San José Travel Guide

  • A Perfect Afternoon at the San Jose Marriott
    A Perfect Afternoon at the San Jose...
    by kucha
  • mts surrounding the city
    mts surrounding the city
    by arasnosliw
  • National Theather
    National Theather
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San José Highlights

  • Pro
    TempNomad profile photo

    TempNomad says…

     Buses that go everywhere...cheaply! New Restaurants and music places open all the time 

  • Con
    besbel profile photo

    besbel says…

     unpredictable weather, a bit expensive, but I could deal with it :) 

  • In a nutshell
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    Kindra says…

     More than just a stop on your way to other destinations 

San José Things to Do

  • National Theater

    On Monday, one of the things we did was a tour of the National Theatre (which was being renovated, so it wasn’t really a tour, and we didn’t pay for it because the guard at the entrance wasn’t there) and had lunch there ($12.91 for 2 including tip). I didn't take many photos because everything was shrouded with dust cloths. Now the visiting hours...

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  • Mercado Central - Central market

    On our first day in San Jose, we walked through some of the Central Market but did not see anything worth buying. Friday morning March 1st we went to the Mercado Artesania. We did our last souvenir shopping here. I was trying to buy a creche but couldn't figure out the Spanish for that. I didn't want a ceramic one because I figured (correctly)...

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  • Museo Nacional-National Museum

    Although not its most modern museum, this is San Jose's best museum. It houses a substantial collection of pre-columbian artifacts along with colonial and national treasures. The museum is housed in the old Army headquarters. It's a Spanish-style courtyard building filled with displays of Costa Rican history and culture from pre-Columbian times up...

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San José Hotels

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San José Restaurants

  • Machu Picchu Restaurant

    On my fourth trip to Costa Rica my girlfriend and I discovered this gem, I have always been disappointed in my restaurant experiences in Costa Rica and this restaurant changed my point of view. I have spent allot of time in Peru love Peruvian cuisine and when this restaurant was recommended to us I have to admit I was somewhat pessimistic. I was...

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  • Nuestra Tierra

    A nice, huge restaurant on a busy street corner on the east side of the city. Kind of touristy, with traditional dancers dancing during the busy dinnertime. Good enough though. Grilled pollo w/rice & beans and a potato salad I think.

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  • News Cafe

    Our first day in Costa Rica and our last meal had been a very dodgy bagel with cream cheese at Newark aiport. As much as I love to sample local dishes, I was so hungry at this point and desperately craving good old "meat and two fresh vegetables". It's funny how everyone seems to appologise for coming here because they feel it's not Costa Rican...

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San José Nightlife

  • Blue Marlin Bar

    I dont want any one to get the wrong impression of this fantastic place. I have been to the bar/cascino numerous times in my two trips to costa rica. about to be my third. the bar caters to Americans, they have EVERYTHING an american wants. or we would not keep coming back and the place would shut down. the prostitutes are more classy than alot of...

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  • El Pueblo Tourist Center

    Centro Comercial El Pueblo (aka El Pueblo Tourist Center) can be a great place to go for night life, although not necessarily Costa Rican night life. Instead, it's more akin to the kind of night life you would find in the United States or western Europe; expensive drinks, cover charges for some bars, even pizza stands to buy a snack from when...

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  • Key Largo

    You've got the Key Largo, right across the street from the Blue Marlin! It just goes to show why San Jose is great for nightlife. When I get together with my friends that went on this trip, to this day we easily think of and laugh about our time in Key Largo. Could be because, when we first walked in the door, we were so snot hanging drunk that...

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San José Transportation

  • By Taxi around San José

    While wandering around looking for a restaurant, a cabbie was hanging around waiting for his riders. He helped me find it, asked where I was from--I told him. I said, are you from NY? He aid Yea, how';d you know in a thick NYC accent. Turns out he's a cabbie who got tired of the costs and traffic of NY, moved to San Jose. Alex runs a cab, speaks...

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  • By bus around San José

    For local trips to San Jose from our hotel, we took the local bus. We got the van shuttle to the airport and got the bus there into the city. The only problem was understanding where the bus was going as the dispatchers didn't speak English and our Spanish is rudimentary at best. We would then go to the San Jose bus station in the Coca Cola...

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  • Plane from/to San José

    We flew in to Juan Santamaria International Airport on Sunday 1996 Feb. 18. We did not have to pay for our tickets because we got passes from our daughter who was then a flight deck officer at a major airline. That made the trip very affordable. he central location of this airport is perfect, as from here once can reach almost any part of the...

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San José Shopping

  • Mercado Artesania

    We walked around the Central Market, and went into an arcade ( Art. La Carrsona Tipica) with a lot of little shops to get souveniers. We looked around and priced things (it took a long time to figure out how to ask for a nativity scene), and went back at the end of our trip to get gifts for people that we hadn't gotten anything for and also some...

