Parque Morazán is tucked between Calles 5/9 and Avenidas 3/5. The park’s four quadrants surround the domed Temple of Music, supposedly inspired by Le Trianon in Paris. The park has busts of various South American heroes.
Parque Morazán merges east into diminutive Parque España, a secluded place to rest your feet. Its tall and densely packed trees have been adopted by birds, and their chorus is particularly pleasing just before sunrise and sunset. Note the busts that form a pantheon of national figures. A life-size statue of a conquistador stands on the southwest corner.
On the north side of the park the old ornately stuccoed, ocher-colored colonial Casa Amarilla, dating from 1917, once housed the Court of Justice. Today It’s the Chancellery, or State Department. Guided tours are offered by appointment (tel. 506/2223-7555, 8 a.m.–4 p.m. Mon.–Fri.). A huge chunk of the Berlin Wall is displayed in the northeast corner of the grounds.
The Edificio Metálico (tel. 506/2221-0026), between Parque Morazán and Parque España, is one of San José ’s more intriguing buildings. It’s made entirely of metal. Designed by the French architect Victor Baltard, the structure was shipped piece by piece from Belgium in 1892 and welded together in situ. The facade is dressed with a bust of Minerva, the goddess of wisdom. The building is now a school.
The gleaming white Legación de México (Avenida 7, Calles 11/15), one block east of the park, is adorned with ceramic tiles.