Holidays to San José, Costa Rica

The capital of Costa Rica is often merely used as a brief stopover before continuing to see the country's real delights. But this mystical metropolis is worth a few days of your time. San José, or 'Chepe' as it’s fondly referred to by the locals, has a lively beating heart. Those who dismiss it will lose out on the opportunity to uncover Costa Rica’s diverse capital.  

It’s the cultural epicentre of the country, and home to many intriguing museums where you can learn about the local history. There’s a Gold Museum where you can feast your eyes upon numerous shiny artefacts, or the Jade museum which houses the biggest collection of American Jade worldwide. If you want to learn about local history then be sure to stop by the National Museum.  

Gaze at the Spanish colonial buildings and get a feel for the Costa Rican vibe. Sure, parts of the city may resemble a concrete jungle, but if that’s all you take away from San José then you’re barely scratching the surface. Visit the rather impressive Theatre of Costa Rica, study pieces of contemporary art in one of the quirky galleries such as Galeria Namu which showcases local and indigenous artists. And don’t miss the Mercado Centrale, where you can purchase everything from street food and spices, to t-shirts and fresh coffee beans.  

Foodies will be in their element in Calle 33 (or Paseo Gastronómico La Luz as its known locally) in the Barrio Escalante neighbourhood. There are tons of restaurants where you can treat your taste buds to vibrant Costa Rican flavours and international cuisines. Despite being overwhelmed by towering buildings, the city has plenty of lush green spots including Park Espana, National Park and Parque La Sabana.  

The city is also ideally located for lots of exciting and adventure packed excursions. And if you don’t choose it as your base it’ll be well worth your while stopping here for a few days before you tour the rest of the country.  

 

 

Highlights

  • Get your museum fix at one of the city’s fascinating museums including the gold and jade museums

  • San José city is Costa Rica’s cultural hub brimming with restaurants, galleries, bars and cafes

Monika
Senior Travel Designer
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I have lived, worked and travelled extensively in Latin America for over 14 years including Belize, Brazil, Costa Rica, Guatemala and Mexico.
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Why we love it...

It’s a cultural maze with an abundance of culinary choices, mesmerising museums and cool art galleries. The Orosi River Valley, a stunning river valley with an abundance of adorable villages is just over an hour away from and well worth a day’s explorations.

Map of San José