Weekends, especially Sundays, are great for being at the Sabana park.
The park, located in the west end of San José, that was once as the international airport today is filled with life. It has nice scenery and unlike a few years, it offers a lot to do.
[su_pullquote][igallery id=”101″][/su_pullquote]Soccer fields, basketball and tennis courts, baseball diamonds, a velódromo (velodrome), oval track, swimming pool, fishing, and natural trails. In the Sabana park you can ride a horse, a pony, or paddle with the ducks in the artificial lake.
At the northwest corner there is the national stadium, to the east face of the park the Costa Rican Art Museum (Museo de Arte Costarricense).
At the Sabana vendors offer up all types of specialty foods, cooked and packaged and drinks and snacks. Buy the kids toys.
The park is filled with Tico families taking a walk, enjoying a picnic (with bbq and all), a special place to disconnect from the city life.
During the week there a lot less people and activities. But still a great place to enjoy nature without having to leave the city.
In the early morning, between 5am and 6:30am, the east side of the part is active with a variety of amateur sports activities, from joggers going round and round the track, to groups training for something or other.
Unfortunately it still is not a place to be at night. Some lighting has been installed. Police patrols are few, even the mounted police, with their station right in the park, stay in after dark.
I will be honest, I have walked the park, alone, after the sun has gone down and didn’t feel less secure than at other times. But I have never done it in the small hours of the night.
My typical morning walk at the park starts at the southwest corner, entering the park just south of the national stadium. I walk along the south side of the park to the track, with one and a half turns before heading west to the lake, one complete cycle and then north to the soccer fields and west at the northeast face of the stadium. About 50 minutes in total, counting about 10 minutes I let my best friend, Argento, chase the ducks in the lake. He has yet to catch one, but never gives up on trying.
La Sabana park was officially inaugurated in 1977, though its origins do back two centuries. Manuel Antonio Chapuí, the parish priest of San José at the end of the 17th century, donated several plots of land in the Mata Redonda District, the residential and business area surrounding the park, though most commonly known as Sabanar Sur, Sabana Oeste and Sabana Norte).
Costa Rica’s first president, Juan Mora Fernández, and other josefino (residents of San José) personalities devoted themselves to provide the park with several dispositions with the aim of preserving this green area legacy.
For more than 150 years the park developed its characteristic vegetation, spurred by planting campaigns from the citizens. In 1930 this project was halted when the government decided to locate the country’s first international airport within the park area. La Sabana International Airport functioned for 44 years, until the opening of the current Juan Santamaría International Airport.
During the decade of the 1960s the idea of turn La Sabana into San José’s lungs was taking up again. With that goal, trees, shrubs and grass were planted. In 1977, during the Daniel Oduber Administration, La Sabana was officially classified as a Metropolitan Park. In 2001 La Sabana was declared a National Architectural Heritage, by an Executive Decree.
Covering an area of 0.72 km² (72 hectares = 720 000 m2), La Sabana Park is adjacent to the city’s core districts, offering green space and recreation to the residents of San José.