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  • Mercado Central – Central Market

    Established in 1881, this hall has an entrance at each corner of the block. Essentially, the market contains street vendors that have moved indoors so that you can browse more leisurely if it rains. As with all markets, watch your valuables at all times. Other markets nearby are the Borbón, a block north, at Avenidas 3-5 - Calle 8, and the...

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  • Pedestrian Mall

    Avenida Central, the main street in San Jose, is a pedestrian only shopping mall for about 10 blocks in the heart of downtown. Most major department stores are found along this street.

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San José Local Customs

  • Quadrants of San Jose

    San Jose is very easy to navigate because of the way it is set up. The entire city (or at least the main downtown area) is divided into four quadrants based on the intersection of Calle Central Alfredo Voilo and Avenue Segunda.From here, the Calles run north and south and have even numbers heading west and odd numbers heading east.The Avenidas...

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  • Jugos/Juice

    Juice is plentiful, and tasty. You can order them usually 2 ways. Con leche, or con agua. With milk or water. With water, you get what you’re usually used to, juice and water. With leche, you get something that is almost like a milkshake. With leche is usually about a quarter more, and since it uses milk instead of water, weak stomachs are safe. I...

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  • Love the Little Children

    If the number of children we saw in San Jose is any indication, the population of Costa Rica must be growing at a healthy clip.A few of the children we encountered on the streets of San Jose approached us with hands extending asking for $1.00 in return for letting us take their photograph. I'll admit that I've paid a kid (and a few adults) a dollar...

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San José Warnings and Dangers

  • Robbery

    When you are walking trough the streets dont look at your map were you have to... step into a restaurant or shop and look at your map there... keep some change in your pockets I was watching the map on the street searching for my hostel, a guy came to me and started talking in englisch and was walking with me... I talked back " the good guy I am"...

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  • Coca Cola Station

    We were more than warn about the danger of this bus stop. And dreading it. But it's an outdoor kind, with bus parking on each side of boarding sidewalk under a roof. Although we never let any of our belongings out of our side and were careful not to do anything stupid, we never felt in danger of anykind.The man that got closer to me was trying for...

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  • Hail official taxi & taxi arranged by...

    It is best to take the official airport taxi upon arrival in San Jose if you have not arranged an airport pick up through your hotel. When in the city, always have your hotel call for a taxi on your behalf and never hail a cab from the street as it could be potentially unsafe with the high possibility of a rip off! Also, this will be a surefire way...

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San José Tourist Traps

  • Money exchange at San Jose airport

    The Global Exchange office at the arrival lounge (and the departure loung) in San Jose airport charge 12% commission on money exchage. Instead of using the exchage service in the arrival lounge, after arrival in the airport step outside and go to upstairs to the departure lounge. There, next to the departure tax counter, is a branch of the Bank of...

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  • The Whole Experience Might Be a Tourist...

    At least for some.Again, I didn't have any clue on what I was heading into when I went on this vacation. I knew I was getting a good time with the guys, great weather, a beach, nice scenery, etc. But the whores are almost overwhelming! Although I kept my distance, I can see how some people can easily succumb to the pressures, considering many of...

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  • Nuestra Tierra- to be avoided like the...

    This restaurant is near one of the museums (the museum of gold I think) and has a reputation for being great because a lot of gringos go there and because it is expensive. I was persuaded to go by a cute Tica using her feminine wiles even though a friend of mine had already told me that the food was terrible. Please don't waste money at this place....

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San José What to Pack

  • Laundry

    Of course you should never take more luggage than you’re willing to carry up a flight of stairs. This means that for longer trips you’re going to need to freshen your clothes at a laundromat. One convenient laundry is on Aveninda Central in the lower level of a shopping mall beside the Gran Hotel between Calle 1 & 3. The laundry, CyberCafe Las...

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  • A dictionary with your language to...

    Take a dictionary with your language to Spanish. While the hotels and major tourist locations have people who speak English (and other languages), if you enjoy going where the locals go, you could run into a language problem. If you don’t take a dictionary, at least have a few key words written down. If you forget to take it with you, you can...

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  • What you Cannot Forget

    Since I was in November, t-shirts, blouses with short sleeves, shorts and sandals were OK, but always brind some light jacket if the temperature goes down, and your umbrella, because the rain could be really heavy :-( Light jackets, a pair of comfortable shoes for walking and another pair for hiking will also be a must for ecotouristic...

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San José Off The Beaten Path

  • Estación del Pacifico - Pacific Train...

    This train station was built by the Costa Rican government to connect San Jose to the towns of Caldera , Puntarenas and their harbors. Although not in regular service the line has recently been reopened for regular tours organized by the Tico Train Tour Corp. The train uses 1940 coaches to travel through villages offering views of jungle scenery....

