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San JoseCosta Rica

Immerse yourself in Spanish language, culture and food and European architecture in this inviting Central American capital city.

European charm and Central American vitality combine to provide an interesting blend of old and new, making San José a fascinating Costa Rican city. Interact with friendly locals, investigate impressive European architecture, enjoy cultural arts and perfect your Spanish language skills.

Several of San José’s impressive public structures date back to Spanish settlement from as early as the 1700s. Experience some of the best of San José ’s cultural activities and see interesting buildings near the large Plaza de la Cultura. Here, admire the neo-classical architecture of the Teatro Nacional. Reserve seats for outstanding cultural events at this national theater or tour the opulent interior decorated with murals, paintings and sculptures.

Nearby, visit three exceptional museums. See dazzling indigenous pieces in the Pre-Columbian Gold Museum. The Museo del Jade has plenty of jade as well as anthropological artifacts. Learn about Costa Rican history and natural science at the Museo Nacional, another example of striking architecture.

Costa Rica is a popular location for language learners looking for immersion in a Spanish-speaking region, either through formal training or casual interaction with local residents. Sign up for one of many structured programs or test your Spanish skills in restaurants in the different barrios of San José.

You’re sure to get a friendly smile if you order gallo pinto (rice and beans) for breakfast just as the locals do. When you need a break from Spanish, go to the restaurants and country clubs of the western Escasu barrio with many English-speaking expats or visit the relatively new Chinatown area.

In March, the city hosts the Transitarte Festival. Enjoy pleasant summer weather and travel from one urban park to another to enjoy music, crafts, workshops and art.

Reach San José via Juan Santamaría International Airport, 10 miles (17 kilometers) northwest of the city center. Use public buses and taxis to get around the city. Many of the main landmarks are in the downtown or “el centro” area, easy to walk from one to another.

Where to stay in San Jose

San Jose showing mountains and forests

Merced

While visiting Merced, you might make a stop by sights like Mercado Central and Children's Museum (Museo de los Ninos).

Merced

Top Hotels in San Jose

Hotel Luisiana
Hotel Luisiana
3.5 out of 5
100 west and 400 south from Cruz Roja, Santa Ana, San Jose
The price is NT$1,221 per night from Nov 1 to Nov 2

This family-friendly Santa Ana hotel is located near the airport, within 3 mi (5 km) of Business Center Forum 1, Momentum Lindora Shopping Center and Business ...

4.2/5Very Good! (996 reviews)

"I love this place . I ve been staying here for over 7 years"…"

Reviewed on 2020/10/9

Hotel Luisiana
Hyatt Place San José/Pinares
Hyatt Place San José/Pinares
3.5 out of 5
Plaza Momentum Pinares, Curridabat, San Jose
The price is NT$3,287 per night from Nov 1 to Nov 2

Situated in Curridabat, this hotel is 1.7 mi (2.7 km) from Terramall and 2.8 mi (4.6 km) from University of Costa Rica. Multiplaza del Este Mall is 2.6 mi (4.2 ...

4.6/5Exceptional! (281 reviews)

"Nice property in a cool location. Roberth at the front desk greeted me with a smile and remembered my name every time I passed by. I was impressed."…"

Reviewed on 2020/2/25

Hyatt Place San José/Pinares
Sheraton San Jose Hotel, Costa Rica
Sheraton San Jose Hotel, Costa Rica
4 out of 5
Route 27, 350 Metros West of Multiplaza Mall, Guachipelin, San Jose
The price is NT$3,002 per night from Nov 1 to Nov 2

Situated in the business district, this hotel is 0.4 mi (0.7 km) from Multiplaza Mall Escazu and within 6 mi (10 km) of Costa Rica National Stadium (Estadio ...

4.5/5Wonderful! (720 reviews)
Only ones in the hotel

"Wonderful stay. Honestly a little surprised at the price since occupancy was at 5%. Perhaps more people would stay if they reduced the price. We did not see any other guests. Our stay was wonderful and the staff very friendly."…"

Reviewed on 2020/6/4

Sheraton San Jose Hotel, Costa Rica
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

Vacation Rentals in San Jose

Casa Conde Hotel & Suites
Casa Conde Hotel & Suites
3.5 out of 5
South-west of Peace Park, Suroeste del Parque de la Paz, San Jose, San Jose
The price is NT$2,144 per night from Nov 1 to Nov 2

This family-friendly aparthotel is located in the city center, within 3 mi (5 km) of National Museum of Costa Rica, National Park, and Morazan Park. University ...

4.1/5Very Good! (721 reviews)

"The property was meticulously maintained. The staff were busy working all the time, but still always has time for smiles and any request we might have. I have nothing but good things to report about Casa Conde.."…"

Reviewed on 2020/3/21

Casa Conde Hotel & Suites
Apartotel & Suites Villas del Rio
Apartotel & Suites Villas del Rio
3.5 out of 5
East side of Costa Rica Country Club, San Rafael, Escazu, San Jose
The price is NT$2,309 per night from Nov 29 to Nov 30

This family-friendly Escazu aparthotel is located near the airport, within 1 mi (2 km) of Avenida Escazú and Plaza Tempo. Multiplaza Mall Escazu and Costa Rica ...

4.5/5Wonderful! (478 reviews)

"Excellent place, very near From importante places. Very large room"…"

Reviewed on 2020/9/6

Apartotel & Suites Villas del Rio
The Train Apartments Curridabat
The Train Apartments Curridabat
3.5 out of 5
Detrás de Plaza Freses, Edificio Nest, Curridabat, San Jose
The price is NT$1,897 per night from Nov 30 to Dec 1

Situated in the business district, this apartment building is within 1 mi (2 km) of Multiplaza del Este Mall and University of Costa Rica. San Pedro Mall and ...

4.5/5Wonderful! (22 reviews)

"Excelente lugar y ubicación. Así como limpieza, la verdad satisfecho"…"

Reviewed on 2020/7/13

The Train Apartments Curridabat
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

Popular places to visit in San Jose

Reviews of San Jose

4

Top Destination

5 - Excellent
309
5 - Excellent 28.55822550831793%
4 - Good
483
4 - Good 44.63955637707948%
3 - Okay
235
3 - Okay 21.719038817005547%
2 - Disappointing
37
2 - Disappointing 3.4195933456561924%
1 - Terrible
18
1 - Terrible 1.6635859519408502%

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveler

Jun 4, 2020

Beautiful, friendly city. I could totally live there.

2/5 - Disappointing

Verified traveler

May 27, 2020

The place has little charm and horrible traffic, but there is a much better chance you can find what you're looking for (from a consumer perspective) than in any other part of the country, IF you know where to look

4/5 - Good

Verified traveler

Mar 30, 2020

safe,. very friendly people, many english speakers and helpful with my spanish, good mix of stores and especially great food, good prices. great park for walking. no major freakouts re; corona virus.great dental work@ 1/3 u.s. price!! dr bonilla.

3/5 - Okay

Verified traveler

Mar 16, 2020

is a city like many others good with bad

3/5 - Okay

Verified traveler

Mar 14, 2020

A generally shabby, very noisy town with precious few architectural attractions blessed by extremely friendly people, at least if one speaks Spanish, its 1,100-metre altitude and mountain surroundings (although these are, sadly, all-but-denuded).

3/5 - Okay

Verified traveler

Mar 8, 2020

the city itself was not that great. we went to other areas away from San Jose.

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