San Jose Vacations

The capital of Costa Rica, and home to most of her residents, San Jose is a unique little city on a plateau 3700 feet above sea level. San Jose enjoys a slightly cooler version of the Caribbean’s beautiful, hot climate. Fresh Caribbean seafood isn’t hard to find here and neither is comfortable accommodation, but getting around requires a bit of ... Read more
savvy. Make sure to carry your passport with you at all times - getting caught without it could mean getting thrown in jail. Lots of taxis are willing to take you pretty much anywhere in the city for a few American dollars but only the ones with a yellow triangular sticker on their door are registered. In spite of these shortcomings, there are lots of things to see and do in San Jose. Tours of the Poas and Irazu volcanoes are amazing outdoor adventures, and specialty museum exhibitions like gold work, Jade art and insects offer little known insights into these local specialties, to name just a few. Don’t be scared to travel to San Jose. Visit with a group, play smart, and you are sure to be safe and have a great time.

San Jose places to stay and top hotels

San Jose things to do and experiences

  • Teatro Nacional de Costa Rica
    9.637 reviews
    Performing Arts, Theater
    Popular withHistoryArtsy
  • Heredia
    8.623 reviews
    Sights and Museums, Historic Site, Neighborhood
    Popular withStudentsHistory
  • Escazu
    8.513 reviews
    Sights and Museums, Shopping, Hiking and Nature, Other, Neighborhood
    Popular withFamiliesLuxury
  • La Sabana Metropolitan Park
    7.714 reviews
    Sights and Museums, Outdoors, Sports, Park
    Popular withHistoryFamilies


San Jose


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San Jose reviews & trip reports

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  • 8.2
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  • 6.4
    Family Travelers

Member Reviews(85)

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San Jose traffic is horrible worst than Los Angeles and New York put together! The pedestrians walk in front of your car. you are driving with buses, bikes, mopads, trucks.
The 2 lane oneway streets are easily turned into 3 oneway lanes. Don't even attempt to look for parking.

Pagosa Springs, Colorado, USA

Love love love Costa Rica. Have been there a few times. Once for two weeks for a mission trip. Very humid, but a great country. Once considered getting a beach house there.

San Francisco, California, USA

Interesting capital city, though the more modern architecture for shops is totally uninspiring. The National Theater, however, is gorgeous.


Kind of ugly, definitely noisy and crowded, but worth visiting for a day or two just to get the feel of urban Costa Rica. Note that the "San Jose" International airport is not in San Jose at all but rather Alajuela, so if you're planning to connect to the airport, plan your time in and around Alajuela city, not San Jose.

San Jose, California, USA

If you want a mix of nature and city, take on San José. It's near the airport (fly into Libería instead if you're heading to the beaches/Guanacaste), and you have restaurants, sodas (what locals call hole-in-the-walls), and museums when you come back from your day excursions to forests and volcanoes.

San Luis Obispo, California, USA

When went to Costa Rica, we had to go through this town since the airport was located here. It looked really dirty and there is a third world country city feel. I felt like I couldn't trust the people there since I was ripped off when I exchanged my money at the airport. They seem like salesmen at the counter. Most places take American dollars so feel like you have to rush to exchange money. Find the best bang for your buck to exchange.

Burns, Kansas

The Capital of Costa Rica. The international airport is located here and is 1-1/2 drive to Los Suenos and Casa Buen DIa. Plan a overnight stay and do some day trips to the Arenal and Poas Volcano's. Or just check out the city. One problem, lots of traffic and navigating the streets is not easy. Best thing is to hire a private driver for the day. There's a lot to see here. Most Tico's, Costa Rican's that is, speak English. Pura Vida


We stopped in San Jose on our last night -- so that we can get a bit of the the feeling of the city life and also make sure we don't miss our flight in the AM...

The city is crowded. There are a lot of people. Not as much cultural/historical buildings as I would have liked to see, lots of buses, commuters, etc.

I probably would not recommend making this city a part of your Costa Rica itinerary unless of course you are just stopping over the night like we did.

New York City, New York State, USA
Community ManagerAmbassador

San Jose is one of the youngest capitals in Latin America, and quite frankly with not a lot to offer. It does have some beautiful historical architecture, but it is also very commercial. Unfortunately, not the safest either, at least in terms of theft.

Recommended for:Art & Design LoversHistory Buffs
New York City, New York State, USA

You used to have to fly in here, but no longer. It's fine for a night or two before or after you head out to the beaches or interior of the country. Some good restaurants and bars, but not a lot to do during the day. However, there are day trips like Poas

Recommended for:BackpackersBudget TravelersBusiness Travelers