Monday, June 28, 2010

More Great Changes at Barrio Bird Walking Tours

Wow, we have been very busy and expanding our services to better accomodate vacation needs for our guests in San Jose, Costa Rica. 

Gay & Lesbian Travelers: Our biggest announcement is our new Yigüirro Concierge Service for gay and lesbian travelers. After seeing the limited information available online, and in the guidebooks, we realized the need for better one-stop answers to address the questions of these travelers for their vacation to San Jose, Costa Rica. 

For only $5, guests can purchase the service from our Paypal menu, and then email with all questions. 

In addition, we also have private Yigüirro Guides available to take gay & lesbian travelers out on the town, so guests don't have to worry about navigating around the city, and can relax and enjoy their vacations to the max.

Online Payments: In our efforts to continue being as convenient as possible, we're happy to announce we can accept online payments for all tour reservations. Simply select the tour of your choice from our menu in the side bar. Happy touring!

Bario Bird Walking Tours

Visual Art - On Display in Downtown San Jose, Costa Rica

There are a number of interesting exhibitions currently on display downtown. Here is a quick list and photos to entice your desire to see more!

Fabio Herrera (Costa Rica) - Pinturas, La Aduana
Jorge Alderete (Argentina)  - Alderete y al Reves, Teoretica
NA - Galeria 1887 - wood carvings
NA - El Steinvorth - Live Painting, visit cafe for completed pieces

Barrio Bird offers walking tours of San Jose. If you are a visitor or have lived here for some time, there is always a new way to see the city. View tours or make a reservation by emailing or calling 8926-9867

Paseo de los/las Damas-Downtown Keeps Getting Better

I've been championing the revitalization efforts of San Jose for the past year, happy to show people its hidden beauty. Here is a summary of this past Sunday's article in PROA, highlighting all that has been completed on Paseo de los Damas (Parque Morazan to La Aduana), and the few things we'll see over the next two years. 

To see all of these details in person, and hear more in-depth stories about the buildings/artists/history I recommend taking our Bird's Nest tour for only $15.

Complete to date:
Sidewalks, public art installments, restoration of the old police station, Edificio Metallico, Parque Morazan & La Aduana. 

To come
Construction of new legislative assembly building and president's house. Also a cafe and visitor's center located inside old train cars outside of the Atlantic Train Station. There is also a conversation about a pedestrian bridge that would connect the Paseo at La Aduana, providing easy access to Barrio Escalante. So in a few years with more development of the Barrio Escalante Urban plan it would be a beautiful and easy walk from Mall San Pedro all the way to the National Theater. 

The aim of all of these projects is to return this sector of downtown to it's prior status of elegance and political  power center for all josefinos (San Jose-ans) to enjoy.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

New Food, Goodbye Food - San Jose, Costa Rica

Downtown welcomes the only Arepas cafe, Caracas. The arepa is popular in Venezuela and Columbia. To me, it's a mix between a stuffed pita and McDonald's breakfast sandwhich. It's really like neither. The arepa is like a corn tortilla but much thicker, almost like a biscuit (american biscuit) and then filled with whatever you like. I've had a breakfast arepa, carne mechada (shredded beef in tomato sauce) and reina pepiada (chicken salad with avocado). They were all spectacular! 

The ambiance is friendly, energetic and fun. I love the orange. The cafe also offers a variety of smoothies and salads, and they also have a venezuelan casado. They accept credit cards and have wi-fi. Most importantly they have a large pull down screen for world cup viewing! M-F 7 a.m. - 6 p.m., Sat. 11 a.m. - 6 p.m., Sun. 12 p.m. - 4 p.m. 

Sadly, several food joints downtown of closed down for various reasons. Cafe Valandra, Pachamama, Maple Leaf Cafe, and Cafe Urbano have all closed. Cafe Urbano will be opening in a new location soon. Equipment at Maple Leaf and Pachamama is for sale. 

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Downtown Architecture & Urban Planning Update

There are several new and exciting developments to report on downtown. 

Outside Complete: I wrote a few months ago about the building that is across the from La Marinita. The outside is basically complete. This building now really stands out as a must see in downtown. Plans for the building aren't firm, but a possible bar/restaurant might open on the bottom with some residential space on top. 

New Paint: The Girl's School on Ave. 4 has been undergoing much renovation and it appears a new paint job will soon be under way.  This particular corner boasts one of my favorite views in the city on a clear day. You can look down at Iglesia de la Soledad and get beautiful mountain views in all directions. 

Ugly Fence: This historic home sits on Ave. 7. Almost 100 years old, it is of Victorian influence and was built by a Spanish merchant. It's architecture represents much of what was found throughout Barrio Amon in the early 20th century. Unfortunately, a taller gate has been added with razor wire on top for security, really detracting from the original beauty of the home. We'll see what else develops at this home. 

325 New Trees!! I also previously wrote about Barrio Escalante's new Urban Plan. A first step towards completing this plan was the planting of 325 new trees throughout the neighborhood. A variety of species were added to serve as homes to birds and butterflies, provide a variety of color with different blossoms, and to hopefully create the first carbon neutral neighborhood in the country. Is there a carbon neutral neighborhood in your country?? The species of trees planted include; palo verde, árbol de fuego, cortés negro, choreque, roble sabana, guachipelín, dama, manzanita y palmera real. I can't wait to take a new stroll through this neighborhood. Maybe we'll do a plant/architecture tour!
Barrio Bird offers walking tours of San Jose. If you are a visitor or have lived here for some time, there is always a new way to see the city. View tours or make a reservation by emailing or calling 8926-9867

Friday, June 4, 2010

International Environment Day Weekend Activities - San Jose, Costa Rica

Saturday, June 5 is International Environment Day and there will be several opportunities to partake in San Jose. 

