simply interested in places of spirituality from either architectural or historical standpoints, this tour will take you to the most important religious sites of the city.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.9 Km or 3 Miles
Museums Tour

Museums Tour

Although San José is one of the youngest capital cities in Latin America, its museums display a huge collection of traditional and pre-Columbian art. This walking tour should give you the perfect opportunity to explore the museums in the city and to familiarize yourself with its culture.

Tour Duration: 4 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 8.5 Km or 5.3 Miles
San Jose Introduction Walk

San Jose Introduction Walk

San Jose enjoys secluded location in the Central Valley of Costa Rica with its skyline dominated by the majestic Talamanca Mountains, hugging the city to the south, and a volcano ridge to the north. Local architecture reflects strong Spanish colonial influence manifested in places like Catedral Metropolitana in Calle Central, and the ornate, neoclassical National Theater presiding over...  view more

Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.3 Km or 2.7 Miles

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