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San JoseCosta Rica

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.

Top Hotels in San Jose

Hotel Luisiana
Hotel Luisiana
3.5 out of 5
100 west and 400 south from Cruz Roja, Santa Ana, San Jose
The price is CA $50 per night from Oct 28 to Oct 29

This family-friendly Santa Ana hotel is located near the airport, within 3 mi (5 km) of Business Center Forum 1, Momentum Lindora Shopping Center and Business ...

4.2/5Very Good! (998 reviews)

"I love this place . I ve been staying here for over 7 years"…"

Reviewed on Oct. 9, 2020

Hotel Luisiana
Hyatt Place San José/Pinares
Hyatt Place San José/Pinares
3.5 out of 5
Plaza Momentum Pinares, Curridabat, San Jose
The price is CA $151 per night from Nov 1 to Nov 2

Situated in Curridabat, this hotel is 1.7 mi (2.7 km) from Terramall and 2.8 mi (4.6 km) from University of Costa Rica. Multiplaza del Este Mall is 2.6 mi (4.2 ...

4.6/5Exceptional! (281 reviews)

"Nice property in a cool location. Roberth at the front desk greeted me with a smile and remembered my name every time I passed by. I was impressed."…"

Reviewed on Feb. 25, 2020

Hyatt Place San José/Pinares
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
The price is CA $122 per night from Oct 30 to Oct 31

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! (719 reviews)
Only ones in the hotel

"Wonderful stay. Honestly a little surprised at the price since occupancy was at 5%. Perhaps more people would stay if they reduced the price. We did not see any other guests. Our stay was wonderful and the staff very friendly."…"

Reviewed on Jun. 4, 2020

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.

Vacation Rentals in San Jose

Casa Conde Hotel & Suites
Casa Conde Hotel & Suites
3.5 out of 5
South-west of Peace Park, Suroeste del Parque de la Paz, San Jose, San Jose
The price is CA $98 per night from Nov 10 to Nov 11

This family-friendly aparthotel is located in the city centre, within 3 mi (5 km) of National Museum of Costa Rica, National Park and Morazan Park. University ...

4.1/5Very Good! (721 reviews)

"The property was meticulously maintained. The staff were busy working all the time, but still always has time for smiles and any request we might have. I have nothing but good things to report about Casa Conde.."…"

Reviewed on Mar. 21, 2020

Casa Conde Hotel & Suites
Apartotel & Suites Villas del Rio
Apartotel & Suites Villas del Rio
3.5 out of 5
East side of Costa Rica Country Club, San Rafael, Escazu, San Jose
The price is CA $106 per night from Nov 26 to Nov 27

This family-friendly Escazu aparthotel is located near the airport, within 1 mi (2 km) of Avenida Escazú and Plaza Tempo. Multiplaza Mall Escazu and Costa Rica ...

4.5/5Wonderful! (478 reviews)

"Excellent place, very near From importante places. Very large room"…"

Reviewed on Sep. 6, 2020

Apartotel & Suites Villas del Rio
The Train Apartments Curridabat
The Train Apartments Curridabat
3.5 out of 5
The price is CA $87 per night from Oct 31 to Nov 1

Situated in the business district, this apartment building is within 1 mi (2 km) of Multiplaza del Este Mall and University of Costa Rica. San Pedro Mall and ...

4.5/5Wonderful! (22 reviews)

"Excelente lugar y ubicación. Así como limpieza, la verdad satisfecho"…"

Reviewed on Jul. 13, 2020

The Train Apartments Curridabat
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

Full-Day Arenal Volcano & Tabacon Hot Springs Resort Tour
Image for Full-Day Arenal Volcano & Tabacon Hot Springs Resort Tour

Full-Day Arenal Volcano & Tabacon Hot Springs Resort Tour

CA $218
Per adult
88% of travellers recommend
Guided Cartago, Irazu Volcano & Orosi Hot Springs Tour with Lunch
Image for Guided Cartago, Irazu Volcano & Orosi Hot Springs Tour with Lunch

Guided Cartago, Irazu Volcano & Orosi Hot Springs Tour with Lunch

CA $194
Per adult
94% of travellers recommend
Tortuguero National Park Cruise
Image for Tortuguero National Park Cruise

Tortuguero National Park Cruise

CA $161
Per adult
86% of travellers recommend
Guided Half-Day Cartago & Irazú Volcano Tour
Image for Guided Half-Day Cartago & Irazú Volcano Tour

Guided Half-Day Cartago & Irazú Volcano Tour

CA $94
Per adult
76% of travellers recommend
6-in-1 Rainforest Eco-Adventure
Image for 6-in-1 Rainforest Eco-Adventure

6-in-1 Rainforest Eco-Adventure

CA $134
Per adult
92% of travellers recommend
La Paz Waterfall Gardens Park - Self guided
Image for La Paz Waterfall Gardens Park - Self guided

La Paz Waterfall Gardens Park - Self guided

CA $66
Per adult

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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