San Jose City Information
San Jose Overview
Offering dozens of museums, parks, theaters, and historic buildings, San Jose is a place where history and tradition mesh with the new and trendy. A fine example is the city’s architecture. The houses and buildings built from older European inspiration house modern attractions like restaurants, theaters and museums. In fact, Costa Rica’s claim to fame, the National Theater, is a prime example of this city’s unique mixed culture. Not that you have to love the theater to enjoy San Jose. Numerous one-day tours will take you out around San Jose and its surrounding areas for a variety of outdoor adventures and activities. For a mix of the old and new, head to San Jose.
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Eco-friendly explorers enjoy the Arenal Volcano/Monteverde area for its hiking tours, thermally heated rivers, and amazing forest views. On the other hand, beach lovers are at home in the Guanacaste Beach region, which offers gorgeous turquoise water and powdery white sand for an experience in paradise. The Gulf of Nicoya region is made up of fun-loving beach towns with surfers and adventure seekers breaking waves, exploring the forest, and partying on the beach. And San Jose, the capital city of Costa Rica, is home to the country’s cultural dedications, offering authentic shops and the coolest of the country’s youth.
Mirador Ram Luna
If you need the best view of the city's twinkling lights, you've got to spend an evening at the Mirador Ram Luna restaurant. More than just a place to have dinner, this restaurant is the spot for an unforgettable date night. Just remember to get reservations, because it's a popular place.
Its location high up in the mountains lets you grab a great view of the city. Late in the evening, there’s a cultural show that you can watch while enjoying a Costa Rican or international meal. Make sure to stick around after the performance for the fireworks show you can enjoy from the terrace.
All That Glitters Really is Gold
The National Theater is the crown jewel of San Jose and is a must see for a taste of Costa Rican history. It opened in 1897, after seven years of construction, and is on the cultural plaza of the city.
Ticket prices are reasonable, so you can easily pay to see a play, ballet, or orchestra performance to experience the monument in its full glory. But if you’re on a budget, many go just to admire the building's architecture. The ornate building features a marble lobby, gold and bronze trims, and a huge, open theater in classic 19th century style. It’s the most beautiful building in the whole country.
Roller Derby in San Jose
Sports fans, this is for you. Except this game’s a little cheekier. Tattoos, roller skates, and lots and lots of glitter make up the three roller derby teams in Costa Rica right now.
Two of the teams, Panties Dinamita (Dynamite Panties) and Gatas Callejeras (Alley Cats) represent San Jose. These teams are the first of their kind in Costa Rica and are spurring up talk about the exciting and rough sport.
Fun and quirky things like this are what make San Jose such an interesting city. Fill up on the culture while you're there!
There’s plenty for shopaholics to sink their teeth into in San Jose. It's the largest and most populated city in the whole country, so make sure you get your fill of local culture!
Start with Tienda eÑe. (That’s pronounced EN-yeh. You’re welcome.) It’s a little boutique off 7th Avenue and 13th Street that sells locally designed clothing and other goods. The trendy, red neon “Ñ” in the window will let you know you’ve made it to the right place.
If you make your way to 7th Street, you’ll find Kiosko SJO, another boutique that sells local art, furniture, and clothing. And if you really want to shop for authenticity, browse the artisan market for handmade crafts and art pieces to take back home with you.
Day Trips to Alajuela and Poas Volcano
If you’re craving an adventure out into nature, a day trip to the Costa Rican province Alajuela is right for you. The best part about it is that you'll only have to head just a tiny bit north of city life in San Jose to make it out to the countryside.
Alajuela is home to the massive and active Poas Volcano, where visitors can journey up to view the craters for an exciting experience. And if you're lucky enough to see it in action, you'll be amazed at its explosions reaching up to 800 feet in the air.
There are also butterfly garden tours, strawberry plantations to visit, and coffee fields to gaze at. It's the perfect day away from San Jose!
San Jose Quick Facts
The Colon. U.S. dollars and major credit cards are widely accepted.
The outlets are 110 V, with standard U.S. two-prong plugs.
All U.S. citizens must have a valid passport when traveling to and from San Jose.
The water is potable, but bottled water is recommended in areas surrounding the coast.
Central Standard Time (UTC/GMT - 6 hours)
Dry Season, December - May