Costa Rica’s capital, San Jose, is a buzzing city and acts as the main gateway to the country.
New flight routes to the city have recently opened, making holidays to San Jose more accessible than ever before with direct flights from the UK with British Airways. Most holidays to Costa Rica include some time in the capital, and its neoclassical buildings and charming, faded grandeur offer a pleasant surprise. Also known as Chepe, the city can make a rather unremarkable first impression but give the city a chance to show off its historic neighbourhoods and fascinating museums and you might just fall in love.
We’d recommend a night or two in San Jose to get your bearings, but don’t let its concrete buildings and noisy traffic overshadow its many hidden treasures. Delve under the surface and you’ll discover colourful neighbourhoods like Barrio Amon, where the crumbling colonial mansions of years past have been converted into contemporary galleries, boutique guesthouses and Latin-flavoured restaurants.
Pick up exotic fruit and mingle with the locals at the farmers’ market, take a stroll around the enormous urban green space of Parque La Sabana – San Jose’s answer to Central Park – or perhaps a stroll around the gold, jade or natural history museums or the National Theatre. After dark, the city comes alive with percussive rhythms of marimba and a pulsing dance beat.
With cultural landmarks on its doorstep and a huge expanse of natural beauty, San Jose holidays visit a multi-dimensional city that’s ripe for exploring.
San Jose has many cultural sights to explore, but the capital also has easy access to surrounding towns and natural landscapes where you can embark on a number of adventure activities.
Within a few hours of the capital you could be white water rafting down a surging river; hiking through the damp cloud forest or steamy rainforest; mountain biking along rutted trails or visiting butterfly farms or botanical gardens.
There are plenty of day trips from San Jose to suit all tastes.