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Spanish in Coronado

How to Spend Your Downtime in Coronado

Coronado is a semirural town located right beside the large and growing still capital city of San José. San José is a city that invites you to delve below the surface and find its true treasures and delights. Often obscured by a hotchpotch of architectural styles and an eclectic mix of old and new, the true charm of San José requires a little effort on your part to discover it, but I guarantee that when you do, you will be very pleasantly surprised.

Sights to See

Museo Nacional

As with any city that is new to you, once you arrive and have settled in and figured out the location of your Spanish language school in Coronado, the first thing to do is to stretch your legs and take a wander around the big city. The Plaza de la Cultura is found in the heart of downtown San José and plays host to all manner of street life. There are performers of every kind, small bands and musicians and locals and tourists alike slurping on ice cream cones as they casually take in their surroundings. The Plaza is a roof to the underground Museo de Oro, the city's Gold Museum which contains 16000 pieces of pre-Columbine gold work. However, in San José, all that sparkles isn't gold, as the other popular city museum is the Jade Museum which houses the largest collection of jade stones to be found in the Americas. It also offers an interesting insight into the history of the pre-Columbian people and displays artifacts other than those made of jade.

About ten minutes walk away from the Plaza de la Cultura you will find another city Museum, the Museo Nacional, this time less luminous and more illuminating, as it has on show numerous different informative displays on the pre-Columbian people and the Costa Rican army. There is even a butterfly garden within the grounds and the house used to be an old army fort.

If you prefer to see a bit of Art in the museums that you visit, then back beside the Gold Museum is the Museo del Arte Costaricense, housed in what used to be San Jose's main airport terminal.

One of San Jose's most well-hidden attractions has to be the Simón Bolivar zoo in Barrio Amón. It houses all the normal zoo spectacles as well as an interesting collection of both dangerous and non-dangerous snakes. Snakes are a bit of a recurring theme round these parts as part of the University of Costa Rica has an institute and experimentation located in Colorado, just outside the main city, where they carry out research into producing antivenins.

Things to Do

Parque Nacional

If the city centre has you feeling a little claustrophobic then don't forget San José boasts any number of open green spaces and is also located on the fringe of Parque Nacional Braulio Carrillo which contains several dormant volcanoes and several crater lakes. Within the city and without you will find an abundance of tours on offer, both of the walking variety and those taking you further afield to see some of the volcanoes, coffee plantations and nearby waterfall gardens. Some tours even include a free massage! Within the city they might take you to see Parque España, a small space filled with green and quite often birdsong and containing a large statue of Christopher Columbus, given to the city in 2002 by his descendants in memory of his arrival at Puerto Limón. On the park's northeast corner you will find the colonial style Casa Amarilla, now home to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and closed to the public, but it is its outer area that provides the most interest. On its northeast corner you will find a graffitied slab of the Berlin Wall and immediately in front a Ceiba tree that was planted by John F. Kennedy in 1963.

Day Tripping

If you have had just about enough of the sightseeing San José has to offer then there are a number of pleasant and easily carried out day trips from the city that you can do. These range from the Arenal Volcano and Hot Springs, Rainforest tours and Trips to the National Parks to day trips to Jacó, stopping at Mirador del Cafetal to take in the breathtaking views of the Coffee Plantations and Costa Rican countryside.

As you can hopefully see, San José, on the doorstep of Coronado, has plenty to offer and you could while away hours alone or accompanied by your classmates from your Spanish school in Coronado simply wandering in the streets and Plazas and truly enjoying the surroundings in a city proud to be a little bit different.