Similar videoCOSTA RICA 2021, WALKING AROUND SAN JOSÉ
|Lat/Long:||9°56'N / 84°05'W|
|Currency:||Costa Rican Colon (CRC)|
Tools & Converters
- Juan Santamaría International Airport, SJO
About 15 km WNW of San Jose
- Tobías Bolaños International Airport, SYQ
About 7 km WNW of San Jose
- Quepos Managua Airport, XQP
About 54 km S of San Jose
- Limón International Airport, LIO
About 116 km E of San Jose
Other la calle san jose costa rica near San Jose
Best Nightlife in San Jose, Costa Rica
Catering to a mix of tourists, college students, and party-loving Ticos, San José has a host of options to meet the nocturnal needs of visitors and residents alike. You’ll find plenty of interesting clubs and bars, a wide range of theaters, and some very lively discos and dance salons.
To find out what’s going on in San José while you’re in town, go to www.ticotimes.net, or pick up La Nación (Spanish; www.nacion.com). The former is a good place to find out where local expats are hanging out; the latter’s “Viva” and “Tiempo Libre” sections have extensive listings of discos, movie theaters, and live music.
Tip: Several very popular nightlife venues are in the upscale suburbs of Escazú and Santa Ana, as well as in Heredia (a college town) and Alajuela. See “The Central Valley” chapter for more info on nightlife in these areas.
The Performing Arts
Visiting artists stop in Costa Rica on a regular basis. Recent concerts have featured hard rockers Aerosmith, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Metallica; Mexican crooner Lila Downs; pop legend Elton John; Colombian sensation Shakira; and Latin heartthrob Marc Anthony. These performances take place at one of San José’s performing arts theaters or one of the city’s large sporting stadiums.
The National Symphony Orchestra ((tel) 2240-0333) is respectable by regional standards, although its repertoire tends to be rather conservative. Symphony season runs March through November, with concerts roughly every other weekend at the Teatro Nacional. Tickets cost between C4,000 and C7,000 and can be purchased at the box office.
Costa Rica’s cultural panorama changes drastically every March when the country hosts large arts festivals. One of these is El Festival Nacional de las Artes, featuring purely local talent. El Festival Internacional de las Artes (FIA) is a month-long party with a nightly smorgasbord of dance, theater, and music from around the world. For dates and details, visit the festival’s Facebook page (www.facebook.com/festivaldelasartescr), although information is in Spanish.
It is possible to buy tickets to many cultural events and concerts in advance from E-Ticket (www.eticket.cr), though the site is entirely in Spanish.
The Club, Music & Dance Scene
You’ll find plenty of places to hit the dance floor in San José. Salsa and merengue are the main beats that move people here, and many of the city’s dance clubs, discos, and salons feature live music on the weekends. You’ll find a pretty limited selection, though, if you’re looking to catch some small-club jazz, rock, or blues performances.
The daily “Viva” and Friday’s “Tiempo Libre” sections of La Nación newspaper have weekly performance schedules. Some dance bands to watch for are Gaviota, Chocolate, Son de Tikizia, Taboga Band, and La Orquestra Son Mayor. While Ghandi, Foffo Goddy, Kadeho, and Akasha are popular local rock and pop groups, Marfil is a good cover band, and the Blues Devils, Chepe Blues, and the Las Tortugas are outfits that play American-style hard rock and blues. If you’re looking for jazz, check out Editus, El Sexteto de Jazz Latino, or pianist and former Minister of Culture Manuel Obregón. Finally, for a taste of something eclectic, look for Santos y Zurdo, Sonámbulo Psicotrópical, or Cocofunka.
Most of the places listed below charge a nominal cover charge; sometimes it includes a drink or two.
The Bar Scene
San José has something for every taste. Lounge lizards will be happy in most hotel bars downtown, while students and the young at heart will have no problem mixing at the livelier spots around town. Sports fans have plenty of places to catch the most important games, and a couple of brewpubs are drastically improving the quality and selection of local suds.
