Visitors to Costa Rica often fall in love with its beaches, volcanoes and tropical rain forests. But in their rush to the mountains and coasts, some visitors—and some locals, as well—fail to fully explore the capital itself, missing out on some of San José’s cultural attributes. The Costa Rican Ministry of Culture and Youth (Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud) wants to redirect attention to the city and to promote its finest features. To that end, the Ministry is sponsoring a months-long program called “Cultural Corridors: Fall in Love With Your City” (“Corredores Culturales: Enamórate de tu Ciudad”).

The Cultural Corridors program encourages tourists and Costa Ricans alike to spend their leisure time in downtown San José, enjoying its parks, art exhibits and cultural performances. The program began in February 2011 and will continue through July 2011. Activities begin at 11:00 AM on each Saturday of those months.

San José’s parks will act as the main “corridors” in the Ministry’s new plan, because they connect the city’s museums and theaters and act as outdoor exhibition and performance spaces. The Sleep Inn is conveniently located right near several of the parks that serve as the focal points of the program, and each of these parks will have a particular cultural focus. For example, the Park of Spain (Parque España), almost directly in front of the Sleep Inn, will be an exhibition space for the visual arts—painting, sculpture, engravings and art installations. The Park of Peace (Parque de la Paz), in front of the Escuela Metálica, will host urban sporting activities—dancing, circus acts, roller skating and BMX riding. The Morazán Park (Parque Morazán) will be the new music center, and musical groups will perform all genres in the kiosk that stands at the center of the park. Other cultural activities are planned for the areas immediately surrounding each of these parks—and surrounding the Sleep Inn.

The Cultural Corridors program has three goals. The first is to celebrate Costa Rica’s history—not just in terms of dates and events, but in terms of what it means to be a Costa Rican. The program aims to create a certain nostalgia for the Costa Rica of long ago—a quieter and more tranquil time. The program’s second cultural goal is to encourage both locals and visitors to establish—or reestablish—their relationships to the city’s parks and to reclaim these parks for rest and relaxation. The Ministry says that the fast pace of urban life has reduced the parks to mere walkways, as people hurry through them from one errand to another. The idea is to encourage people to spend some time in the parks, talking to one another and enjoying the urban oasis the parks create. The third cultural goal is to promote multiculturalism in the city, celebrating the artistic and historic contributions of Costa Rica’s various ethnic and cultural groups.

Founded forty years ago, the Ministry preserves and promotes cultural diversity in Costa Rica, encouraging all social and economic groups to participate in national cultural activities. The Sleep Inn is proud to find itself at the hub of the Ministry’s new and exciting cultural plans. Sleep Inn guests should remember to inquire about activities happening during their stay.

Writing and editing by Beaumont Hardy Editing.