Heavily damaged in the 1888 fire that destroyed much of San José, the historic neighbourhood of Barrio Amón was rebuilt during the wealthiest and most architecturally creative decades of the coffee boom. Today, the old mansions display an ornate mix of neo-colonial, art deco, federalist, Porfiriano, and other era architectural styles. Many of the buildings are quite well maintained, and several have been remodelled into hotels, restaurants, and cafes. The neighbourhood is quite nice during the day, attracting businesspeople and bohemian types, but gets a bit sketchy after dark – stay alert.
Things to see in San Jose
Instituto Costarricense de Turismo (ICT)
Puente Juan Pablo II, lado este, sobre Carretera General Cañas
Tel: 2299 5800.
ICT has offices all over the country, including a booth at the Juan Santamaría International Airport, and next to the Gold Museum downtown. Hours vary, but ICT offices are usually open Monday to Saturday 0900-1700.