San Jose, Costa Rica Vacations

Our Opinion of San Jose

Truly the hub of the country, San Jose is a young booming metropolis with diverse architecture. There is no shortage of attractions to see for visitors, such as museums, parks, hotels, cultural venues and historic buildings. Evening entertainment is plentiful, and a perfect way to follow up a delicious meal in one of the cities hundreds of restaurants. Great shopping opportunities can also be found in the local markets and shopping centers.

The capital is also a perfect turning plate to see the many National Reserves and Forests, majestic volcanoes and famous coffee plantations. Although the city is not on the coast, a day at the beach is a mere 2 hours away along the Pacific coast.

There are o beaches in San Jose since it is located in the Central Valley. How ever at trip to the Pacific coast is a mere 1 1/2 to 2 hours away. The most popular destination is Jaco, also know for great surfing. The local beaches include Playa Jaco, Playa Hermosa, Playa Estrillos, and Punta Leona.

A little farther down the coast, you will find the Manuel Antonio National Park which has several little great beaches, such as Playa Espadilla Sur and Playa Manuel Antonio.

Things to know about San Jose, Costa Rica Vacations

Activities & Sports
One of the best ways to explore more rural areas is on horseback. There are many excursions to choose from. Hiking and mountain biking trails are also plentiful in the many forest, parks and reserves. Rafting and kayaking trips can also be arranged through excursion companies.

Golfers can enjoy some of the best golf courses in Central America. Some clubs are reserved for members only. Some of the courses you may want to try, include the Parque Valle del Sol in Santa Ana, the Garra de Leon Golf Course, Hacienda Pinilla Golf & Country Club, Royal Pacific Golf & Country Club, Los Suenos Golf Course.

Looking for a calming activity? Then you should head to the Orosi Hot Springs. The two pools of beneficial water are know to relieving muscular pain and reduce stress.
Dining & Nightlife
Check out Viva, Tiempo Libre, La Nación, or the English newspaper The Tico Time, for the latest listing of music, discos, theatre, and dance performances. The National Theatre Company and the National Symphony Orchestra are worth checking out. San Jose counts several small theatres, mostly presenting comedic shows. Modern dance performances are extremely popular as well.
The city boasts of a wonderful nightlife, with specific neighbourhoods at the forefront. One of then is El Pueblo, a lovely cobblestone street area, lined with restaurants, cafés, and clubs. Hot spots include Cocoloco, Twister and La Plaza. The university area of San Pedro is also thriving, mostly on Calle de la Amargura, with clubs and rock bars like Sand Bar and El Yos.
Gamblers will be thrilled by the many small casinos found in larger hotel.
For a more unique outing, head to Las Corridas a la Tica to see the popular Costa Rican bullfights. Unlike the gory traditional displays, a more comic scene is played out where the emphasis is more on teasing the bull.
There is not lack of choice when it comes to finding a dinning establishment, whether you are in the mood for wonderful local cuisine, or one of various international restaurants. But you must make at least one trip at a typical Soda. These small and friendly family-operated diners serve up traditional Tico food. The neighbourhoods of San Pedro, Los Yoses, Escazu and Santa Ana offer great choices. Many modern shopping centers also have a wide selection of restaurants. The Mercado Central serves up more local cuisine at one of its many small restaurants and food counters.

Fruit vendors in downtown San Jose are the equivalent of hotdog vendors in New York City, mangoes being the fruit of choice. The pejibaye, a bright orange palm nut, is also sold as a treat, with a taste combining flavours of chestnut and pumpkin. 
New shopping centers have been built in the last years. Visit the Avenida Central (a pedestrian street mall), Mall San Pedro, Multiplaza, Terra Mall, and Mall Real Cariari. El Pueblo is a shopping complex aimed at tourist with lots of souvenir shops. Outdoor markets can be found here and there, the most popular one being the Mercado Central. Bargaining is a common practice. Art galleries and Culture Offices have popped up a lot as well, encouraging local artists. For a more authentic experience, the nearby Quitirrisi Indigenous Reservation sells handmade handicrafts.

Languages: Spanish, some English.
Currency: The Colon. US dollars are widely accepted. ATM's are not easy to find and the Cirrus system is not compatible everywhere.
Climate: San Jose City enjoys a milder tropical climate due to its elevation. The temperature ranges between 18° C and 26° C.
Electricity: 110 V, 60 Hz.

Canadian citizens require a passport that is valid until 30 days after their scheduled return. For all other nationalities, consult your consulate or Costa Rican Tourist Board for details.
Note: Each travelling passenger is responsible to pay a local departure tax in US dollars. This fee is payable in cash at the airport in destination prior to boarding your flight. The departure tax is $27.40 US per person (subject to change). Note only US Cash or equivalent Costa Rican Colon are accepted. makes every effort to ensure that information on this page is current, however, all information on this page is subject to change without notice.