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  • Museo de Arte Contemporaneo -...

    Surrounded by high, bleak, concrete walls, the old National Liquor Factory has been turned into a complex with two theatres, three art galleries, a library and live cultural activities. There are frequent dance performances and concerts in the Teatro FANAL and the Teatro 1887. The newly named Centro Nacional de la Cultura, National Cultural Center,...

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  • Spirogyra Butterfly Farm

    Because we were in San Jose on a Monday, the Gold Museum wasn't open. So ... what else is open on Monday. Let's go to the Jade Museum and then to the Spirogyria butterfly farm. I had the Frommer's guide which mentioned where it was and I had the lady at the tourist center show me where it was on the map. But no one had ever heard of it - maybe it...

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San José Sports & Outdoors

  • Saprissa

    Not too far from downtown San Jose is Estadio Ricardo Saprissa Aymá, home of Deportivo Saprissa; one of the biggest and best clubs on the continent.The Costa Rican league essentially runs year round, with two different "seasons". The Invierno part runs from late July until mid-December and then the Verano part runs from January until mid-May. Each...

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  • Arenal Volcano Baldi hotsprings Combo...

    On my 3rd Visit to Costa Rica. I took the Arenal volcano Baldi hotsprings tour.Baldi hotsprings seem a little larger and not as crowded at Tobacon excuse my spelling.Baldi was a little cheaper but we did not eat at Baldi they took us somewhere else with a view of Arenal. The food was OK and the Coffee was Great.They closed off the slide into the...

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  • ATV tour

    I went on this ATV tour. We drove on trails on top of the Mountain with great views of the city.We drove Yamaha Fourtrax ATV. We wore helmets and followed the guide around dirt packed and gravel trails. The guide picked us up from our hotel in San Jose in a 4 wheel drive van and drove us up the mountain. After a couple of hours we returned and had...

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San José Favorites

  • Laundromats

    Most hotels have a laundry service, but it is generally expensive, I have thus far found 2 laundromats. Sixahola launderia: located near the corner Avenida 2 and calle 9, they do you washing for you, it costs 1000 colones per kilo. I dropped mine off at 10:30 they said it will be done by 2pm, in Costa Rica time that meant 3pm, it cost 3000...

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  • A Near Perfect Climate

    The weather during our visit to San Jose could not have been better. Costa Rica is a tropical country and the lowlands can be unbearably hot and humid. However, San Jose lies at an elevation of 3,772 feet in the country's Central Valley. Here the temperature remains very comfortable most of the time and locals refer to their climate as one of...

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  • Stone Spheres

    One of the most interesting things we saw in Costa Rica were the stone spheres. About 300 of these mysterious polished orbs have been discovered in Costa Rica beginning in the 1930s, however they are believed to have been carved between 200 BC and 1600 AD. Several examples of The stone spheres are on display at the National Museum.The spheres come...

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Explore Deeper into San José
Pedestrian Mall - Avenida Central
Things to Do
Jade Museum
Things to Do
Museo de Oro, Banco Central - Central Bank's Gold Museum
Things to Do
Correo Central - Post Office
Things to Do
Catedral Metropolitana - Metropolitan Cathedral
Things to Do
Plaza de la Cultura - Square of Culture
Things to Do
Cafe Mundo
Restaurants
La Esquina del Cafe
Restaurants
Rostipollos
Restaurants
Vishnu
Restaurants
Good english-speaking, ex-NYer cabbie
Transportation
National Museum
Things to Do
Local and Long Distance
Transportation
Juan Santamaria International Airport
Transportation
The Red Cabs
Transportation
Central Market
Things to Do
Teatro Nacional
Things to Do
Museo Nacional del Jade
Things to Do
Lots of Clubs and Bars
Nightlife
City Parks
Things to Do
Teatro Nacional de Costa Rica
Things to Do
Museo Nacional de Costa Rica
Things to Do
Every thing for gringos
Nightlife
Exit fee when leaving the country
Transportation
Typical Soda
Restaurants
Anne Frank statue near the Catedral
Things to Do
Gold Museum and more
Things to Do
Christmas in San Jose
Things to Do
Cafe inside Teatro Nacional
Restaurants
Teatro Nacional
Things to Do
Grand Catholic Church
Things to Do
The Real Deal Great Surprise
Restaurants
Crispy Churros
Restaurants
Taxi cabs
Transportation
Bus and Boat from San José to Tortuguero
Transportation
Tica Bus from Granada (Nicaragua) to San José
Transportation
Paying Departure Tax with Credit Cards
Transportation
Like Vegas all under one roof.
Nightlife
This place brings the best (or worst) out of you..
Nightlife
A little smaller and not as crazy.
Nightlife
Map of San José

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