Got history?

So Costa Rica is a small, beautiful, green country with gorgeous women and great waves; but what else do you know?

Taking a moment to soak in a little of our history will help you win local hearts and stand out from the touristy crowd demonstrating you did your homework LIKE THE BOSS!

Human groups came to the area. Hunted and gathered until 2000 B.C. with instruments made of stone, wood and bones.

Farming communities organized by blood ties. Craftsmanship, religious leaders, chiefs, and hereditary succession of power.

Society ordered on villages and smaller towns with shamans and caciques. Traded sea resources and ceramic. We lived peacefully like that, eating corn, beans and peppers.

Christopher Colombus, in name of the Spanish Crown, explores the Caribbean coast. Followed by the gulf of Chira (now Nicoya) in 1524 and then the Central Valley (San José and Alajuela) by 1560.


The city of Cartago is founded.

Indigenous subdued and divided among conquerors. They were put to production of supplies for export to Panamá and the Caribbean.

Appropriation of indigenous lands. Roads are built and trade flourishes, establishing and consolidating political, religious and judicial systems.

A chapel was commissioned in a place known as Villa Nueva de la Boca del Monte to concentrate the dispersed population of the area. Saint Joseph (San José) was chosen patron saint of this chapel.

San José is declared a city.

San José city council gathers to pledge independence from Spain. The sudden news divides the new country’s politicians in three blocks: annex to Mexico, joining the Gran Colombia or Central America.

We split from the Central American Federation (which we had joined in 1824) and declare Costa Rica free, sovereign and independent. San José is declared it’s capital.

Cocoa, tobacco and mining tried; but coffee did it! The “golden grain” got us into the world market. England was our star client.

William Walker, from Tennessee, tried to invade Central America following his Manifest Destiny beliefs. Our people beat him twice: on Santa Rosa, Guanacaste and in Rivas, Nicaragua. This is what we call ¨the ’56 campaign”, there’s monument at the National Park in San José.

National Monument unveiling ceremony 1895. Archivo Nacional photo

National Monument unveiling ceremony 1895. Archivo Nacional photo


After New York and Paris, San José becomes the third city in the world (and first in Latin America) to be illuminated by electricity.

Coffee producers run the place. They dominate economic and hence, politically until the late nineteenth century.




Minor Keith is commissioned to build the Railroad to the Atlantic, he used mainly Jamaican workers. Banana plantations came with it and Limón becomes our main port. It´s population is black, Anglophone and protestant.





Figueres`s knocking down the walls of Bellavista quarter

Figueres`s knocking down the walls of Bellavista qua


Electoral fraud turns into civil war. Pepe Figueres with the National Libertion army wins and writes the constitution we currently use. We became the first country in the world to abolish it’s army.





Jurassic Park movie features a beachfront conversation in ¨San José, Costa Rica¨. San José has no beaches though :/