Walking around downtown San Jose, Costa Rica, is an outing full of bright surprises thanks to an outdoor art exhibit centered on the message of peace.
Seventy vividly painted larger-than-life doves perch here and there throughout the downtown area’s main boulevards, plazas and parks in the “Peace Parade.” Made of fiberglass and standing 2 meters tall (over 6 feet), the doves were artistically decorated by local schoolchildren and national artists. Each one bears a different message of peace.
Peace is especially poignant to Costa Rica, which eliminated its army in 1949 and is one of the few countries in the world to be military-free. The country was honored in 1980 for its pacifist status by the United Nations which established the University for Peace 30 km southwest of San Jose.
Costa Rican Culture Minister, Manuel Obregon, has said about the Peace Parade, “The birds not only reflect our culture of peace, but also our relationship with the environment. Art is an element of change that strengthens national identity.”
The Peace Parade doves can be viewed in such places as San Jose’s Central Park, the Cultural Plaza, National Park, La Sabana Park, along Paseo Colon, and the pedestrian thoroughfares of Avenida Central and Avenida 4.
Just two blocks from the Central Park and Avenida 4 is Hotel Ritzli, a quaint European-style guesthouse. The affordable, centrally located hotel is within easy walking distance to see the Peace Parade and all of downtown San Jose’s attractions.