The best part of the varied bar scene in San José is something called a boca, the equivalent of a tapa in Spain: a little dish of snacks mastercard black card login arrives at your table when you order a drink. Although this is a somewhat dying tradition, especially in the younger, hipper bars, you will still find bocas alive and well in the older, more traditional San José drinking establishments. The most traditional of these are known locally as cantinas. In most, the bocas are free, but in some, where the dishes are more sophisticated, you’ll have to pay for the treats. You’ll find drinks reasonably priced, with beer costing around $3 to $4 a bottle, and mixed drinks costing $4 to $10.
Hanging Out in San Pedro
The funky 2-block stretch of San Pedro ★★ just south of the University of Costa Rica has been dubbed La Calle de Amargura, or the “Street of Bitterness,” and it’s the heart and soul of this eastern suburb and college town. Bars and cafes are mixed in with bookstores and copy shops. After dark, the streets are packed with teens, students, and professors barhopping and just hanging around. You can walk the strip until someplace strikes your fancy—or you can try one of the places listed below. Note: La Calle de Amargura attracts a certain unsavory element. Use caution here. Try to visit with a group, and avoid carrying large amounts of cash or wearing flashy jewelry.
You can get here by heading east on Avenida 2 and following the flow of traffic. You will first pass through the neighborhood of Los Yoses before you reach a large traffic circle with a big fountain in the center (La Fuente de la Hispanidad). The Mall San Pedro is located on this traffic circle. Heading straight through the circle, you’ll come to the Church of San Pedro, about 4 blocks east of the circle. The church is the major landmark in San Pedro. You can also take a bus here from downtown.
The Gay & Lesbian Scene
Because Costa Rica is such a conservative Catholic country, the gay and lesbian communities here are rather discreet. Homosexuality is not generally under attack, but many gay and lesbian organizations guard their privacy, and the club scene is changeable and not well publicized.
The most established and happening gay and lesbian bar and dance club in San José is La Avispa ★, Calle 1 between avenidas 8 and 10 ((tel) 2223-5343; www.laavispa.com). It is popular with both men and women, although it sometimes sets aside certain nights for la calle san jose costa rica persuasions. There’s also Pucho’s Men's Club ★ ((tel) 2256-1147), on Calle 11 and Avenida 8; El 13 ((tel) 2221-3947; www.el13cafebar.com) on Calle 9, btw. avs. 12 and 14; and El Bochinche ((tel) 2221-0500), on Calle 11 between avenidas 10 and 12.
Gambling is legal in Costa Rica, and there are casinos at many major hotels. However, as with Tico bullfighting, some idiosyncrasies are involved in gambling a la Tica. If blackjack is your game, you’ll want to play “rummy.” The rules are almost identical, except that the house doesn’t pay 1[bf]1/2 times on blackjack—instead, it pays double on any three of a kind or three-card straight flush. If you’re looking for roulette, what you’ll find here is a bingo-like spinning cage of numbered balls. The betting is the same, but some of the glamour is lost.
You’ll also find a version of five-card-draw poker, but the rule differences are so complex that I advise you to sit down and watch for a while and then ask questions before joining in. That’s about all you’ll find. There are no craps tables or baccarat.
There’s some controversy over slot machines, but you will be able to play electronic slots and poker games. Most casinos here are casual and small by international standards. You may have to dress up slightly at some of the fancier hotels, but most are accustomed to tropical vacation attire.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.
Things to Do in San Jose City, Costa Rica
San Jose is the heart of Costa Rica and home to roughly half the country’s 4.9 million citizens. It’s one of those cities that doesn’t wow you from afar, but once your feet are on the ground it’s easy to appreciate its humble blend of tradition, grit, and culture. Some have called San Jose a working man’s city, comparing it to the likes of Glasgow or Chicago. Visitors to this metropolitan area are often surprised by the city’s eternally spring-like climate, which can be attributed to its valley location in the Tilaran mountains. Many travelers come to Costa Rica for the rainforest and beaches, but San Jose’s creates a distinct atmosphere all its own. In fact, more and more people are spending an extra night in San Jose than ever thanks to a revitalization of the city’s cultural pulse.
The New Face of San Jose
Over the last five years, downtown San Jose has revived itself through food and art. As the influence of younger generations takes hold, people are rediscovering San Jose through elevated flavors and a newfound appreciation for historic treasures. This youthful cultural renaissance promises to distinguish it from other Central American capitals.
