Not packed in a bus. Not herded with a group. Self guided walk is the SAFEST way to sightsee while observing SOCIAL DISTANCING!

San Jose's Historical Churches (Self Guided), San Jose

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.
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San Jose's Historical Churches Map

Guide Name: San Jose's Historical Churches
Guide Location: Costa Rica » San Jose (See other walking tours in San Jose)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 8
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.9 Km or 3 Miles
Author: john
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Iglesia de Barrio Mexico
  • Iglesia de la Merced
  • Templo Biblico
  • El Carmen Iglesia
  • Catedral Metropolitana
  • Parroquia Nuestra Senora De La Dolorosa
  • Iglesia La Soledad
  • Iglesia Santa Teresita de Jesus
Iglesia de Barrio Mexico

1) Iglesia de Barrio Mexico

The Iglesia de Barrio Mexico is situated not so far away from downtown San Jose and one block away from the Children’s Museum. It’s a stunning building, which has been serving this neighborhood for more than 100 years. The main characteristics of the church are the neoclassical architecture which includes the two prominent domes.
Iglesia de la Merced

2) 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.
Templo Biblico

3) Templo Biblico

The Templo Biblico is one of the architectural masterpieces of San Jose. The history of this pink-cream building starts in the 1920s. It’s a beautiful place that welcomes every visitor and where everyone can enjoy the blessing of the Costa Rican padres.
El Carmen Iglesia

4) El Carmen Iglesia

The El Carmen Iglesia is a small church, but very important for the city. The front of the Church was inspired by Spanish churches, wisely proportionate with small towers and windows. Come here on Sundays and you can listen to some great melodies sung by the local choir.
Catedral Metropolitana

5) Catedral Metropolitana (must see)

The Metropolitan Cathedral of San Jose is located on Calle Central and 2nd Avenue in the capital city of San Jose, Costa Rica. It was built in 1802, and has been the seat of the Catholic people of the city since. Sadly, in the early 1800s, the location was damaged by an earthquake. In 1871, it was rebuilt into the current structure that stands today.

The new center of worship combines Greek Orthodox, Neo-Classical, and Baroque styles of architecture together in a way that honors the old and new portions of the church. The Doric style pilasters and neo-classical pediment with steeples located on the side of the building are a fine example of how that melding of architectural styles happened.

You will want to pay a visit to the inside of this church also. The finely tiled Colonial floors and stainless windows are quite lovely. Various biblical themes adorn the windows. You will also want to check out the wooden Cherubs and figure of Christ at the altar.

In 1983, the church received a special visit from Pope John Paul II. You will be able to see a marble statue of him standing guard over the garden on the building's north side. Two former archbishops, as well as a Costa Rican President are buried in the basement of the building.

Although not technically part of the cathedral complex, a small statue of Holocaust victim Anne Frank graces the pedestrian mall on the building's south side. It was donated by the Embassy of the Netherlands.

Opening Hours:
Mon-Sat: 6am-7:30pm; Sun: 6am-9pm
Parroquia Nuestra Senora De La Dolorosa

6) Parroquia Nuestra Senora De La Dolorosa

The Parroquia Nuestra Señora De La Dolorosa is a neo-baroque church in San Jose. The church is almost an identical copy of the San Juan cathedral in Puerto Rico, but with some minor modifications, such as the arched arcades that divide each other by doubled columns and statuettes of angels on the sides of the dome.
Iglesia La Soledad

7) Iglesia La Soledad (must see)

The Iglesia de la Soledad has been one of the architectural highlights of San Jose since 1909. The church boasts a neoclassical design with colonial touches. The church's prized possession is its colorful stained glass windows, which were imported from Switzerland. It is located in San Jose's Chinatown neighborhood and has been recently restored.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 6am-7pm
Iglesia Santa Teresita de Jesus

8) Iglesia Santa Teresita de Jesus

The Iglesia Santa Teresita de Jesús pays a tribute to a Carmelite nun who has done a lot for Latin America and for Costa Rica as well. The building itself was built in the 1930s, and has, since, been actively participating in the spiritual life of San Jose. The figure of Santa Teresita can be seen on the church’s roof.

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.
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
Barrio Amon Tour in San Jose

Barrio Amon Tour in San Jose

The Bario Amon represents one the oldest neighborhoods in San Jose. Designed by a Frenchman, Amon Fasileau, it grew to be a beautiful area with a rich architectural history. Take this walking tour to appreciate the splendor of this neighborhood.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 0.9 Km or 0.6 Miles
Souvenir Shopping

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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
Paseo Colon Tour

Paseo Colon Tour

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...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.7 Km or 3.5 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

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip

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Not to be confused with San Jose, the sunny California, San Jose, Costa Rica is the capital city of a wet (250 centimeters of rainfall per year) and colorful Latin American country renowned for its diverse craftsmanship (courtesy of the numerous indigenous tribes), splendid coffee and rich cultural...