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 Things to Do

  • National Theater

    4.5 out of 5 stars

    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. A photo of the front of...

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  • Museo Nacional

    4 out of 5 stars

    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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  • Jade Museum

    4.5 out of 5 stars

    Back in 1996 we went to the Jade Museum which was free and was in the top of an insurance building. In 2014, a NEW building was been built for this museum which covers the life in Costa Rica from 500 B.C. to 900 A.D. Not just jade but other aspects of life. This museum might be best visited before the Gold Museum which starts at about 900 A.D. All...

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San José Hotels

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San José Restaurants

  • Holiday Inn Aurola

    3.5 out of 5 stars

    Breakfast (which was included in the price of the room was a buffet.. They had coffee, tea (hot), two kinds of juice and water, eggs cooked to order, fruit, rolls of various kinds, pico gallo, fish, sausage, stewed bananas, ham, cheese, bread to toast and a couple of things I couldn't identify- there were two dishes of white stuff which might have...

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  • Amercan Fast Food

    2 out of 5 stars

    There are various American chains - in 1996, in addition to Burger King, there is Pizza Hut, and McDonalds. We were staying at a Hampton Inn out near the airport They had breakfast there, but no dinner. When we had the energy and a car we could drive out to a restaurant. When we had no car, sometimes the airport van would take us out to a...

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  • Costa Rican Food

    5 out of 5 stars

    I'm sorry I don't remember the name of this soda which is near the Jada Museum, in the Avenida 7, between the Calle 9 and 7 and it's not the first you meet (coming from calle 9) but the second... Shortly I was going to reach the airport for the flight back and it was a sort of good-bye meal expecially after that the waitress asked me about where I...

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San José Nightlife

  • El Pueblo

    New Years Eve was our last night in Costa Rica and we wanted to go out with a bang. Most of the people on our G Adventures tour wanted to party so our tour guide Ro took us to El Pueblo. It's a complex of bars and clubs with different styles of music and dancing. A few places have cover charges but most are free to enter. According to Ro, New Years...

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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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  • 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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San José Transportation

  • Taxi

    In 1996, we took taxis infrequently - they were cheap, but most of the time we took local buses which were even cheaper. At that time we always asked the price before getting in. Now I understand the cabs have to use meters. After we landed at the airport, in the afternoon, we took a taxi from the hotel to San Jose (the capitol) for $8.00. We...

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  • Intercity Bus

    Tica Bus and Transnica have a few daily buses from Nicaragua to Costa Rica. They leave Granada from two different bus terminals on Avenida Elena Arellano. Both have first class buses and offer about the same service. There is another company, King Quality, which seems to have a slightly better service but the price is almost double. After a little...

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  • Air Travel

    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. The 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

  • Coffee, Chocolate, Souveniers

    There is jewelry inspired by pre-Columbian art; hand-made arts and crafts by artists of Costa Rica's indigenous regions, numismatic products and diverse didactic materials. All Museum Gift Shop products are of the highest quality and are guaranteed by the Costa Rican Central Bank Museums Foundation. We bought coffee.

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  • Avenida Central

    Located in the Centro Empresarial Forum, it is the place for shopping. You can find anything of the highest quality in there, from goods (like clothes, sport outfits, jewelry, groceries, souvenirs) to services (beauty saloons, restaurants, cinemas, etc.). Their prices range from less expensive than average to really expensive, but that depends on...

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  • Local Crafts

    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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San José Local Customs

  • Money

    The National Theater's mural by Aleardo Villa, an artist from Milan, entitled Allegory of Coffee and Bananas was featured on the 5 Colon banknote, but they eventually realized that it cost more than it was worth to reproduce all the colors. That bill is no longer in circulation, but you can buy a crisp new one on the street as a souvenir.

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  • Pura Vida

    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...

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  • Food Traditions

    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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San José Warnings and Dangers

  • Mugging & Robbery

    Do not go out alone at night ! My husband decided to Go out alone for a drink in the town of Puerto Viejo. He met some people who he stupidly started talking to. He ended up at the Lazy Mon. He had one drink with these people and that's pretty much all he remembers. He woke up Robbed Beaten and in someones house in a shanty town. They took the car...

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  • Panhandling

    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...

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  • Walking Hazards

    Pay attention to where you’re putting your feet. Many of the sidewalks are showing their age and have uneven pavement or even gapping holes to underground utilities. If you do run across a section of road or pavement that has temporary warning pylons, make sure to take them seriously. Walking along the street I once encountered a block with live...

