Weaving its way north up the hill from the Parque España, the historic Barrio Amón leads into another old barrio, Otoya. Lined with stately buildings and the former homes of the Costa Rican coffee gentry, these two neighbourhoods are among the most attractive in San José. After decades of neglect they are currently undergoing something of a rediscovery by hoteliers and café and restaurant owners. More than a hundred years old, Amón is home to fine examples of “neo-Victorian” tropical architecture, with low-slung wooden houses girthed by wide verandas and iron railings. Striking examples include the Alianza Francesa building (C 5 & Av 7), the turreted Bishop’s Castle (Av 11 bis & C 3), and the grand old Casa Verde de Amón hotel (C 7 & Av 9).

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