[Overview] San José is the capital of Costa Rica, located in the central valley at an altitude of 1,170 meters in the highlands. The city covers an area of 4,966 square kilometers and is home to a population of 1.42 million.
[Politics] San José has jurisdiction over 11 districts, and is administrated by the city council and the city government. The city council is the city's deliberative and highest administrative authorities, composed of representatives from 11 districts. The mayor is elected by the citizens for a term of five years. The current mayor, Johnny Araya Monge, took office in May 2016.
[Economy] San José was the center of the country's coffee production in the 1940s. Since 1950, the secondary industry in the city has developed rapidly, featuring traditional sectors such as tobacco, textile, and leather, and new sectors such as automobiles, color TVs, and refrigerators. Its suburbs mainly grow coffee and sugarcane.
[Culture and Education] Elementary and secondary education in San José is free and compulsory. The city has one of the highest literacy rates in Latin America. Institutions of higher learning in the city include the University of Costa Rica, the National University of Costa Rica, and Costa Rica Institute of Technology. The University of St. Thomas, founded in 1843, is the oldest center of higher learning in Costa Rica. It encompasses 13 departments, 33 research institutions, and more than 200 fields of study.
[Tourism] San José is a popular tourist destination known for cultural diversity as the Central and South American cultures interact here. The streets in the city are lined with trees. Colorful flowers can be found everywhere, and San José is thus nicknamed “City of Flowers.” San José is laid out in a perfect grid-like pattern, with avenues running east-west, and streets running north-south. Avenues and streets extending in the four directions are numbered sequentially with the city center as zero. In recent years, the city government has new districts built in the west of the city, and a large number of residents have moved there. Many monuments, museums, and government agencies are housed in the old town in the east of the city. There are many famous tourist attractions, such as Poás Volcano, on the outskirts of the city.
[Relations with Beijing] On October 17, 2009, Beijing and San José established a sister city relationship. In 2017, the two cities signed the agreement on friendly cooperation.
In recent years, the two cities have maintained close contact and the relations between the two cities have developed smoothly. In 2009, San José held a groundbreaking ceremony for Chinatown. In 2012, Beijing officially handed over the Chinatown memorial arch to the San José city government, contributing to the promotion of mutual trust on political front, trade and investment, cultural interactions, and people-to-people exchanges between the two countries and the two cities.