Downtown San Jose: The Historic Center
What to See
National Theater of Costa Rica
San Jose’s cultural attractions are located in a wonderfully compact area downtown. A day exploring the downtown city center is an easy way to feel out the vibe of the city. Located on Avenida Central (Central Avenue), a convenient street for navigating places of interest, Plaza de la Cultura is the cultural and physical center of the city. Start here. This well-known pedestrian plaza is fantastic for people watching. Grab a snack from a street vendor and watch the city come to life. The Plaza de la Cultura is located above the Museum of Pre-Columbian Gold. On the south side of Plaza de la Cultura sits the National Theater (Teatro Nacional) – Costa Rica’s architectural gem. Open to the public in 1897, the National Theatre was modeled after the Paris Opera House in the neoclassical style. The newly renovated Gran Hotel is right next door to the west of the plaza.
The Jade Museum
A five-minute walk east along Avenida Central will bring you to the small newly renovated Jade Museum, an archeological museum that sheds light on Costa Rican culture and pre-Columbian communities. Further east on the Avenida Central, pass through the Plaza de la Democracia for its lively open-air markets. Originally built as a military barracks, the Costa The reach key west spa National Museum sits directly to the east of the plaza.
Where to Stay
Gran Hotel library
The newly renovated Gran Hotel is about as downtown as you can get. This is one of the hotels in San Jose on the forefront of the city’s facelift, providing a blend of modern elegance and convenience.
Hotel Presidente mural
Around the corner is funky Hotel Presidente – a hotel you won’t be able to miss thanks to its modern mural façade.
What to Eat
Dining is one of the highlights of downtown San Jose. For something hip but casual, try Azotea Calle 7, the rooftop restaurant at Hotel Presidente, which is a short walk from the Avenida Central and other major downtown sites. The hotel’s bright, modern mural will be sure to catch your eye, so why not stop in bank of america stadium seating some tapas and cocktails?
Azotea Calle 7 Restaurant
If you need something sweet, walk over to POPS for helado, or ice cream. Fans of Asian cuisine should check out Tin Jo Restaurant, which serves up unique flavors from Thailand, Vietnam, Japan, China, the Philippines, and India. La Esquina de Buenos Aires showcases in a fantastic array of meats from its namesake city in Argentina. Make a reservation in advance and don’t miss the empanadas, blood sausages, and beef carpaccio.
Barrio Escalante: The Gastronomic Hub
Though unique dining can be found across the city, Escalante has become the clear leader in San Jose’s food scene. Costa Rica Foodie Tours is pioneering the city’s mini culinary renaissance with eye-opening food tours– a great way to get while sampling modern bites.
Explore modern coffee culture at cafes like Cabra Negra, the open-air Franco, CafeOteca, or Nueve Specialty Coffee. If it’s after 5 pm, head to Costa Rica Beer Factory and Lupulus Beer Shop. These beer-focused additions are a breath of fresh air in a country that mainly drinks Imperial, Pilsen, or Bavaria brand beers. Isolino Restaurant offers visually-stunning gourmet creations. Luna Roja prepares innovative yet traditional Costa Rican meals.
Al Mercat is the go-to spot for vegetarian and vegan dishes with a side of greenery. Lush plants adorn their walls, creating a chic and fresh atmosphere.
Throughout the year, Escalante hosts la calle san jose costa rica Festival La Luz, an outdoor culinary festival of music, food, and craft beer attracting thousands. Each festival celebrates a culinary theme like Italian, Costa Rican, Mexican, and the like.
La Sabana & Paseo Colon: The Business Sector
What to See
Just west of the bustle of downtown is La Sabana, an area of the city that typically attracts business travelers. The Paseo Colon is a broad commercial avenue leading right into the city center. It is also home to La Sabana Park, the city’s biggest dedicated green space. This expansive park sits right next door to the country’s futbol stadium and gives residents a place to walk, bike, boat, and play.
What to Eat
An afternoon in La Sabana can be followed up with innovative tapas menus at Park Cafe. This elegant mansion also doubles as a furniture and antique store. Also north of the park is L’Olivio Restaurant, a cozy Italian restaurant with a great wine list. For after-dinner drinks, check out the little Aqui Es! for sangria and snacks.
