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San Jose

(4/5 based on 8,000+ reviews for top 30 attractions)
Things to do: museums, nightlife, sightseeing
San José is the capital of Costa Rica, head of the province of San José, and the nation's largest city. Located in the Central Valley, San José is the seat of national government, the focal point of political and economic activity, and the major transportation hub of this Central American nation. The population of San José Canton is 288,054, though the metropolitan area stretches beyond the canton limits and comprises a third of the country's population. It is named in honor of Joseph of Nazareth.Though few people live in the city center, it is the most important working area of the country, which brings in more than a million people daily. Despite its problems, according to studies in Latin America, San José is still one of the safest and least violent cities in the region. In 2006, the city was appointed Ibero-American Capital of Culture.San José is the sixth most important destination in Latin America, according to The MasterCard Global Destinations Cities Index 2012. San José ranked 15th in the world’s fastest growing destination cities by visitor cross-border spending.HistoryThe population grew during the eighteenth century colonial planning, which was different from the traditional foundation plans of Spanish cities in the continent.Founded in 1738 by order of Cabildo de León, its objective was to concentrate the scattered inhabitants of the Aserrí Valley. To do so, the construction of a chapel near the area known as La Boca del Monte was ordered; this was completed two years later. That year St. Joseph was chosen as parish patron, hence its current name. The chapel, which was very modest, was erected with help from the church of Cartago.
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