Located in the middle of Costa Rica's Central Valley, the capital of San Jose enjoys a dramatic setting, ringed as it is by jagged mountain peaks. At night from up high on one of these peaks, San Jose glitters beautifully below with the city lights forming a sea of colour as the sun sets. Despite this, many travellers view San Jose as a mere necessary stop on their way elsewhere yet underneath the hustle and bustle of the country's largest city is a wealth of attractions worth seeking out.
With many landscaped parks and leafy barrios, San Jose is a surprisingly green city punctuated by colonial-era wooden houses and elegant buildings. The palm-lined Parque Central forms the centrepiece of the city and offers a quiet respite from the chaos of urban living. Here is where you'll find the wonderfully restored Catedral Metropolitana with its colourful frescoes, as well as the Teatro Melico Salazar. The labyrinthine Mercado Central is an experience in itself with vendors selling exotic fruits and vegetables alongside fish and meat. It's a great place to pick up a cheap snack and people watch as locals hunt for their daily bargain. Perhaps San Jose's most impressive piece of architecture is the elegant Teatro Nacional. With sumptuous red velvet carpets, grand marble stairways and gilt cherubs, the theatre is reminiscent of the type of buildings you'd find in Europe and guided tours are available as well as regular performances.
As the country's most cosmopolitan city, it's no wonder that San Jose provides a wide variety of eating options with the majority of upmarket restaurants found in the neighbourhood of San Pedro. This is also where you'll find the city's most lively nightlife, home to various bars, clubs and live music venues.
To get you started with planning your holiday to San Jose, we have showcased below some popular itineraries requested by our clients which we hope will inspire your visit to Central America