Where to Stay
Hotel Grano de Oro
Experience refined dining at Hotel Grano de Oro, a converted Victorian mansion just a few blocks west of the Paseo Colon. The hotel’s restaurant is one of the best in the city, with tropical gourmet versions on classic French cuisine as well as local delicacies. Grano de Oro attracts local regulars and manages to give tourists an elevated dining experience. Situated in the interior courtyard of the hotel, the atmosphere skews toward European. The Experts recommend the Macadamia Crusted Sea Bass and the Grano de Oro pie.
Barrio Amon & Paso de la Vaca: The Historic Marvel
The Amon neighborhood is making a comeback as one of San Jose’s most visually striking barrios and an open stage for burgeoning business. The neighborhood has a unique mix of architectural styles ranging from modern skyscrapers to Art Deco apartments and colonial mansions. Take a stroll through it and admire the neo-Victorian tropical architecture of homes dating back to the late 19th and early 20th century and enjoy the unique collection of cafes, galleries, and shops. A highlight of Barrio Amon la calle san jose costa rica the Escuela Metalica (Metal School) which was shipped over piece by piece from France in the 1880s.
What to Eat
Don’t miss Silvestre for dinner, an upscale dining experience that takes place in a historic home decorated in the style of the neighborhood’s peak about 80 years ago. Silvestre features contemporary Costa Rican cuisine and ingredients in a unique presentation that nod to Costa Rican culture.
Where to Shop
After checking out the cool houses and boutiques in Amon, wander over to the Paso de la Vaca area, home the Mercado Central. The market presents an old-school maze www windstream com pay bill colors, flavors, scents, and sounds that examples of 1st 2nd and 3rd degree murders to leave an impression. Over 200 stalls of vendors sell everything from fruit and spices to toys and souvenirs.
Sample exotic fruits and be sure to grab a bag of that famous Costa Rican coffee to bring home. Have lunch at one of the traditional Sodas that surround the market. Sodas serve typical Costa Rican cuisine, which is usually a rotation of hearty Central American staples– beans, rice, various meats. Eating at a soda is a great value, as they usually fill you up with large, inexpensive portions of Costa Rican food.
San Pedro: The University District
East of downtown along the Panamerican Highway, San Jose’s sprawl becomes San Pedro. This large area is home to the University of Costa Rica and the Universidad Latina de Costa Rica, creating a younger vibe with plenty of opportunities for fun.
Music, Dancing, and Entertainment in San Pedro
A few minutes east of downtown San Jose by taxi, Jazz Café is a live music venue cash back debit card with San Pedro locals, international students, and travelers alike. Jazz isn’t the only thing you’ll hear though – on any given night, local musicians treat patrons to reggae, rock, indie, and folk. With a full menu and casual atmosphere, it is easy to devote an entire evening here. It is no secret that Costa Ricans love to dance! Salsa, Merengue, and Cumbia are hugely popular, and you can test your skills at Castro’s. La calle san jose costa rica pub scene has really grown in San Pedro, and we recommend the newly-renovated Eastern Pub. In the same night, you can easily crawl over Pub Rock and Roots Bar & Calm for a quintessential San Pedro night out.
For a little nostalgic daytime fun head to Salon de Patines, a large indoor roller-skating rink where the lights and music are just as important as the wheels. Manga fans can walk over to Casa Manga, a kitschy ode to Japanese pop culture and comics with a side of coffee, sushi, and ramen.
Day Trips from San Jose
While the best of Costa Rica lies beyond the reaches of San Jose, there are some great single-day trips if you are based in the city and jp morgan chase bank customer service on time.
Pacuare River Rafting
If adventure is what you seek, a day rafting the famous Pacuare River is sure to up your adrenaline levels. The beautiful rainforest scenery and riverside picnic lunch make this rafting trip from average to extraordinary. If one day on the Pacuare isn’t enough, multi-day trips are also available.
Wildlife Exhibit at La Paz Waterfall Gardens
For a full-day tour with a lot of variation, head toward the Central Highlands and see Poas Volcano, the La Paz Waterfall Gardens, and Doka Coffee Plantation all in one trip. After breakfast at scenic Doka, you’ll have the chance to walk up and view Poas Volcano’s picturesque crater. Some days, there is too much cloud cover to see it, but the experience of being atop a volcano is special nonetheless. Then it’s on to waterfalls and wildlife exhibits at the La Paz Waterfall Gardens. After lunch, transfer an hour back to San Jose.
