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San Jose
Travel Guide

San Jose showing general coastal views

Immerse yourself in Spanish language, culture and food and European architecture in this inviting Central American capital city.

European charm and Central American vitality combine to provide an interesting blend of old and new, making San José a fascinating Costa Rican city. Interact with friendly locals, investigate impressive European architecture, enjoy cultural arts and perfect your Spanish language skills.

Several of San José’s impressive public structures date back to Spanish settlement from as early as the 1700s. Experience some of the best of San José ’s cultural activities and see interesting buildings near the large Plaza de la Cultura. Here, admire the neo-classical architecture of the Teatro Nacional. Reserve seats for outstanding cultural events at this national theater or tour the opulent interior decorated with murals, paintings and sculptures.

Nearby, visit three exceptional museums. See dazzling indigenous pieces in the Pre-Columbian Gold Museum. The Museo del Jade has plenty of jade as well as anthropological artifacts. Learn about Costa Rican history and natural science at the Museo Nacional, another example of striking architecture.

Costa Rica is a popular location for language learners looking for immersion in a Spanish-speaking region, either through formal training or casual interaction with local residents. Sign up for one of many structured programs or test your Spanish skills in restaurants in the different barrios of San José.

You’re sure to get a friendly smile if you order gallo pinto (rice and beans) for breakfast just as the locals do. When you need a break from Spanish, go to the restaurants and country clubs of the western Escasu barrio with many English-speaking expats or visit the relatively new Chinatown area.

In March, the city hosts the Transitarte Festival. Enjoy pleasant summer weather and travel from one urban park to another to enjoy music, crafts, workshops and art.

Reach San José via Juan Santamaría International Airport, 10 miles (17 kilometers) northwest of the city center. Use public buses and taxis to get around the city. Many of the main landmarks are in the downtown or “el centro” area, easy to walk from one to another.

DoubleTree by Hilton Cariari - San Jose Costa Rica
DoubleTree by Hilton Cariari - San Jose Costa Rica
4 out of 5
Autopista Grl. Canas, Cruce San Antonio, San Antonio Belen Intersection, Ciudad Cariari
The price is CA $105 per night from Jun 7 to Jun 7
This family-friendly Ciudad Cariari hotel is located near the airport, 1.3 mi (2.1 km) from Cariari Bowling Center, and within 6 mi (10 km) of Oxígeno Human ...
4.3/5Excellent! (946 reviews)
"Everything was well care but some of the curtains are very old and the bathroom landscaping is beautiful air conditioning it wasn’t working on the last day"

Reviewed on May 8, 2021

DoubleTree by Hilton Cariari - San Jose Costa Rica
Barceló San José
Barceló San José
4 out of 5
Autopista General Canas 3km, El Robledal - La Uruca, San Jose, San Jose
The price is CA $80 per night from May 29 to May 29
Located in Uruca, this beach hotel is 1.2 mi (2 km) from Estadio Nacional and within 3 mi (5 km) of Morazan Park and Costa Rica National Stadium (Estadio Nacional ...
4.4/5Excellent! (1,031 reviews)
"Friendly staff! Clean facility, comfy bed, and beautiful views of San Jose!"

Reviewed on May 6, 2021

Barceló San José
Sheraton San Jose Hotel, Costa Rica
Sheraton San Jose Hotel, Costa Rica
4 out of 5
Route 27, 350 Metros West of Multiplaza Mall, Guachipelin, San Jose
Free cancellation
The price is CA $116 per night from May 14 to May 14
Situated in the business district, this hotel is 0.4 mi (0.7 km) from Multiplaza Mall Escazu and within 6 mi (10 km) of Costa Rica National Stadium (Estadio ...
4.5/5Wonderful! (768 reviews)
"Very clean and friendly"

Reviewed on Apr. 30, 2021

Sheraton San Jose Hotel, Costa Rica
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.
New Studio Apartment @ Olingo Monteverde
New Studio Apartment @ Olingo Monteverde
Quebrada Grande, Guanacaste
Situated in Quebrada Grande, this vacation home is within 2 mi (3 km) of Wildlife Refuge Monteverde, Monteverde Orchid Garden, and Sky Adventures Monteverde ...
New Studio Apartment @ Olingo Monteverde
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

Top things to do in San Jose

Reviews of San Jose

3.9

Guest rating

5 - Excellent
49
5 - Excellent 29.518072289156628%
4 - Good
65
4 - Good 39.1566265060241%
3 - Okay
45
3 - Okay 27.10843373493976%
2 - Disappointing
5
2 - Disappointing 3.0120481927710845%
1 - Terrible
2
1 - Terrible 1.2048192771084338%

3/5 - Okay

Verified traveller

May 5, 2020

Need to visit my friend

3/5 - Okay

KG

Mar 5, 2020

Only stayed in San Jose one night prior to catching flight home

4/5 - Good

Verified traveller

Mar 1, 2020

Street signage could be better. Downtown is not very walker friendly. The sidewalks are narrow, uneven, lots of places to trip and fall.

4/5 - Good

Verified traveller

Dec 7, 2019

They don't have a bus from the airport to the city and vice versa.

4/5 - Good

Verified traveller

Nov 17, 2019

People are friendly, centrally located in the country. Great dining options, found my favorite restaurant in the world: La Esquina de Buenos Aires.

4/5 - Good

Verified traveller

Oct 19, 2019

Casa Lima B&B will be my new go-to place for flights in and out of San Jose, especially when using the Pavas airport!

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San José

San José

San José

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