Graffiti and street art in Costa Rica

Costa Rica is one of the most popular countries in Central America and attracts thousands of tourists, especially from the United States and Western Europe. Nice coastline, hot climate, lush tropical jungle, wide variety of wildlife and the amazing trails near the country's unique landmarks - the volcanoes - are the reasons why all the people from around the globe flock to Costa Rica. Even the fact that it's the most expensive country in Central America doesn't put them off.

Tropical nature - this is what attracts. Costa Rica, unfortunately, lacks the old, colorful colonial towns like those in Nicaragua, Mexico or Brazil. Therefore, its capital - San Jose, although being the only metropolitan area in the country, is the least visited spot on Costa Rica's tourist map. San Jose is also a jungle, but in a different sense of the word. It's a concrete jungle - and not too pleasant for visitors who are used to beautiful architecture, pristine European old towns or other colonial, vibrant villages.

San Jose is also dirty, and I mean, really dirty. The rubbish rot in between the streets, the plastic bags fly grabbed by the wind - pollution is obvious everywhere, even in the very city center. So why on Earth would anyone want to visit this city? Is there really nothing that it can offer?

It depends on what you're looking for - those places that seemingly have nothing interesting or beautiful to see can still be interesting, if you take a different approach - just take a look from a different perspective at the ordinary streets, not the best and most representative. And what can you find there? Exceptional examples of street art - no, it's not the ordinary graffiti scribbles made by rebellious teenagers. It's the real work of art.


Graffiti in San Jose   

Graffiti in San Jose


If you think about it deeper, one has to have a great talent to be able to paint all those vibrant images, especially in the run-down areas of the city. Thanks to the professional graffiti artists, the streets are brought back to life and given another chance. They shine just like an impressive picture in an art gallery.  The whole ubiquitous grayness is reduced and the beautiful shapes in all hues and shades are in place where there used to be a gloomy, falling apart wall.

The true artists often represent the hard times of the local population, the ideas and what inspire people to grow, to stand up for their values and against the hardships of live, poverty or regime. Also, another important thing is the technical aspect - to choose the right type of graffiti spray and other street graffiti supplies which will allow the image to last long and prevent colors from fading.

So where to find the best examples of street art and graffiti in San Jose? You won't find it in the very city center - you have to leave the city a bit - you can admire the painted walls even if you take a bus to more famous sites of the country. Surprisingly, often the areas further from the San Jose center look more decent and the graffiti is what it's the most charming thing about it. It's definitely not trash, not vandalism or crime - it's pure art, especially when you look at it deeper and think about the details, the meaning and what the artist wanted to communicate with his/her piece of art.