Just east of the Parque Central, Plaza de la Cultura (Av Central, C 3/5) is one of the few places in San José where you can sit at a pleasant outdoor café – the Café Parisienne, under the arches of the Gran Hotel Costa Rica on the plaza’s western edge – and watch the world go by to the accompaniment of buskers. The Neoclassical Teatro Nacional rises elegantly over the plaza’s southern side while the (rather poorly signposted) joint-entrance to the city’s underground tourist office and Museo de Oro Precolombino can be found on the plaza’s eastern edge.

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