Sure, you’re probably headed for Costa Rica’s rainforests and natural wonders. But its capital city of San José shouldn’t be overlooked. Here’s how we’d spend a fast day taking in the city’s booming arts and culinary scene.
Have a java
If you’re a caffeine junkie, San Jose is a great city to wake up to. To taste the good stuff for yourself, head to a third-wave coffee shop like Cafeteca in Barrio Escalante. They specialize in single estate, small-brew coffees from around the country, each with their own unique flavor profiles thanks to variations in altitude and mineral-rich soils. A knowledgeable barista can help you choose the best coffee for your taste and prepare it using the ideal method to extract the flavor.
Unlike your typical morning coffee routine, you might find yourself lying there a little longer than expected, whether it’s another cup of coffee or a freshly baked pastry from Cafeteca Kitchen. Don’t forget to pick up a few bags of roasted beans to take home with you.
What’s old is new again
After you’ve been caffeinated enough, make your way to the historic district of Barrio Amon. It is one of the oldest areas in the city and where cafetelleros, coffee growers built mansions from the late 1800s to the early 1900s. Admire the tropical Neo-Victorian architecture here painted in beautiful shades of yellow, pink, and blue. Many of the buildings have since been converted into trendy hotels, cafes, and restaurants where you can stop to grab a bite for lunch. Café Mundo, located in a century-old house, has a bohemian vibe with a seafood-focused menu.
The art scene here is strong and developing. A former rum factory has been renovated into the Museum of Contemporary Art and Design and features modern works from artists from across Central America. Expect an emphasis on young artists and boundary-pushing works here. If you’re lucky, you can see a performance at the museum’s open-air theater, Pila de la Melaza.
Afterward, head to the Galleria Nunu, a private gallery that displays the works of indigenous artists. Find everything from jewelry and ceramics to folk art, textiles, prints, and boricua masks, the latter of which was worn by the indigenous population to defeat the Spanish conquistadors and is now known as the annual ‘Fiesta de Los Designed to celebrate ‘Diablitos’ (Festival of the Devils). Pick up a print or souvenir to take home or admire a work of art.
Quench your appetite with a visit to Mercado Central and witness vendors selling local, fresh produce as well as tchotchkes and knick-knacks (it’s a great place to pick up inexpensive souvenirs). If you’re on a budget, buy some Market Eats here for dinner, or head back to Barrio Escalante’s Calle 33, nicknamed Paseo Gastromico or “Eat Street,” for its hip restaurant and bar.
At El Mercat, Cordon Bleu-trained chef Jose Pablo González serves up Costa Rican staples with a modern, attentive twist, while Restaurante Grano d’Oro combines local, traditional ingredients with French and Mediterranean cooking techniques. San Jose’s craft brewing scene is on the rise, so enjoy a full day with a pint of trendy Sobranos brews on the patio with fairy lights, or challenge your travel companions inside their retro arcade games.
Frequently Asked Questions About San José, Costa Rica
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San Jose Costa Rica Airport – Juan Santamaría International Airport (Spanish: Aeropuerto Internacional Juan Santamaría) (IATA: SJO, ICAO: MROC) is the primary airport serving San José, the capital of Costa Rica.
Q. What is San Jose Costa Rica known for?
A – San Jose is home to a dense culture and history, exquisite architecture, bustling nightlife, and friendly locals. Because it is the cultural center of the country, there are plenty of museums, art galleries, parks, and dining options for visitors to choose from.
Q. Where do the largest number of black people live in Costa Rica?
A – Currently, most of the Afro-Costa Rican population lives in small communities within the Caribbean coast province of Limón. In the city of Limón, where one-third of the population is Afro-Costa Rican, the community remains isolated in barrios that are 90 percent black.
Q. Is it expensive to live in San Jose Costa Rica?
A – Summary about the cost of living in San Jose, Costa Rica: a family of four estimated monthly costs without rent is 2,291$ (1,466,308₡). The estimated monthly cost for a single person is 631$ (404,117₡) without rent. San Jose is 52.95% less expensive than New York (without rent).
Q. Is it raining all day in San Jose Costa Rica?
A – If you travel during the rainy season from May to November, you may encounter some rain. But that doesn’t mean that every day of your vacation will rain all day. More likely, you’ll have dry, sunny mornings and rain in the afternoon or evening.
Q. What is the rainiest month in Costa Rica?
A – September and October are Costa Rica’s rainiest months, with almost all day of rainfall. If you book a trip during these months, don’t worry: these are the most beautiful months along Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast. Plan to visit Cahuita, Puerto Viejo, or Tortuguero.
Q. How much snow does it take in San Jose Costa Rica?
A – San Jose, California receives an average of 17 inches of rain per year. The US averages 38 inches of rain per year. San Jose receives an average of 0 inches of snow per year. The US averages 28 inches of snow per year.
Q. What are the things to do in San Jose Costa Rica?
A – The main attraction for tourists visiting San Jose is the museums. If you only have limited time, we recommend the National Museum and the Pre-Columbian Gold Museum. What we love most about the National Museum ($11) is that you learn something about a wide range of topics related to Costa Rica’s history.
Q. Is it worth visiting San Jose Costa Rica?
A – San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica, has 288,000 residents and doesn’t have the best of reputations. People say that going there as a tourist is too dangerous and the capital doesn’t have much to offer. And we can confirm: Yes, San Jose is definitely worth a look!
Q. How can I spend a day in San Jose Costa Rica?
A – A day in San Jose Costa Rica.
Walk around downtown.
People-watch at a public park or plaza.
Watch a football game at the National Stadium of Costa Rica.
Explore the Jade Museum.
Explore the Pre-Columbian Gold Museum.
Explore the National Museum.
Tour the National Theater.
Q. Are all Costa Ricans in the same time zone?
A – Costa Rica has one time zone, located in the UTC–6:00 zone, which is 6 hours behind Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). Costa Rica maintains the same time offset on all days of the year, so it does not have Daylight Saving Time.