Barrio Amón and Barrio Otoya, north of Parques Morazán and España , form an aristocratic residential neighborhood founded at the end of the 19th century by a French immigrant, Amón Fasileau Duplantier, who arrived in 1884 to work for a coffee enterprise owned by the Tournón family.
The area, full of grand historic homes, is worth an exploratory walk. Of particular note is the Castillo el Moro (Avenida 11, Calle 3), the ornate, Moorish-style, turreted former home of Archbishop Don Carlos Humberto Rodriguez Quirós. It also hosts a café (tel. 506/2223-3116).
Avenida 9, between Calles 7 and 3, is lined with beautiful ceramic wall murals depicting traditional Costa Rican scenes. Check out the home with a life-size figure of a campesino at Calle 11 #980.
TeoréTica (Calle 7, Avenidas 9/11, tel./fax 506/2233-8775, www.teoretica.org , 9 a.m.–6 p.m. Mon.–Fri., 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Sat.) is a local artists’ foundation that offers workshops. Its Museo de TeoréTica (www.teoretica.org/flash/vista_360 , 11 a.m.–6 p.m. Tues.–Sat., 11 a.m.–4 p.m. Sun., by donation) art gallery is across the street with various galleries displaying avant-garde exhibitions.