These, of course, are in addition to the abundance of amazing restaurants and beautiful historical sites to keep you busy in San Jose.
Flights into San Jose International Airport
San Jose’s Juan Santamaria International Airport is the main arrival point for thousands of travelers every year. Unless you’re heading to the resorts in Guanacaste (in which case you should try to book your flights into Liberia), you’ll like fly into the San Jose airport and start your journey from there. The airport is small but efficient, so depending on the time of year it is possible to clear immigration and customs in under an hour.
If San Jose is the first destination on your Costa Rica vacation, it’ll be just a twenty-minute drive to your hotel. Of course, this depends on traffic which can be brutal in San Jose. But having a knowledgeable local driver and a private vehicle makes all the difference!
You can also reach the Arenal volcano area, the Monteverde cloud forest, and Manuel Antonio within a 3-hour drive from the airport.
Related Article:The Complete Guide to Flights and Airports in Costa Rica
San Jose Travel FAQ:
Gran Hotel Costa Rica
Another hotel that might appeal to history enthusiasts is the Gran Hotel Costa Rica. The Gran Hotel is an important building, dating back to the 1930s. Its construction was ordered by the Costa Rican Congress to fill the need for a first class hotel in the city.
The hotel sits right across from the National Theater along the busy Plaza de la Cultura. It has hosted diplomats and celebrities over the years. In 1963, John F. Kennedy stayed here during his visit to Costa Rica.
Recently, the Hilton chain purchased it and underwent a full renovation. During our recent stay, we really enjoyed the modern amenities alongside the historical charm.
Safety La calle san jose costa rica Like any city in the world, San Jose has rough areas that you’ll want to avoid. In the areas we have visited near downtown San Jose, though, we have felt very safe walking around as there are plenty of people out and about. We don’t venture out after dark too much and recommend grabbing a taxi if you feel at all uneasy. Cabs and Ubers are cheap and plentiful. For more tips, read our post Safety Tips for Your Next Trip to Costa Rica.
Attractions in Downtown San Jose
The main attraction for tourists visiting San Jose are the museums. If you only have a limited amount of time, we recommend the National Museum and Pre-Columbian Gold Museum.
What we like most about the National Museum ($11) is that you learn a little about a broad range of topics related to Costa Rica’s history. San Jose has several museums that go into great detail about very specific topics, but the National Museum gives a good taste of Costa Rica’s overall history.
Displays of pre-Columbian artifacts like stone spheres, carved sculptures, pottery remnants, jewelry made from gold and jade, and even a butterfly garden are part of the experience. For those interested in Costa First guaranty bank phone number famed abolishment of the military in 1949, this museum is housed in the historic Bellavista Fort. There are exhibits explaining the fort’s significance.
The Pre-Columbian Gold Museum ($14) is a nice supplement to the National Museum and only a short ten minute walk away.
Inside the Gold Museum, you can stroll through several floors of gold artifacts created by indigenous people that date back to AD 0. Like the National Museum, displays and models of historical reenactments are set up in chronological order so it’s easy to learn about how indigenous cultures changed over time.
One thing that we really like about the Gold Museum is the video, which breaks up the exhibits nicely and gives a great overview of the history.
Two other museums nearby are the Jade Museum, which has a massive collection of pre-Columbian jade artifacts, and the Museum of Contemporary Art and Design. Both are within walking distance la calle san jose costa rica the two museums discussed above.
The National Theater
The National Theater ($10) is another historical site that you won’t want to miss. The opulent building was constructed between 1891 and 1897, but the beautifully decorated rooms and stage are still used for performances today.
The architecture and decor of the theater is a mishmash of European influences. It includes marble sculptures as well as wall and ceiling murals from both French and Italian artists.
The Theater does free tours of the building so that you can learn about the history and see all the art work. Tours are done by a group of actors who dress up in period attire from the 1890s. They will take you around to show you some cool secrets and insights about the building that you wouldn’t have otherwise picked up on. One example is the ballroom’s mechanical floor that can be raised or lowered for events.
Markets and Shops
Downtown San Jose is also a great place to go shopping, especially for souvenirs.
