The National Theater, “An Architectural Gem”
The National Theater located in the heart of San Jose, Costa Rica’s capital city is an architectural gem. It is a copy of the famous Paris Opera House. If you are traveling to Costa Rica on vacation and are in San Jose be sure and go see it or even better attend a performance. Costa Rica’s symphony orchestra plays on Friday evenings during symphony season.
The theater was built in 1897 when the wealthy coffee barons of Costa Rica decided they needed an appropriate stage for operas coming from Europe. The first opera performed was a magnificent performance of Faust and was attended by the President and a select, finely dressed audience.
In the rear of the National Theater is the Gold Museum, which houses hundreds of pre Colombian gold artifacts, some of which date back to 500 years B.C. Definitely this is one of the best museums in San Jose so make time to visit. Takes about one hour to see it all. There is an admission fee.
Outside the National Theater is the Plaza de Cultura and is a great place just to sit and watch the people walking by. Mid-day is good when the people are on their lunch break and the streets are bustling with activity.
San Jose is not a particularly pretty city. It’s noisy with lots of buses and cars and seems unorganized. It’s hard to find your way because the streets and avenues are not well marked. Best to take a taxi which is relatively inexpensive.