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Street signs and numbers in San José

Street signs in Costa Rica deserve an article of their own! Until now, Costa Rica was one of the few countries in the world not to use numbers and names to identify a place.

Street Signs in Costa Rica

Until now, the wayfinding system was based on the location of shops, administrations and public buildings. This technique sometimes had its drawbacks, when for 50 years people would tell you: 50m north of the Mercedes tower, then 50m south. As this tower no longer exists today, if you didn’t know the Mercedes tower (which was my case), you had no chance of finding the address.

For example, Costa Rica Découverte’s address may seem a little odd, from the Red Cross of Santa Ana 100 m west, 50 m south, 100 m west and 50 m south. If you don’t know your cardinal points or have no sense of direction, then I wish you luck in finding us 😉

Those days will soon be over in the capital San José, which today begins to install street signs as part of its modernization program.

22,000 plaques will be installed at every intersection in the capital Josefina. The first plaques were symbolically installed at the corner of Avenida 0 – Calle 0. According to Johny Araya, the city’s mayor, the complete installation should take around 6 months. This will be followed by the numbering of the buildings.

Opponents can rest easy

Naturally, this major project has its detractors, who feel that the Ticos are losing a little of their identity in the process, and it will undoubtedly be a few decades before the population is comfortable using this system, which is completely new here.

Foreigners and visitors to Costa Rica, on the other hand, will find it to their advantage. It will be easier to find one’s way around and to know whether or not one is going in the right direction. The budget for this project is 526 million colones, or approximately 1 million dollars in total (names and numbers).

For us, in any case, it’s clear that you won’t be getting an address that looks like the in the United States any time soon. And I quite agree with the folklore aspect, which is quite funny at times 😉

To Know

The capital is divided into streets and avenues. Avenues run from west to east, and streets from north to south. So, if you’re at the corner of avenida 2 and calle 8 heading east, the next street will be 9.

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