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San José Tourist Traps

  • San Jose

    When at home and looking at your guide book and maps, you might have, like I did, the impression you have to go to San Jose, at least to get in and out of the airport. Well, you don't. San Jose isn't worth it (I think) and the airport is in fact in Alajuela. Find a nice hotel in Alajuela to pick you up if you need a place to stay the first night...

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  • Prostitution

    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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  • Volcan Irazu

    Volcan Irazu (an hour or so in a car from Montana Linda school and Orosi). Its cool to see the green water, and I guess its a must be done thing, but to be honest, after driving for an hour and paying $6, one view into the (motionless) crater is a little disappointing.

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San José What to Pack

  • Credit Card

    Small soft side bags are preferable for trips to the outlying country Raincoat - especially in the green season. It isn't appropriate to wear beach-type clothes (shorts, bikini tops) in the city. Be sure you have a large enough card in your camera and that you have a way to recharge your batteries You can use a credit card in Costa Rica,...

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  • Spanish-English dictionary

    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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  • 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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San José Off The Beaten Path

  • Parks, Squares & Pedestrian Malls

    An unattractive square made up mostly of concrete and very little greenery. Rising above to the east is the fort containing the National Museum. On the west side is a bronze statue of Don Figueres commemorating 100 years of democracy in Costa Rica. Also on the west side is a daily flea market. Address: Avenidas Central-2 - Calle 13-15

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  • Braulio Carrillo

    It proportion to it's territory, Costa Rica has more of its land in National Parks than any other country in the world. On our trip to San Jose from Puerto Limon we passed through the Braulio Carrillo National Park which is only 20 killometers northeast of the Costa Rican Capitol. Although the limited time of our tour did not allow us to stop and...

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  • Churches

    Built in the 1930’s the roof is adorned by a figure of Santa Teresita. This church turned out to be an excellent landmark for my walking adventures. To the west the streets are grid-like and easy to navigate; to the west, not so much. Address: Avenida 9 - Calle 29

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San José Sports & Outdoors

  • Football - soccer

    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....

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  • Active Tours

    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...

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  • 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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San José General

  • Downtown

    One of the taller and more modern buildings in San Jose, the National Bank building sits on the site from which the town of San Jose was born. Surrounded by immaculate gardens and trees, there are also sculptures to admire as you pass by. By the western wall of the bank there is a bronze sculpture of Costa Rica farming people. Address: Avenidas...

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  • National Theatre

    There are three statues on the top of the National Theatre. They were taken down and casts made from the original statues, and the statues that are up there now are the copies. I don't know for sure, but I think the earthquake of 1991 might have been the reason for this. In any case, the original statues are now inside the theater The statue of...

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  • Gold Museum

    The actual name of the Gold Museum is the Pre-Columbian Gold Museum and it has exhibits on all various aspects of life before Columbus brought guns and disease to the Americas. And that includes pottery. Under construction

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Explore Deeper into San José
Museo de Oro - Gold Museum
Things to Do
Mercados - Markets
Things to Do
Catedral Metropolitana
Things to Do
Parque Francisco Morazán
Things to Do
City Parks
Things to Do
Views of the City
Things to Do
Airport Ground Transport
Transportation
Butterflies
Off The Beaten Path
Skyscrapers
Off The Beaten Path
City Bus
Transportation
Driving
Transportation
Machu Picchu Restaurant
Restaurants
Nuestra Tierra
Restaurants
Avicola Portela
Restaurants
Alma Cafe
Restaurants
Burial Practices
Local Customs
Museums
Local Customs
Outdoor Markets
Shopping
Day Trips
General
Coffee Plantations
Off The Beaten Path
Bus Tours
Transportation
Street Life
Local Customs
Mercado Central
Shopping
National Museum
General
Sangría Tapas Bar & Restaurant
Restaurants
Daily Life
General
Train Stations
Off The Beaten Path
Serpentarium
Off The Beaten Path
Neighborhoods
Off The Beaten Path
El Gran Pan
Restaurants
Outside San Jose
General
Relax
Local Customs
Getting Around
Local Customs
Vyrus
Nightlife
Spanish
General
Little Differences
General
Walk
Transportation
Theft
Local Customs
Qbico
Nightlife
Monkey Bar
Nightlife

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