A modern towering building underneath a blue sky.

Paseo Colon

The Main Avenue into San Jose

The Leon Cortez Monument in bronze under a blue sky.
Leon Cortez Monument at the entrance of San Jose.

Paseo Colon is a five-lane section of Central Avenue. It’s also the main motorized access route into San Jose, Costa Rica’s business district. This avenue begins with a salute from the Leon Cortez Monument to the West. To the East, the wide motorized avenue ends where Central Avenue’s pedestrian boulevard begins.

On sunny days, the avenue’s Savanna Oak trees (Tabebuia rosea) provide precious shade along its sidewalks. These trees will shed their leaves during the dry season to make way for flowers. When in full bloom, the Savanna Oaks seem to have tiny static flak puffs exploding at the end of their leafless branches. Their petals, in vibrant hues ranging from white to pink, also gather at the foot of each tree, mimicking a reflection from the ground below.

Paseo Colon Avenue trees in full bloom.
In bloom Savanna Oak trees along Paseo Colon, Costa Rica.

Downtown San Jose has now claimed Paseo Colon. What was once gardens and farm homes has turned into commercial and business centers, banks, hospitals, restaurants, hotels, embassies, supermarkets, car rentals, dealerships, services, and other city industries.

Costa Rica’s two tallest buildings tower over Paseo Colon.

Beautiful neo colonial architecture building at dusk.
Beautiful neo-colonial architecture building.

However, a number of gorgeous old homes have survived the modernization of Paseo Colon. The distance between one antique home and another seems to be ever-growing; there are still a few left to be admired and contrasted against their modern counterparts.

The name Paseo Colon means Colon’s Way. The name Colon is Columbus in Spanish, as in Christopher Columbus. Yes, this avenue honors Christopher Columbus since he came to Costa Rica on his fourth and final voyage back in 1502. He was looking for a shortcut to the Pacific Ocean. He didn’t find it, but he did become the first European tourist to make to Costa Rica.