San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

A paddling tournament, a massive book sale and other happenings around Costa Rica

Paddle Fest 2014

Have paddle, will travel. Paddle Fest 2014 is a massive tournament for every kind of hand-powered water sport – from sea kayaking to stand-up paddleboarding. Athletes will compete as individuals or in groups, covering the coast of Playa Agujas in watercraft. Sponsored by Kayak Jacó, Paddle Fest is gathering of skilled athletes and a chance for fans to get their feet wet.

Paddle Fest takes place May 24 at Playa Agujas, Jacó, Puntarenas. 5:30 a.m. onward. Participants ₡5,000-60,000 ($10-120), spectators free. Info: 2643-1233.

Book Sale in San Ramón

The Community Action Alliance offers thousands of new and used books to raise money for Tico scholarships.

The book sale takes place May 24 & 25, Museo Regional de San Ramón. 9 a.m. To learn more or to donate books, write to

Theater: “The Merchant of Venice”

A Spanish adaptation of the Shakespeare tragedy performs at the National Auditorium. See Shylock’s mischievous plotting in a whole new way.

“El Mercader de Venecia” plays through May 25 at the National Auditorium, Children’s Museum, San José. Fri. & Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 5 p.m. General, ₡3,500 ($7); students ₡2,500 ($5). Info: RedCultura site.

Music: Selah Reggae

Get down to Caribbean beats in Barrio Amón.

Selah Reggae takes place May 23 at El Soltano, Barrio Amón, San José. 9 p.m. ₡2,000-3,000 ($4-6). Info: GAM Cultural site.

Music: School for the Arts Gala

Catch some of the University of Costa Rica’s finest talent at this free gala.

Gala takes place at the National Theater, downtown San José. 7 p.m. Free. Info: GAM Cultural site.

Youth Symphony Orchestra

A concert by the maestros of tomorrow, performed int he National Theater.

El Orquesta Sinfónica Juvenil performs July 28 at the National Theater, downtown San José. 7 p.m. ₡7,000 ($14). Info: National Theater website.

Music: La Maquina del Tiempo

Hear favorite classic rock covers at JazzCafé.

La Maquina del Tiempo performs May 27 at JazzCafé Escazú. 8 p.m. ₡3,000 ($6). Info: JazzCafé website.

Film: “Through a Glass Darkly”

A family drama involving vacation, Schizophrenia, and unraveling relationships, by the inimitable Swedish director Ingmar Bergman.

“Como en un Espejo” screens May 24 at the Joaquín García Monge Museum, Desamparados. 6:30 p.m. ₡2,000 ($4). Info: GAMCultural website.

Exhibit: “Tintin”

A retrospective on the dashing young journalist, his pup Snowy and his friend Captain Haddock. Visit the Alianza Francesa to see the works of Belgian cartoonist Hergé.

The Tintin exhibit takes place May 2-31 at the Alianza Francesa, La Sabana. Free. Info: Alianza Francesa website.

Art: “Mayo en Verde”

Celebrate the coming of the green season with these colorful landscapes, painted by a variety of Costa Rican artists.

“Mayo en Verde” takes place at the López Ecarré Gallery, National Theater, downtown San José. Mon.-Sat., 9 a.m.–7 p.m. Free. Info: Gallery website.

Multimedia: “Micro-Theater” at Casa Ibero

A series of 15-minute plays, plus a half-dozen other avant-garde activities, take place this weekend at the Casa Ibero artists’ collective.

Performances take place May 22-24 at Casa Ibero, Los Yoses. Thu. & Sun., 6 p.m.; Fri. & Sat., 7 p.m. Info: Casa Ibero website.

Art: “A Family Portrait of Helvetica”

This dual exhibit features a fascinating exploration on the typeface Helvetica, by artist Mimiam Hsu.

“Retrato Familiar en Helvética” and “Ojalá el Sol Me Esconda” display through June 28 TEOR/éTica Gallery, Barrio Amón. Free. Info: TEOR/éTica website.

Art: Great Painters Exhibit

Paintings by Picasso, Matisse, Renoir and Andy Warhol arrive in Costa Rica. Presented by the National Gallery, this collection incorporates 158 artworks and celebrates the 20th anniversary of the Costa Rican Center of Science and Culture, based in the former penitentiary.

“Herencia del Arte” takes place April 28–June 28 at the National Gallery in Barrio Mexico. Mon.-Fri., 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m.; Sat. & Sun., 9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. Free. Info: National Gallery website.

Enamorate de tu ciudad

Yes, you can get gaga for San José – especially when the Culture Ministry is sponsoring Enamorate de tu ciudad, or Fall in Love With Your City, a year-long celebration of art, culture and urban parks. Check back for games, workshops, presentations and surprise performances.

Fall in Love with Your City takes place on Saturdays in various parks in downtown San José. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Free. Info: Enamorate de tu Ciudad website.

Contact Robert Isenberg at

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