San Jose

We’ve compiled the best of the best in San Jose - browse our top choices for the top things to see or do during your stay.

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  • 1. Museo del Jade

    San José's starkly modern Jade Museum displays the world's largest collection of the green gemstone. The holdings log in at 5,000-plus pieces, and are, in...Read More

  • 2. Museo del Oro Precolombino

    This dazzling modern museum in a three-story underground structure beneath the stark plaza north of the Teatro Nacional contains Central America's largest collection of pre-Columbian...Read More

  • 3. Teatro Nacional

    The National Theater is Costa Rica at its most enchanting. Chagrined that touring prima donna Adelina Patti bypassed San José in 1890 for lack of...Read More

  • 4. Barrio Chino

    We should get one thing straight about the capital's Chinatown: San José is not San Francisco. But the Chinese government has financed the transformation of...Read More

  • 5. Catedral Metropolitana

    Built in 1871 and completely refurbished in the late 1990s to repair earthquake damage, the neoclassical cathedral, topped by a corrugated tin dome, isn't terribly...Read More

  • 6. Centro Nacional de la Cultura

    Rather than tear it down, the Ministry of Culture converted the sloped-surface, double-block 1853 Fábrica Nacional de Licores (National Liquor Factory) into a 150,000-square-foot cultural...Read More

  • 7. Correos de Costa Rica

    The handsome carved exterior of the post office, dating from 1917, is hard to miss among the bland buildings surrounding it. The lobby is not...Read More

  • 8. Estatua de John Lennon

    Barrio La Soledad

    A whimsical statue of John Lennon sits on a small, slightly out-of-the-way plaza across from La Soledad church. Sculptor José Ramón Villa's work marks the...Read More

  • 9. Jardín de Mariposas Spyrogyra

    Barrio Tournón

    Spending an hour at this magical butterfly garden is entertaining and educational for nature lovers of all ages. Self-guided tours enlighten you on butterfly ecology...Read More

  • 10. Mercado Central

    This one-block-square melting pot is a warren of dark, narrow passages flanked by stalls packed with spices (some purported to have medicinal value), fish, fruit,...Read More

  • 11. Museo de Arte Costarricense

    Paseo Colón

    Located in La Sabana Park, which was once Costa Rica's international airport, this—the country's foremost art museum—was once its terminal and control tower. A splendid...Read More

  • 12. Museo de Arte y Diseño Contemporáneo

    This wonderfully minimalist space is perfect as the country's premier modern-art venue. The MADC, as it's known around town, hosts changing exhibits by artists and...Read More

  • 13. Museo de los Niños

    Barrio Tournón

    Three halls of this museum are filled with eye-catching seasonal exhibits for kids, ranging in subject from local ecology to outer space. The exhibits are...Read More

  • 14. Museo Nacional

    In the mango-color Bellavista Fortress, which dates from 1870, the museum gives you a quick and insightful lesson (in English and Spanish) on Costa Rican...Read More

  • 15. Parque Central

    At the city's nucleus, the tree-shaded Central Park is more plaza than park. A life-size bronze statue of a street sweeper (El Barrendero) cleans up...Read More

  • 16. Parque España

    This shady little park is a favorite spot for locals and visitors alike. A bronze statue of Costa Rica's Spanish founder, Juan Vázquez de Coronado,...Read More

  • 17. Parque La Sabana

    Paseo Colón

    Though it isn't centrally located, the 180-acre La Sabana ("the savannah") comes the closest of San José's green spaces to achieving the same function and...Read More

  • 18. Parque Morazán

    Anchored by the 1920 Templo de Música (Temple of Music), a neoclassical bandstand that has become the symbol of the city, downtown's largest park is...Read More

  • 19. Parque Nacional

    A bronze monument commemorating Central America's battles against North American invader William Walker in 1856 forms the centerpiece of the large, leafy park. Five Amazons,...Read More

  • 20. Plaza de la Democracia

    President Óscar Arias built this terraced space west of the Museo Nacional to mark 100 years of Costa Rican democracy and to receive dignitaries during...Read More

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