My City: San Jose, Costa Rica
June 13 2015
San Jose, Costa Rica's capital and largest city, is nestled between the Talamanca Mountains in the south and volcanoes in the north. It is part of the country's Central Valley, and having lived there for a year in 1998 as a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar, it is also part of my list of "old stomping grounds."
A return to San Jose is not complete for me without a stop to Costa Rica’s best gallery for local and regional art, Galería Namu. This gallery opened its doors the same time I studied there. Gallery owner, Aisling French, was an inspiration to me when I met her 17 years ago…and has continued to be over the years. I can soundly say she was one of the first to plant the seed of desire in me to create the kind of shop I have today.
Aisling was out and about traveling when I reached out to ask her to participate in our Summer Travel Series, but her son and co-owner, Conall, was pleased as punch to answer the questions in her place. Yay!
Although originally from Ireland, Conall's knowledge and exposure to the city is as comprehensive as any ticos'. So let's go explore San Jose with Conall now!
Treasures inside Galería Namu
Name: Conall French
Occupation: Co-owner of Galería Namu, San José
What is your favorite place to hang out in San Jose?
Parque Morazán - Downtown San Jose's largest park
What is the one thing first time visitors must-see in the city?
El Museo Nacional
The courtyard of the Museo Nacional
What place off the beaten path do you recommend visiting?
Fería Verde in Barrio Aranjuez on Saturday morning. It is an outdoor farmer's market with vendors selling organic produce, fresh and processed foods, local art, breakfast and lunch, and more!
What is a local delicacy?
Enyucado - Yuccas are indigenous to Costa Rica and very popular to use in cooking. This dish is made with mashed yucca that are formed into balls and then filled with cheese, meat or fish and then fried!
Your perfect day in the city always includes?
Una cervecita in Chelle´s (typical costa rican food in an authentic atmosphere)
Where is the best place to get a culture fix in the city?
Galería Namu and all museums
The re-established Museo de Jade
What is the one thing tourists always miss when they visit but shouldn't?
The Zoo (for better or worse)
What does San Jose city prides itself on?
Civic Activities – closed streets and parques to make way for arts stalls, concerts, Afro-Caribbean Culture fair, the FIA festival etc.
What fact would people be surprised to learn about San Jose?
The Old International Airport is now the Museo de Arte Costarricense and the tree lined La Sabana the run ways
Your favorite place to eat?
Tin Jo - Asian Fare
Lubnan - Lebanese Food