I am so thrilled to be participating in the incredible series put together by my friend and fellow Multicultural Kid Blogs board member Annabelle of piri piri lexicon. In this series readers get a chance to tour neighborhoods from all over the globe – from France and the Brazil to Kansas City and San Francisco! Go to the main page for a full schedule of stops in this virtual world tour. Here is my glimpse of San Jose Costa Rica.
Although we live in the US, we frequently visit Costa Rica, where my husband is from. During our visits we spend the bulk of our time visiting family in the country’s sprawling capitol, San José. As is the case with many large cities, San José has many different areas; this is only a glance at those where we spent our time. Most tourists are more familiar with the beaches and rainforests of Costa Rica, so it is fun to introduce you to the capitol, where so many Costa Ricans live far from the surfboards and the monkeys (though not that far from the volcanoes!)
1. Playground / play area
I saw a number of nice playgrounds around San José, but they seem to be a relatively new concept. Back in the “old days” people tended to congregate in plazas, as in so much of Latin America. Now many Costa Ricans view the plazas as unsafe, and instead tend to hang out at the mall or on their own streets. This playground was new since our last visit, and the entire time we were there I never saw any kids playing. I mentioned this to a friend, who assured me that kids do play at the playgrounds, but only during certain times of day, to avoid the heat.
2. Local mode of transport
Once upon a time, everyone got around by bus. While for many people this is still the case, more and more people are buying cars. Because they are relatively expensive, it is unusual for a family to have more than one car, and they tend to be small. But everyone’s preference would be to have some kind of hardy 4 x 4, a necessity once you leave San José and travel onto the less reliable country roads. (Roads are notoriously difficult to maintain in tropical countries, plus Costa Rica is particularly hilly and mountainous). If you are without a car but don’t want to take the bus, many people don’t mind paying a bit extra for a taxi so they can get where they are going more quickly.
3. Typical house/building
4. Street nearby
This neighborhood is very quiet. Most people stay in their own homes, and usually the only person you see walking around is the “watchaman,” or neighborhood security guard. In another part of town, however, the scene is very different. There kids were usually hanging out in front of their houses and playing games in the street, and there was a much stronger sense of community.
5. School, nursery or other education facility
This photo is of a local elementary school. We happened to be there on presidential election day, when this photo was taken. The school was being used as a polling station, and you can see the yellow and red flags of one of the political parties.
6. Market, supermarket or other shopping outlet
While more and more people are shopping in malls and grocery stores, I couldn’t resist posting photos of the still thriving farmer’s markets, or ferias. In many neighborhoods there are also produce trucks that drive by so you can buy your fruits and vegetables right outside your doorstep!
You can see more of my farmer’s market photos in this Wordless Wednesday. You can also follow my Costa Rica board on Pinterest:
We hope you’ve enjoyed this tour of San José, Costa Rica! Be sure to visit the other stops in this tour of neighborhoods around the world!