Introducing guest blogger Christa from Pura Vida Moms
Just barely 45 minutes north of the San Jose airport sits the town of San Ramon. It’s home to more restaurants than you can count, endless hours of hiking trails, and some of the best festivals in all of Costa Rica. Must be why natives call San Ramon “the capital of the world.” Plus, it’s a strategic location- just an hour from La Fortuna and the Arenal Volcano, an hour from the Pacific Beaches, and an hour from the Poas Volcano.
With a thriving expat community, and a branch of the University of Costa Rica, San Ramon is known as the town of presidents and poets- and everything in between! Today I am going to share with you some of the best of San Ramon with kids.
This post is part of our Explore My City series – come and visit cities around the world through the eyes of local parents
Hike the Forest
There are countless hiking trails in and around San Ramon- most of them free. We love to find hidden places in the outlying suburbs that have trails and a restaurant so we can work up and appetite and then eat delicious traditional food. Some of our favorite places include Cafeteria Flory in La Paz, Mae Culpa Pizzeria in Llano Brenes, Las Musas Waterfall in San Pedro and Villa Blanca in Los Angeles. All are family-owned and operated with amazing trails and food.
Pretend you are on the edge of the world by heading up to El Cerro Las Tinajitas- a 500-meter hiking trails with sweeping views of the Pacific ocean- near Berlin. Explore the university campus with well-marked trails on the edge of the University of Costa Rica campus. Keep your eyes peeled for a herd of howler monkeys that hang out here.
Play With Local Kids
The central park in San Ramon underwent a makeover a few years ago- and now has a great play area for kids! Under shady trees, you’ll find an area for kids 3 and under, and another for kids aged 4-12. Just across the street is the Museo de San Ramon, which goes through the history of San Ramon with interactive exhibits perfect for kids. Plus, they have a kid’s area staffed by university students studying early childhood development. You can stop by and have the volunteers read to your children, do a craft, or just play!
Explore Local Culture
On Wednesday mornings you can head out to La Paz to see a working trapiche (Trapiche Hermanos Arias)- where sugar cane is made into a myriad of delicious treats. 365 days a year you can go fishing for your own trout, and then have it fried up and eat it! Just look for Truchas Carrucha.
They also have lots of other food on the menu if fishing for fun rather than consumption is more your thing. Plan your visit at the end of August! San Ramon day is August 31, when there is a huge parade of saints. Residents turn out in their finest to celebrate their patron, Saint Raymond. You’ll find the best street food in the country, horse parades, and even a huge traditional ox cart parade.
Coming for Easter? Holy Week processions are not to be missed. If Independence Day is more your thing, you’ll love the traditional dancers and bands that line the streets for September 15. Weekend visitor? Do not miss the farmer’s market- it’s one of the largest in the country. Fridays and Saturdays from 8 am-6 pm you can find everything from handwoven baskets to fresh fish, homemade ice cream, produce and more. Cash only.
Eat Delicious Food
There is so so so much delicious food in San Ramon that you will never eat it all. Still- I think you should try! For breakfast head to Aromas Café and order a traditional Costa Rican breakfast. It’s enough to feed a small army, and less than $7. Snack time? Grab a traditional Costa Rican taco or a fresh empanada at the little window at the back of the central market called Taqueria La Tica San Ramon.
Lunch options are many- but a casado with meat in red sauce (casado con carne en salsa) is a signature dish in this area. Try fresh made food right in the central market at local favorite La Talolinga, or the nearby Comedor de Ma. Pizza more your style? Pizza Loca is owned by a local mom- and has the best pizza and appetizers you’ll find anywhere. She even gifts visitors a welcome glass of sangria.
For afternoon coffee, you cannot miss El Chaparral, where empanadas are the size of your head. In true Costa Rican tradition, coffee will be made right at your table. The prices cannot be beat.
For dinner and drinks you’ll love 29 de octubre- overlooking the central park on the second floor. Santo Pecado has an extensive Costa Rican fusion menu with amazing cocktails and a great happy hour. Looking for a sports bar with a Costa Rican twist? You’ll never miss a football game at The House, where the beer is the coldest in town.
Stay the Night
If a local bed and breakfast is your style, Casa Amanecer is a small, expat run hotel on the outskirts of town. La Posada is the oldest and most well-known family-run local hotel right in the center of town with private parking- it’s the perfect place to stay if you want to explore San Ramon on foot. Up in the high cloud forest outside of San Ramon is Villa Blanca- an upscale hotel consisting of individual rooms with fireplaces inside each.
About the Blogger
Christa Jimenez fell in love with San Ramon in 2001- and hasn’t looked back. Since then she’s studied at the University of Costa Rica, taught English to elementary school students, and guided student trips throughout Costa Rica.
She’s currently living in rural San Ramon with her Costa Rican husband and two daughters while running her blog Pura Vida Moms. You can find tons more tips on traveling Costa Rica with young children– and some great Costa Rican recipes.
With thanks to Christa for sharing her contribution to our guest series.
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