People of San José

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San José is a city of contrast.

On one hand, you have small sodas selling basic set lunches of rice, beans and chicken, and on the other hand you have a plethora of foreign fast foods such as Quiznos, Subway, KFC, Burger King, Pizza Hut, Carls Jr. and McDonalds.

On one hand, Avenida Central is lined up with posh flagship stores and foreign brand sold at foreign prices—Levis, Desigual, Aldo, etc. but on the other hand, hawkers sell socks, underwear, calendars and religious items in the middle of the pedestrian traffic.

On one hand, some avenues are jammed packed while other streets are completely empty.

It’s an interesting place.

The newest immigrants seem to be the Dominicans and they are quite a few hair salons catering to the afro communities. Otherwise, most Ticos (Costa Ricans) look like they are of Spanish descent and are very light-skinned. It’s a change from Mexico for me since there were many people of Mayan descent there!

You can see the com­plete set of Costa Rica on Flickr.

Selling and Buying Lottery Tickets

Selling and Buying Lottery Tickets

Taxi Driver

Taxi Driver

Avenida Central

Avenida Central

Flowers in the Traffic

Flowers in the Traffic

Monument to Coffee

Monument to Coffee

Hawkers on Avenida Central

Hawkers on Avenida Central

Avenida Central

Avenida Central

Avenida Central

Avenida Central

Corner Store

Corner Store

The Driver

The Driver

Police Station

Police Station

The Sax Player

The Sax Player

Two Policemen and a Clown

Two Policemen and a Clown

Plaza de la Cultura

Plaza de la Cultura

Plaza de la Cultura

Plaza de la Cultura

Plaza de la Cultura

Plaza de la Cultura

Plaza de la Cultura

Plaza de la Cultura

Lunch in a Soda

Lunch in a Soda

Soda and Driver

Soda and Driver

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About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.

7 Comments

  1. I’m Costa Rican. I can trace my family tree in Costa Rica for 15 generations, since the 1500s.

    I made a DNA test the other day, and I found that I am 55% West-European, 25% Maya, 15% North-African/Bedouin. South Spain has a strong North-African/Bedouin mix, while North Spain is mostly West-European, like the French. That’s a very common mixture in Costa Rica: 70% White, 30% Brown. Some of my cousins are 75% West-Europeans. The average Black is about 5-10%, probably “Negros de Guinea” before 1700s.

    I think that the pure Native Americans in Costa Rica ended before 1800. The “encomiendas” where gone by 1700 since there were not enough Native Americans living in the area controlled by Spain, in Costa Rica. We don’t expect to find ancestors identified as Native Americans for the last 200 years at least.

    Right now there are only 1000 people who identifies themselves as Costa Rican Native American, mostly in the South, perhaps around Punta Burica.

    I believe that all Costa Ricans are descendent of about 1000 families only. Spain came here 40-50 years late, after they came to Guatemala and Mexico. This was the poorest and remotest land of all the Spanish Empire. The economy started to improve after we become independent of Spain.

    Latin America started to think about becoming independent of Spain after Napoleon conquered Spain, in the late 1700s. When the Independence came to Mexico and Central America, it was fought by priests, who did not like to separate Church from the Monarchy, as Napoleon tried to do. Costa Rica did not fight to become independent — in fact, when we got the news, we did not believe it initially, according to the official history.

  2. Pingback: Carnival of Cities for 16 March 2014 | Sheila's Guide To The Good Stuff

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