The Central Bank Museums will have a few shows of theater and dance related to environmental themes beginning at 10:30 and lasting until 1 p.m. on Saturday. They will also be collecting paper, plastic, cardboard, glass and clean aluminum for recycling.

A new organic farmer's market in Barrio Aranjuez would also be a great way to celebrate the day. From 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. you can find fruits, vegetables, organic products and have breakfast, lunch and enjoy artisan crafts. Located 400 meters west of Colegio Mexico.

The fun continues on Sunday with concerts and a fair on Paseo Colon from 8 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. Mascarades, talks, kids tables, and theater will take place. In addition the following bands will perform; Henna, Shel y R9 Band, Esteban Calderon, PatinoQuintana.

If you are downtown on Saturday I recommend trying a special French menu offered only this weekend in downtown's only restaurant in a castle, Cafe Moro. 9,800 colones included taxes. 

Salade aux lardons (salad with bacon)
o Soupe a l'oignon (onion soup),
Plato Fuerte: 
Sole Meuniére (Fish Meuniére),
o Tournedos Rossini (steak medallion).
Plato de queso Maduro Faldas del Irazú, (cheese plate, cheese from Irazu)
Tarte Tatin (apple pie).

Additionally, it was just announced Costa Rica will be hosting it's first international environmental film festival CRiterio Ambiental. The festival will strive not only to showcase films but to provide opportunities for discussion and debates. Fiction and nonfiction films will be considered including documentaries or animation. The festival's founder, Gustavo Solís will be collecting submissions until midnight on July 15th. The festival will take place in La Fortuna Sept. 25 - Oct. 1.

Barrio Bird offers walking tours of San Jose. If you are a visitor or have lived here for some time, there is always a new way to see the city. View tours or make a reservation by emailing or calling 89269867

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Calm Art, Wild Art - San Jose, Costa Rica

This week also brings visitors and expats alike opportunities to be classy and to get funky. 

The French Alliance has a new exhibit open titled, 'The Beautiful Summer'. Costa Rican artist, José Solórzano. Comprised of 12 pieces the artists created the works between 09-10 concentrating on the idea of recent yet no longer viewed scenery, dissolving into memory. On display until June 10. 

The National Theater continues to bring us 'mini-concerts' on Thurs. afternoons. This is a great, affordable way to see a show in the theater. This week Costa Rican pianist, Juan Pablo Andrado will perform for an hour starting at 5 p.m. He'll be presenting a collection of works by Polish composer Fryderyk Chopin (1810-1849), celebrating 200 years after his birth. Get your tickets early. 1,000 c.

Variedades Theater will open a month-long run of 'The forests of NYX' a play about 10 greek female goddesses come to save modern day problems. This is the second time this show is being performed under the same director, Luis Carlos Vazquez. Opens Fri. June 3 and will be in Spanish at 8:00 p.m. Pricing was not available. 

Legendary guitarist, Richie Kotzen, who has played with Poison and Mr. Big, will be performing at Latino Rock Cafe, Fri. June 4. Sounds like nothing other than a great chance to see a great electric guitarist jam at a great cafe. ROCK ON!! 15,000 colones, 9 p.m.

One of San Jose's crazier galleries, Jacob Karpio is hosting what I anticipate to be a wild Saturday night. Hosting an opening for MTV nominated, Uragyuan artist, DANI UMPI. This artist is mostly known for his music but will also be showing his recent works in visual media. Titled, 'Everything Included', music, art, scenesters, and wine can only lead to 'everything' happening! free, starts at 8:30. 

Female Musicians This Week - San Jose, Costa Rica

So happy to have a line-up of female musicians to see of all varieties this week. Enjoy!

Las Robertas, Bar La Mochila: This garage punk band is comprised of four Costa Rican girls who usually rock out, but will be doing a special acoustic set this Thurs. June 3. The band formed early last year and is becoming a hit here in hipster circles. Show starts at 9:00 p.m. and is gratis (free). The bar is located inside the Costa Rica Backpacker's Hostel, accessed from the back.

The Flying Pigs, Nancy Buchan, Key Largo: My favorite Costa Rican expat fiddle player will be taking the stage with blues band, The Flying Pigs this Sat. at 9 at Key Largo. Unfortunately, the event is at Key Largo. Not exactly the place to feel empowered about being a woman (aka prostitute pick-up joint). There is also supposedly a live web-cam for the creepoids that want to sit at home and watch, so maybe wearing a mask is a good way to best enjoy this show. Also gratis (free).

Leslie Smith, Jazz Cafe Escazu: While this venue is outside of downtown, her appearance is significant enough to include in my women in music segment. This renowned jazz vocalist will be playing out at the beach Fri. and Sat. but will join us in the city for an intimate Sunday evening performance beginning at 7 p.m. Smith was named a cultural ambassador of New Orleans music in 2002, being incorporated into an airport mural. Cost is 10,000 colones.