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San José Travel Guide

  • Photo: Jarno Gonzalez Zarraonandia / Shutterstock
  • Photo: Peter Guttman/Peterguttman.com

Plan Your San José Vacation

San José is the center of all that is Costa Rica, and, to the Tico in the countryside, it glitters every bit as much as New York City does. True to developing-country patterns, everything—politics, business, art, cuisine, nightlife, and culture—converges here. The capital may not be the center of your trip to Costa Rica, though—those rain forests and volcanoes have your name

written on them—but the city is worth a day or two as a way to ease into Costa Rica at the start of a visit or to wrap things up with a well-deserved dose of civilization.

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Updated 1/20/2014

Top Reasons To Go

  1. Eating out After traveling around Costa Rica eating mostly rice and beans and chicken, San José's varied restaurants offer a welcome change of pace.
  2. Gold and Jade museums For a sense of indigenous Costa Rica, frequently forgotten during the nation's march to modernity, the country's two best museums are must-sees.
  3. Historic Barrios Amón and Otoya These northern neighborhoods abutting and sometimes overlapping downtown have tree-lined streets and century-old houses turned trendy hotels and restaurants.
  4. Location, location, location From the capital's pivotal position, you can be on a coffee tour, at the base of a giant volcano, or riding river rapids in an hour or less.
  5. Shopping San José is the best place to stock up on both essentials and souvenirs. Look for leather-and-wood rocking chairs, ceramics, textiles, and, of course, wonderful coffee.

When To Go

When to Go

High Season: Mid-December to April

San José’s altitude keeps temperatures pleasant and springlike year-round. The capital’s sta...

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Check historic weather for your trip dates:

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