An old-fashioned Costa Rican country wedding scene.

QCOSTARICA – Downtown San José is filled with public art. Everywhere you look you will see statues, paintings, parks and beautiful architecture.

The ornate guard house at Park Espana has hand-painted tile pictures on all four sides.

In the Barrio Amón section of San José, what you will find are tiles: Hand painted tiles. Tile art is everywhere in this neighborhood. It is on the exterior walls of private homes, and on hotel walls. It is on office buildings. It is hidden in private alcoves. Some of it jumps out at you and some of it you have to look for.

The tile pictures are mostly done by Costa Rican artists.  Many are quite beautiful.  Below is a small sample of the tile art of Barrio Amón.

Barrio Amón is the neighborhood immediately behind the Holiday Inn Tower in Downtown San José . At the beginning of the 20th century, it was the wealthiest and most fashionable section of San José .

Long neglected, and for many years considered the haunt of prostitutes (of both sexes) and their North American clients, Barrio Amon is undergoing a renaissance. It is rapidly being “gentrified” and, at least in some places, restored to its former glory.

“On the building next to the Dunn Inn, a picture of a man selling herbal remedies.”
“A cantina scene.”
This exquisite alcove with a religious-themed tile painting is the entry to a private home behind the Sportsmen’s Lodge
A series of hand-painted tile pictures adorn the outside wall of Hotel Don Carlos in Barrio Amon.
A country market scene.
A series of tile pictures on the exterior wall of a private home next to the Hotel Don Carlos. This series depicts scenes from the novel Don Quixote de la Mancha

Downtown San José is full of surprises. It’s all part of The Real San José .

Michael Miller is the author of the first and only guide book that focuses on Downtown San Jose, Costa Rica, titled The Real San José.


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Michael Miller
Michael Robert Miller, with over forty years of business experience, has travelled extensively in the Far East and Central America. He has been visiting San José, Costa Rica since the 1980's and has made it his mission to discover all that the city has to offer. Mr. Miller has served in the United States Navy and is a Vietnam Veteran. He holds a degree in economics. Mr. Miller currently spends his time in San José, Costa Rica and Naples, Florida.