Yellow House (Casa Amarilla)
Yellow House (Casa Amarilla)

Yellow House (Casa Amarilla)

Free admission

A sunshine-bright facade makes the 1916 Yellow House (Casa Amarilla) a cheerful landmark in San Jose’s Otoya neighborhood. Home to Costa Rica’s Foreign Affairs Ministry, the building is closed to the public but still merits a quick detour, especially since the Yellow House is strolling-distance away from a handful of other sites.

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Calle 11, Otoya, 10101

The basics

Scottish-American industrialist Andrew Carnegie donated funds in 1910 to build this neoclassical structure, which was first intended as the Costa Rican Court of Justice. Over time it served as the Seat of the Legislative Assembly—even the Presidential residence—and became an official national landmark in 1976. Don’t miss the ceiba tree in front of the house: US President John F. Kennedy planted it during a 1963 trip to Costa Rica.

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Things to know before you go

  • Great for history buffs: The surrounding Otoyo neighborhood contains some of San Jose’s best-preserved buildings.

  • An abundance of nearby cafés makes this a good lunchtime stop.

  • Don’t miss nearby parks, including Parque España and Morazan Park.

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How to get there

The Yellow House is located on Calle 11, just north of Avenida 7. If you’re coming via public transit, you’ll find a concentration of bus stops on nearby thoroughfares such as Calle 3 and Avenida 3. (In San Jose, calles run north-south, while avenidas have east-west orientations.) Taxis are plentiful, too: Look for the city’s red and yellow “official” taxis.

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When to get there

Come to Casa Amarilla during the day to see the bright-yellow facade for which this building is known. While the Otoya neighborhood and its parks are generally considered safe, many locals recommend exploring during the daytime hours. At night it’s a good idea to book a tour or hail a taxi, rather than exploring the area on foot.

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Best neighborhoods to visit in San Jose

Otoya stands out for historic buildings, but each San Jose neighborhood has a flavor all its own. Ultra-hip Barrio Escalante is a favorite for stylish dining, while downtown is the top pick for museums, art, and culture. Energetic nightlife draws both travelers and locals to Barrio La California and San Pedro. Bar-hopping and club-hopping tours are great options for exploring nightlife, too.

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Frequently Asked Questions
The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
What are the nearest attractions to Yellow House (Casa Amarilla)?