The obvious first stop in this charming student quarter is its buzzing central campus. Universidad de Costa Rica is the oldest, largest, and most prestigious university in Costa Rica. Immerse yourself in its busy, bustling atmosphere for a sunny afternoon, strolling at your own speed as students rush past you to their exams. Since you don’t have class, take your sweet time exploring the campus’s many garden paths, eye-catching sculptures, and educational buildings. If you keep an eye on the trees, you may even spot someone moving at an even more leisurely pace, a sloth.
Watch out for: the Enrique Macaya Lahmann building, it has a beautiful sunflower mural
Universidad de Costa Rica, San Pedro, Costa Rica, +506 2511 0000
Sloths aren’t the only surprising creatures you’ll find on the Universidad de Costa Rica campus. Located on the lower level of the Faculty of Music building, the Museo de Insectos hosts a fascinating collection of approximately a million different insect specimens gathered through several academic research projects, collected and curated in a collaborative effort by 100 international specialists in the field. The museum aims to exhibit the biodiversity of bugs throughout the country and educate students and outsiders alike on the important roles these species play in Costa Rica’s environment.
Hours: Monday-Friday 1pm-4:30pm, Closed Saturday-Sunday
Watch out for: The dragonfly section
Also located on the university campus, the Planetarium is a beautiful, dome-shaped building (especially lovely when lit up at night). Open to the public, it contains a special cinema that projects the stars and planets on the ceilings above, and the simulation projector makes for an entertaining show of beauty and realism. Be sure to stay for the Celestial Zoo show, an enchanting 40-minute presentation on the ancient animal constellations.
Price: Adults: 3000 colón, Students: 2800 colón
Hours: Monday-Friday 9am-12 pm, 7pm-8pm; Saturday 6pm-7pm; Closed Sundays
Watch out for: the Celestial Zoo show
Planetario de San José, San Pedro, Costa Rica, +506 2511 2580
As the name implies, University Theater is part of the university campus and is located in front of the southern façade of the Saprissa building on the road that runs perpendicular to the Calle de la Amargura. Founded in 1950, it is a professional theater and center for stage production and experimentation, encouraging individual expression among the student body. It puts on some wonderful shows that are definitely worth a viewing.
Hours: Thursday-Sunday 5pm-10pm
Watch out for: the concert schedule
100 m north of the University Library, San Pedro, Costa Rica, +506 2511 6722
The major shopping center of San Pedro, this mall contains three floors with shops and a great food court. The stores are a bit smaller than the usual chain stores, making for a less overwhelming and more personalized shopping experience. It also has a beautiful cinema on the top floor if you’d like to cool down and relax with a movie. It’s a great place for young people to pass an afternoon, or for anyone seeking some retail therapy.
Price: Varies by storefront, generally mid-range
Hours: Sunday-Saturday 10:30am-8pm
Rotonda de la Fuente de La Hispanidad, San Pedro, Costa Rica, +506 2283 8884
By Sinead Schenk