By the time I woke up this morning some of the group had already left for the airport but I said goodbye to the remaining early leavers while enjoying the free pancakes that the hostel seem to put on every morning. I was eager to explore San Jose today so as soon as the rest of Team Breakaway were awake and fed we wandered into town to do a bit of sightseeing. We all wanted to see the Museum of Pre-Columbian Gold and decided that the plan for the day would be to visit that followed by a relaxing walk around the tourist trail walk that we were told about that follows a path around the city taking in all the best things to see.
Mena came with us into town but decided to relax with ice cream in the plaza during our visit to the museum. The price for the ticket has increased since my guidebook was written as they’ve combined the three subterranean museums into one so we decided to get our moneys worth and look around them all. We started with the temporary exhibits space which was closed while they set up for an art exhibition but we still managed to see some of the paintings before moving onto the money museum which showed us exhibits of Costa Rican money from throughout the ages along with monetary instruments. It was all fascinating as I’ve never really read up much about the history of money but wasn’t what we went there for so after checking out the exhibits we made our way downstairs to the Pre-Columbian Gold Museum.
The Pre-Columbian Gold Museum contained all sorts of artifacts covering the history of Central America including population maps, original tools, mock ups of homes, an example of a tomb and much more but the main attraction to me was the gold section. Among the exhibits were amulets, head dresses, gold melting pots and more including maps showing the progression of gold works around Central America and the styles of such works in different parts of the region. This was the first museum I visited on the trip, unless you count Copan Ruins as being a museum, so even though I’m not a museum person it was nice to read about the history of the area after travelling so far to get here.
We met up with Mena for a quick lunch at a cheap Chinese cafe just off the plaza before embarking on the tourist walk I mentioned. If you’re in San Jose and short on time like we were it’s a good way to see the city and all of the sights it has to offer including old buildings, parks, plazas, churches, old steam trains and sites of architectural significance. It took us a couple of hours to do, including regular rest stops due to the heat, and have us a an opportunity to take loads of photos. The route took us all over the town and finished back in the centre where we had an opportunity to do some last minute shopping in the indoor market before heading back to the hotel. The walk is definitely worth doing and you can pick maps up at all the local hotels and hostels.
After returning to the hostel we decided that Team Breakaway should have a final meal together and Mena, Kelly and myself went to the supermarket around the corner to buy supplies and stock up on local foodstuffs that we wanted to take home. The meal itself was a lovely pasta creation made buy the girls and was a nice way to say goodbye to everybody before we head our separate ways tomorrow – Kelly on to Panama, Mena to Mexico and me back home to England while Kelly and Gary explore Costa Rica on their own for a while. We also took some final group photos to remember each other… but the girls didn’t like me interrupting their food preparation to take photos!
Apparently we’re going out on the town tonight with the people from the Costa Rica – Panama Intrepid trip and their leader which should be fun.