Prices are in New Zealand Dollars.

San José travel guide

San José tourism | San José guide

You're Going to Love San Jose

The capital of Costa Rica is an elegant city, cradled by soaring mountains and within easy reach of beaches and pristine rainforest reserves. It's the ideal place to mix nature trips with urban attractions.

If all you'd like to do is take in musical performances, tour museums, shop for jade craft items, or dance until dawn, San Jose is a wonderful urban destination. But it's more than just another attractive, historical capital city.

Tour operators can take you to the turtle reserves of Tortuguero, you can hike to the summit of awe-inspiring volcanoes, or head into the forest with companies like Rain Forest Tours to world-famous sites of astonishing natural diversity like the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve.

Top 5 Reasons to Visit San Jose

A popular activity in San José

Costa Rica Day Trip from San Jose
Costa Rica Day Trip from San Jose
Excellent (244 reviews)
Find activities
Top activities in San José

When to Visit San Jose

Estimated hotel price

San José in {1}

1 night at 3-star hotel
Prices are not fixed and may vary with time

The best time to visit San Jose is definitely during Costa Rica's dry season, which lasts from December through to April. However, that's also peak tourist season. If you want to save money and avoid crowded tours, try May or November, although you may encounter a downpour or two.

Average temperatures
Celsius (°C)
When the weather is nice in San José

How to Get to San Jose

Airlines serving San José

Good (66,520 reviews)
Good (42,761 reviews)
Good (27,263 reviews)
Good (22,351 reviews)
Excellent (22,496 reviews)
Good (27,342 reviews)
KLM
Good (3,497 reviews)
Good (4,006 reviews)
Show more

Where to Stay in San Jose

There are two excellent accommodation options in San Jose. The first is to stay at city center hotels like Hotel Grano De Oro or the Hotel Don Carlos, which offer a high-quality service in elegant surroundings. The alternative is to stay at resorts or hotels on the outskirts and drive into town. Hotels like Finca Rosa Blanca are set in beautiful gardens, while the Hotel Villas Corcovado has a stunning seafront location.

Popular Neighborhoods in San Jose

Most popular hotel in San José by neighbourhood

Catedral

Where to stay in popular areas of San José

Most booked hotels in San José

How to Get Around San Jose

The Cost of Living in San Jose

Shopping Streets

If you are looking to stock up on jade necklaces or finely woven baskets for the folks back home, try the Mercado Nacional de Artesanías in the city center, where you'll find stands selling almost any kind of handicraft, as well as handy items like shoes and hammocks. For a conventional shopping experience, head to San Pedro Mall, where you'll find a multiplex cinema, and global labels alongside Costa Rican fashion brands.

Groceries and Other

If you need to shop for groceries in San Jose, the best options are supermarkets like Automercado (which stocks a wide range of US brands) and Walmart, which is very similar to the American variety. Expect to pay about ₡3,000 for a gallon of milk and ₡1,800 for 12 eggs.

Cheap meal
Cheap meal
$11.73
A pair of jeans
A pair of jeans
$108.80
Single public transport ticket
Single public transport ticket
$1.25
Cappuccino
Cappuccino
$3.52

Where to Eat in San Jose

Costa Rican food can be absolutely delicious (and healthy), with plenty of seafood dishes like ceviche or fish soup and mouthwatering chili con carne. Head to Café de los Deseos for superbly made tortillas or Olio for a Mediterranean-influenced gastro-pub meal. But Al Mercat is the best place to visit. Always sourcing its ingredients fresh from the central market, the menu constantly changes and offers a new window into Costa Rican cuisine. Expect a sit down meal to cost around ₡30,000, and street food meals to come to ₡10,000 or less.