Carbon Neutral 100%
Our most popular destinations in Central America
  • Tour Ideas
Holiday Ideas
  • Travel Style
  • Interests and Activities
  • Tour Ideas by Month
  • Continents and Regions
An update from Evaneos
San José

San José (Costa Rica)

Practical information about San José

  • Place or Religious Monument
  • Festivals
  • Museums
  • Place or Historical Monument
2 / 5 - 3 reviews
How to get there
13 hour flight from Paris
When to go
Year round
Minimum stay
One day

Reviews of San José

Travel writer
181 travel articles

The capital of Costa Rica, a town where it's always spring and the strategic joint between the two sides of the country.

My suggestion:
You're likely to get bothered a lot in the street. Be careful, there are a lot of scams about, especially that of the Frenchman who has "just had all his stuff stolen" and just needs a few colons to get by.

Everyone agrees, the town ofSan José is only somewhere to stop over during a trip to Costa Rica. Here there's no chance of finding the environmental amenities so characteristic of the rest of the country. It almost looks like a town in the United States there are so many fast food outlets along the main roads.

Visit wise it's a bit lackluster, a few colonial buildings, museums...Very disappointing at first sight. However, as I chose to travel round the country using only public transportation I had to go back there between virtually every stage. And in the end the town tamed me! The pleasant climate and the welcome I got from the Ticos (the people who live there) had a lot to do with it, especially as the Ticos love talking to anyone from abroad about their modern culture. Which is enough to make you happy if intercultural exchanges are an important part of your trip to Costa Rica!

Make sure you go to the colorful central market and enjoy the tranquility of the historic center. 

Mural in San José
Travel writer
27 travel articles

If you are going to Costa Rica by plane you will arrive at San José, but it's really just the administrative and economic capital of the country.

My suggestion:
If you need to drive around San José or want to find a specific address you'll need a GPS. The sprawling road network, punctuated by one way streets, is really not designed to be helpful to strangers.

San José is just what you expect from a Central American capital city, vast, residential as soon as you get out of the town's center, and a bit hostile if you've come looking for Costa Rica's nature and greenery.

Because of its situation in the center of the country, San Jose is the principal hub of all the means of transport across the country (mostly by bus). During my trip to Costa Rica, I spent two nights in the town and I didn't find much worth spending time on there. Only the architecture of two or three streets right in the center of town shows any evidence of San José's colonial past.

Apart from that, as far as I am concerned, the town is simply the nerve center of the country's employment market, economy and administration. What's more, in the few tourist sites of the town, you'll stand out as a stranger and be targeted by all the beggars looking for charity.

A street in San José
sonia goupil Travel writer
12 travel articles

San José is the capital of Costa Rica. The international airport at Alajuela is just twenty minutes from the capital.

My suggestion:
San José is somewhere to arrive or leave from, a place to stay between two others or an overnighter, but not somewhere to stop.

Like many capital cities in Central and South America, San José has little charm, unlike the rest of the country.

When I arrived my first impressions were: anarchic, noisy and dirty. Every time I've been I've had the same thought: go somewhere else as quickly as possible. Its inhabitants have all the usual attitudes and habits of city dwellers. The town is badly designed with big avenues and tiny streets that go up and down.

And there's not a lot to do, apart from a theater and a zoo...even the people who live there will say the same! 

The one thing in its favor is that it has lots of youth hostels. From a practical point of view, San José is right in the middle of the country and so is often a transit point for a night or two. Lots of travelers stay there during their trip to Costa Rica before they head towards more exotic horizons.

Street in San José