About San Jose
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.
San Jose Tours
Here are some popular itineraries for a trip to San Jose
San Jose Hotels
If you are planning a San Jose holiday, have a look at some of the accommodation that we recommend. 'Our Rating' indicates how we feel each property rates according to normal Western hotel standards. 'Local Rating' indicates how the property is categorised/rated locally:
Costa Rica Marriott Hotel San Jose San Jose
Conveniently located near downtown San Jose, this colonial-style Marriott property is just a short car ride away from the sights of the city, and excursions to nearby National Parks can easily be arranged too. The 290 well-appointed guest rooms and suites feature design linens and plush mattresses, high speed internet, international cable television and other modern amenities. Dining options include restaurants serving up international and local cuisine, as well as a coffee house and bar. Guests wanting to keep fit on holiday can make use of the fitness centre and outdoor pool, and later indulge in an array of therapies at the in-house spa.
Country Inn and Suites by Carlson San Jose
The Country Inn and Suites provides cosy, comfortable lodging surrounded by a tropical atmosphere. The Mambi restaurant overlooks two luxurious outdoor pools and lush gardens whilst the rooms are spacious and elegant in design with good amenities and desk area. Fitness fanatics will enjoy the hotel's gym which features large windows looking out to the green gardens. The hotel is located close to the international airport with convenient access to San Jose's popular attractions.
For all our tours and tailor-made holidays we provide you with a clear categorisation of all hotels we use. The REGIONAL CATEGORY indicates the local rating of each hotel in each respective country. We have also rated each hotel using OUR CATEGORY, which will be in line with generally accepted western hotel grading standards.
Basic hotels and simple accommodation is a no frills option with an adventurous authentic feel.
Standard accommodation equates to a Western 3-star standard, always featuring en-suite rooms and usually a restaurant.
Superior accommodation equates to a Western 4-star standard, featuring en-suite rooms and usually a restaurant and often a swimming pool and/or a fitness centre.
Deluxe accommodation equates to a Western 5-star standard, usually featuring spacious, en-suite rooms, a restaurant, swimming pool and fitness centre and an array of amenities, excellent service and customer care.
Lavish accommodation equates to a Western 5-star plus standard - the creme de la creme. Featuring spacious, en-suite rooms, a restaurant, swimming pool and fitness centre and an array of amenities, this accommodation is a cut above the rest. Sheer opulence!
San Jose Tailor made suggestions
Here are some of the recent tailor made itineraries we have created for our clients which include a visit to San Jose.