The National Artisans Market has lots of your more typical souvenirs like T-shirts, coffee, mugs, etc., but there are mission federal credit union online banking login some vendors selling handmade items. This market is now in a new, more spacious location on Avenida 6 between Calle 5 and 7.
For a more authentic experience, check out Mercado Central. This sprawling Central Market has hundreds of shops, stalls, and local restaurants spread out along the many corridors. Here, you will brush shoulders with locals who come to do their shopping.
Mercado Central has almost everything you could imagine, from spices and medicinal herbs to flowers to souvenirs and rich Costa Rican coffee. Located in the heart of downtown, taking up a block on Avenida 1 and Avenida Central at Calle 6.
For one-of-a-kind souvenirs, head to Galeria Namu. This shop has an impressive assortment of fair trade handicrafts from different indigenous groups throughout Costa Rica and the rest of Latin America. We saw woven baskets from groups we had visited in Panama, painted masks from Costa Rica’s Boruca, and much more. The store is located four blocks north of the pre-Columbian Gold Museum on Avenida 7.
Something about San Jose that really impresses us are the selection of great restaurants. This brings us back to when we lived in Boston, where we could walk just a few blocks down the street and have our choice of food and drink from around the globe.
Whenever we have a special occasion to celebrate, we head to La Terrasse. This cozy French restaurant is tucked away in a quieter neighborhood (near Hotel Aranjuez) and has served us some of our most memorable meals, ever. The chef, Patricia Richer, is a master at her craft and her husband Gerald is a wonderful host.
For something more casual, Café de los Deseos, just down the street from La Terrasse, is a wonderful spot. This amazon kindle for pc pub had a chill atmosphere and several choices for local craft beer (rare in Costa Rica). Watching the young professionals grab burgers, pizza, and small plates after work made us jealous enough to come back the next night for dinner.
Stiefel Pub is another highly recommended place to find craft beer in San Jose. This is a true pub that feels like a bar. They serve their own beer and have a chalkboard full of choices from other Costa Rican brewers.
For lunch, near the Pre-Columbian Gold Museum and National Theater, Café Rojo is a great spot. This cute restaurant is inside a typical Barrio Amon wooden house down the street from Galeria Namu (on Ave. 7 near Calle 3 and Hostel Pangea). They serve up Vietnamese-inspired food and have strong coffee served French Press-style if you’re in need of a pick-me-up.
Overall, San Jose has really surprised us over the years. Although intimidating at first, the downtown is a destination in itself and shouldn’t be overlooked. From the modern museums and gourmet restaurants to the parks and outdoor spaces, San Jose offers a glimpse into urban life in Costa Rica. Most Ticos, in fact, live in the San Jose metro area so if you’re looking to explore the local culture, it’s a must. Of course, San Jose isn’t the tropical rainforest or misty cloud forest, which draws all the crowds, but if you have a day or two to explore, it’s definitely worth your time.
Last Updated: March 15, 2021
Have you visited San Jose? What did you think?
Looking for more information to plan your trip to Costa Rica? Check out these posts:
Costa Rica Itineraries: Whether you’re planning a one-week or two-week trip, we’ve got you covered. Check out our One Week Itinerary and Two Week Itinerary to see the highlights of what Costa Rica has to offer.
Packing for Costa Rica: The Essentials – Learn how to pack for Costa Rica’s many microclimates. Also covers rainy season and travel to remote destinations like Drake Bay and Tortuguero.
Money Matters: Wondering where to exchange money? Read this post for information on currency, exchanging money, and tipping.
Guests who book an all inclusive rate at either La Amistad or Castillo may consume at either property. Rate includes breakfast, lunch and dinner from the menu in the restaurant. Open bar includes beer, wine, well drinks, and 50 percent discount on top shelf liquor in the bar. All inclusive guests who stay 4 or more nights also receive a rate of $80 for transfers to Jaco.
As always, all guests of the La Amistad and Castillo Hotels receive free breakfast, laundry service, phone calls to the US, and for stays of 4 nights or closest at home store, free Airport drop off.
All inclusive offer is only valid for reservations booked directly with hotel. Rates and terms may be different for reservations booked through third parties, travel agents or with discounts or promotional offers.
