Country Guide » About Costa Rica
The city of San José became the Costa Rican capital in the year 1823, after a long period during which it had lacked proper legal administration. The city had been founded almost a century before in 1738, when a group of missionaries built a chapel to concentrate the inhabitants of the Aserrí Valley. With the help of the city of Cartago, which served as Costa Rican capital originally, the settlers slowly built the city of San Jose.
Today, the city is a modern metropolis, still considered one of the youngest Latin American capitals. The city officially has under 400 thousand inhabitants, but as the center of the Great Metropolitan Area (which comprises the cities of Heredia, Cartago and Alajuela) it is estimated that at least two million people travel to, from and across San José everyday.
As with any other world capital, San José is home to the country’s biggest museums, shopping centers and the largest international airport, named after national hero Juan Santamaría. The city is also the country’s cultural center offering visitors and locals a variety of theaters, galleries and concert venues including the modern National Stadium which opened in 2011.