Historic Tour Of San Jose

Free! Well, don’t forget to tip
BY: MADELINE GROVE

Have you ever wondered about the history of San Jose? Do you want to know how it came to be like it is now? Luckily for us, there is someone who knows all about it.

Kristin Sand is enthusiastically happy to share his knowledge with anyone who wants to listen. He gives free tours on Thursdays in downtown San Jose. The meeting place is right in front of an ice cream shop called 3R, very near to the art walk, on Obregon Street. There is a sombrero hanging from the wall which has written on it ‘free tour Cabo. Thursdays 6pm. Meet here’. However, starting in May, the tours will begin at 7pm instead of 6pm.

What makes this guy qualified, you might ask. Well, he was born here 30 years ago and has lived here almost his entire life and has very close personal bonds with the area. His family owns most of what is now known as the art walk.

Marilyn Hansen, who has gone on the tour said, “it was very educational, and I learned so much.” She mentioned that “it was the best tour I’ve been on so far”. When asked to compare this tour to the others she had been on, she exclaimed that “it seems like the tour guide just knew so much history, and because of his family being so many generations here, he has such a personal connection”.  (Other tours are marketed to tourists through the hotels and cruise lines).

This man’s knowledge about his hometown is vast and no tour is the same as the week before. Kristin attempts to slightly personalize the tours depending on the people he’s got tagging along with him this week. If you’re more interested in the architecture, he’ll elaborate on that. If you want to know about the culinary part of history, he’ll talk about that too. If you just want to know how Cabo came to be what it is now, he can explain that, and he makes it interesting.

This is a walking tour. Kristin walks and talks while you follow along like ducklings.

Anyone can join the tours, whether they are locals, foreigners, children, people in wheelchairs, pets, etc.. He speaks English and Spanish fluently because his mother was born in the United Sates and when she was six or seven years old, she came to live in Mexico. She was an English teacher and made sure that her children knew the language as well.

This project started in November, so it’s fairly new. For now, only Kristin is leading the tours. But, he seeks to expand and maybe even add more days. He’s had up to 16 people join his tour, the number varies each week.

If you don’t want a public tour, or maybe Thursdays don’t work for you, he’s open to giving personal tours for $35 dollars a person. However, on Thursdays, the tour is free, as he makes his money on tips. This has become a thing all over the world right now, with mostly young people hustling up a living off free tours oriented around tips. Most of them are energetic young locals with good language skills and they do pretty well financially.

The tour lasts approximately an hour and 30 minutes, depending on the questions raised. He’s in no hurry and doesn’t rush people who inquire. Just show up next Thursday at 7, (it will be May, so it moves), and look for a handsome young guy with a bushy beard and for the pointy Mexican sombrero. The sombrero is like his logo. And then of course, it comes in handy to turn it over and pass it around at the end of the tour. Phone him at 624 169 4275 or just
show up.