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Vibrant and packed with Victorian mansions, Costa Rica's rowdy, bustling capital was built on the profits of the coffee trade and working "golden bean" plantations still surround the city. Try freshly roasted local beans at Mercado Central. For shinier gold, visit the Museo del Oro. Many renovated landmarks now house stylish hotels. Usually viewed as a hub, rather than a destination, nightlife is concentrated in Spanish village-inspired El Pueblo. Don't miss the elegant 1897 National Theater.
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