After a fun-filled day of city-hopping to Alajuela, Sarchi, and Grecia on Saturday, I headed to San Jose with Hannah and Audrey to check out the Dia de los Muertos celebrations in Barrio Chino (
A little bit of context…
At school on Friday, we had discussed the meaning behind Dia de los Muertos and how the holiday is celebrated in countries in Latin American. The celebrations are the largest in Mexico where graves are decorated and lots of fiestas take place.
For homework, everyone brought in a photograph of a loved one who had passed away and in Spanish told a story about that person. We also tried Pan de Muerto (bread of the dead), which was coated in sugar and had a lemon flavor. To top it off, everyone had colored a sugar skull for a drawing contest. Everyone who participated received a chocolate.
All of the professors encouraged us to go to San Jose to check out the festivities. Because I Audrey, Hannah, and I did not have any plans, we boarded the public bus on Sunday to San Jose.
Once in San Jose, we headed in the direction of Barrio Chino and stumbled upon the famous artisan market in San Jose. Audrey, Hannah, and I stepped in to take a peak.
I personally was instantly overwhelmed. The shopkeepers in both English and Spanish urged us to come into their booths and look at their items. With so many souvenirs available for purchase, the aisle ways and booths seemed very cramped and claustrophobic. For me, it was sensory overload. I also am the type of person that when pressured to purchase an item by a salesperson, I instantly do not want to as it feels too pushy. With having traveled to Sarchi the day previous and purchased souvenirs at a store that works directly from artisans in the area, I could not even bring myself to purchase any items at the artisan market that were clearly marked up in price. 100% if I had not traveled to Sarchi, I would probably have a different impression of the artisan market. If you are pressed for time and are looking for a traditional Costa Rican souvenir, however, the artisan market is a place worth checking out.
After leaving the artisan market, we made our way to Barrio Chino. Our trio immediately was overwhelmed by the amount of people at the Dia de los Muertos celebration. As we tried to figure out what was going on, a mini parade began with participants dressed in traditional mascaras (masks) of Costa Rica, painted faces portraying Catrina, people walking on stilts in costume, and so much more!
Once the mini parade wrapped up, Audrey, Hannah, and I went up and down the whole street to check out what food was available and what other festivities were happening. There was a group of 6 Catrinas dancing in stilts dancing in the street to music and also a stage set up with a group of dancers performing a traditional Mexican dance. Vendors were selling little Catrinas and people could add candles or pictures to an alter set up. We found a beautifully dressed Catrina and asked for a photo.
By this time, it was early afternoon and I was starving and ready to eat tacos. We found a booth where three tacos were 1 mil (roughly $2 USD) and the line was super long. Since the line happened to be super long, the three of us took this as a good sign. Funnily enough, our Spanish professor also happened to be in the same line for the booth. She told us we had picked a great booth, which made everyone more excited for tacos. After waiting in line for 30+ minutes, Audrey, Hannah, and I finally made it to the front. In Spanish, the teenage boy working says in Spanish “We are out of tacos.” OUT OF TACOS?! WHAT?! I felt extremely sad. Still hungry, we walked to the booth next door, which had a shorter line. Hannah had made the comment, “If it’s a short line, maybe the tacos won’t be great?” However, we were all hungry and really wanted to eat some food as soon as possible. Needless to say, Hannah was correct in her assumption. Not only were these three tacos more expensive (3 mil; roughly $6 USD), they were not very tasty.
Once we finished eating our sub-par tacos, we went in search of the restaurant that had bubble waffles filled with ice cream that the three of us had kept seeing. This cute Asian restaurant also had a long line too. Hannah waited in line, while Audrey and I walked to the bus station so she could purchase bus tickets for her upcoming trip.
Side note: purchasing bus tickets in advance was another reason why we had come to San Jose. One thing all Sol students have learned is that if you cannot buy bus tickets online, you should either…
- Get to the bus station 1+ hours ahead of the bus you would like to take to purchase your tickets.
- Go to San Jose early to the bus station and purchase the tickets in advance.
By the time Audrey and I came back, Hannah had barely moved in line. The three of us decided to add this restaurant to our “come back and visit list” and headed to the bus station where Hannah and I needed to buy our bus tickets for our weekend trip.
With tickets in hand, we headed back to the Heredia bus stop to go back to our homes.
Despite having sub-par tacos, the day was fun and successful!
Leave a positive impression,