Costa Rica San Jose (Page 1 of 4)
Teatro Nacional National Theater Pictures
On a city tour of San jose, one of the stops is in the downtown area to tour the National Theater (in Spanish, Teatro Nacional). Our guide also called it Teatro Centro. If this will be your first visit to San Jose, and if your Spanish language skills are minimal and you stand out as a tourist, it's recommended to take an escorted city tour. Downtown San Jose is one place you will NOT want to be wearing expensive jewellery. Hang tight to your good camera (see safety tips page), especially in the central market area.
Costa Rica San Jose Teatro Nacional / National Theater Teatro Centro
Located on one side of a city square in the heart of San Jose, the National Theater is a national treasure.
To the left, out of view, is the stately Costa Rica Hotel.
Inside, there is an inexpensive coffee house with an outdoor seating area.
The Cafe is open until around 8 pm. when there is a performance scheduled at the theater.
National Theater Reception Room - San Jose Costa Rica
The interior of the theater itself was fairly dimly lit, so rather than take pictures, I sat in one of the seats and listened to the guide's talk.
My notes show that the theater seats 1600, and that all the seats bolted to the sloping floor can be removed so this grand room can be used as a ballroom.
A hand crank is used to raise the floor of the then-bare room to stage level.
Teatro Nacional Reception Room : Woman Hand Paints Details on Wall
The theatre was built in the 1890s, with the goal of making cultural events accessible to all Costa Ricans.
Once, when Pavarotti was in concert here, our guide and his family bought tickets for $10 each.
Interiors are Art Nouveau, with lots of marble and murals.
As I sat on a circular bench to admire the details, several older teens lurked nearby.
I had noticed them following our group from the theatre proper, across the lobby and up the stairs to this room.
But nothing sinister about these young men: A short conversation revealed that their English language teacher sent them to sites like the Teatro where they would be able to interact with tourists to practice their English.
Scotiabank Downtown San Jose Costa Rica - Ambulance at Rear Teatro Centro
Our little tour group left Teatro Centro and walked around the north side, across a large plaza where children chased dozens of pigeons.
Some of our group (not me) chose to pay the entrance fee for a tour of the Gold Museum -- the Museos del Banco Central de Costa Rica -- located underground near where I was standing to take this photo.
I had planned to use the time instead to get some money from the bank, but no such luck:
Every second Friday is payday in much of Costa Rica, and this day, I later learned, was the first payday since before Christmas.
Every ATM and bank had long, long lines. I always have a spare stash - see travel currency tips page for more.
While I was there, an ambulance pulled up to the edge of the plaza, and paramedics attended to an older, local man who was feeling faint.
Health care is 'free' to Costa Rican citizens, and much touted by all for general top notch care. Hovwever, there are associated costs to citizens, as there are with any government health care plans. Costa Rica is one of the prime medical tourism destinations for all manner of dental and cosmetic as well as medical care, since the fees are usually much lower than many other countries.