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How to Spend 1 or 2 Days in San Jose, Costa Rica
Last Updated: March 15, 2021
San Jose, the capital city of Costa Rica, is filled with rich history and culture. Not only that, but it has a hip urban vibe and an array of restaurants and bars that you won’t find anywhere else in the country. Despite all that this buzzing metropolis has to offer, it is often overlooked by travelers because it can seem hectic and intimidating. Most arriving at the international airport pass in and out as quickly as possible, en route to the country’s beautiful beaches and tropical rainforests. We too used to be overwhelmed by the congested streets and sprawling city blocks. But after visiting more regularly, we now see the city in a new light. In this post, we share some of San Jose’s best attractions, restaurants, and hotels to make your one or two days memorable.
San Jose appears to stretch in every direction with its colorful rooftops, scattered high rises, and green patches of parks. But like most cities, there are certain spots that have a concentration of attractions. In San Jose, one of those places is Avenida Central (Central Avenue). This is one of the most accessible areas of the city. Here, it is easy to walk between the plethora of museums, parks, outdoor plazas, shops, and restaurants.
In the barrios (neighborhoods) surrounding Avenida Central, you’ll find a diverse urban culture similar to what you’d find in any city in the world. A mix of business-people, hipsters, young professionals, artists, and students can be seen along the area’s busy sidewalks.
Tip: When exploring downtown San Jose’s vibrant streets, be sure to bring a light jacket ymail sign in usa sweater for early mornings and evenings. Because of San Jose’s elevation (about 3,800 feet) and the winds that blow through the valley, temperatures can feel a bit cool for the tropics (65-75˚F/18-24˚C).
Hotels in Downtown San Jose
Finding a hotel within walking distance to Avenida Central will make visiting the city’s attractions a lot more enjoyable. This way, you can leave the car behind and explore on foot without the hassles of traffic and parking. There are many hotels located right on or just a few blocks away from Avenida Central.
One good option is Hotel Aranjuez. This hotel was in the ideal location for us on one of our visits to San Jose. It’s slightly outside the center of town, far enough out to be nice and quiet. But it’s still only a 10-15 minute walk to the sights. The hotel is located in a historic building with high ceilings, original wood finishes, and authentic, Capital one auto finance payoff department address Rican decor.
In addition to the quiet location, other things we liked were the availability of parking and huge breakfast buffet, which totally lived up to expectations.
Interestingly, Hotel Aranjuez is actually named after the barrio that it is in. This neighborhood once hosted the country’s first electric power plant. This gave San Jose the distinction of being the first city in Latin America, and just the third city in the world, to have electricity.
avenida 31A calle 96 rohormoser Del Parque La amistad, 300 N, 1 cuadra peq al Este y 50 Norte. 4ta casa a mano derecha, San José
Colours Oasis Resort
Blvd Rohrmoser, Nw Corner Of Triangle, San José
Hotel Casa Roland San José
At The End of Rohrmoser Boulevard 150 Meters South Pavas, San José
Isla Verde Hotel
200 Oeste de la Embajada Americana, San José
Apartment Condominio Paradisus
Mango Boulevard Hotel
Boulevard Ernesto Rohrmoser, San José
Gaudys Backpackers Hostel
Avenida 5 Entre Calle 36 Y 38, San José
Hostel Casa Colon
Paseo Colon, Calle 24 Norte, San José
Hotel Quinta Avenida
Paseo Colón, 300 Norte Y 200 Este, San José
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Best Hostel San Jose
Avenida 9 - Calle Central, San José
Tryp By Wyndham San Jose Sabana
3rd Ave. 38th And 40th St., San José
Hotel La Fortuna Roja
Dirección Calle 2 Avenida 5, San José
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El Escondite De La Calle 54
350 Mts Norte Del Hotel San Jose Palacio, San José
Sportsmens Lodge - Adults Only
200 Oeste De La Rampa Del Hospital, San José
Holiday Inn San Jose-Aurola
5th Avenue and 5th Street, San José
Hotel de La Cuesta
Ave 1, Calles 11 y 15, San José
Sleep Inn Paseo Las Damas
Avenida 3 Entre Calles 9 Y 11, San José
Exe San Jose Center
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Hotel del Rey & Casino
1st Ave & 9th St, San José
Central Ave, Between 7th And 9th St, San José