Biesanz Woodworks. Mercado Centrale. Over the last five years, downtown San Jose has revived itself through food and art. As the influence of younger generations takes hold, people are rediscovering.
Top 5 things to do in san jose costa rica -
Apart from its stunning architecture, the gold museum also has a rich cultural heritage collection of gold, art, pottery dating back to AD and interesting Costa Rican coins. Best time to visit: Early morning, as the museum gets crowded by the afternoon. Open all year round from 9 am to 5 pm. Tip: Make sure to keep your schedule fairly free for the day when touring the museum as there are over individual artifacts being displayed. Located about 85 km southeast of the city, this is the closest national park to San Jose.
With over species of birds, insects, wildlife and aquatic animals found in the cloud forest, this region is definitely worth a visit. San Gerardo de Dota is home to the striking quetzal bird, and other birds found here include the hummingbird, woodpecker, tanger and peccary. Tip: Carry binoculars while hiking here. Quetzals are frequently spotted during their breeding season, which is April to May.
El Pueblo is a world in its own —a mall decorated like an old villa that booms up with music, dancing, clubs, bars and pubs when the souvenir shops close for the day. El Pueblo is a great way to experience San Jose at night and is great for partying with friends. The drinks are reasonably priced and there are many varieties of bars to pick from. Best time to visit: Sundays and nighttime after 6 pm when the shops close. Tip: Be mindful of your environment during night time.
We advise travelling to El Pueblo in groups. Take a tour of the Metropolitan Cathedral Located in the center of San Jose, the Metropolitan Cathedral is a stunning building with religious art, stained glass, Doric columns and sculptures. This is also a local church that is busy most times of the day making it a perfect place to witness the religious activities of some of the faithful.
Best time to visit: The church is open almost all days, anytime from morning till evening. Tip: You can engage in some of the processions going on at the church but remember to seek permission first.
People-watch at Central Park Central Park is another city spot bursting with popular landmarks and is always packed with tourists and locals. It's proximity to most tourist attractions makes it a perfect place for people-watching. There are also several other activities on offer in Central Park including music, street food and local souvenirs to buy. Best time to visit: Anytime of the day from morning to evening, the crowd and the vibe changes with the flow of the people around it.
You can also make Central Park your pitstop while touring San Jose to catch some shade and take a rest. Suggested tour:.The most famous area to go shopping is at Santana Row. Pre-Colombian Gold Museum The gold artifacts are so cool to see — the detail is amazing! Tip: Carry binoculars while hiking here. If you are not feeling up to a long walking tour then maybe choose a paid tour with transport included. The Arenal Volcano is one of the most magnificent sights in Costa Rica — just look at it!
Top 5 things to do in san jose costa rica -
Try the macadamia crusted sea bass and Grano de Oro pie. As the influence of younger generations takes hold, people are rediscovering San Jose through elevated flavors and a newfound appreciation for historic treasures.
This youthful cultural renaissance promises to distinguish it from other Central American capitals. A day exploring the downtown city center is an easy way to feel out the vibe of the city. Located on Avenida Central Central Avenue , a convenient street for navigating places of interest, Plaza de la Cultura is the cultural and physical center of the city. Start here. This well-known pedestrian plaza is fantastic for people watching.
Grab a snack from a street vendor and watch the city come to life. Open to the public in , the National Theatre was modeled after the Paris Opera House in the neoclassical style. Further east on the Avenida Central, pass through the Plaza de la Democracia for its lively open-air markets. Originally built as a military barracks, the Costa Rican National Museum sits directly to the east of the plaza. What to Eat Dining is one of the highlights of downtown San Jose.
For something hip but casual, try Azotea Calle 7, the rooftop restaurant at Hotel Presidente, which is a short walk from the Avenida Central and other major downtown sites. La Esquina de Buenos Aires showcases in a fantastic array of meats from its namesake city in Argentina. These beer-focused additions are a breath of fresh air in a country that mainly drinks Imperial, Pilsen, or Bavaria brand beers. Isolino Restaurant offers visually-stunning gourmet creations. Luna Roja prepares innovative yet traditional Costa Rican meals.
Al Mercat farm-to-table dining taken by holacomilona Al Mercat is the go-to spot for vegetarian and vegan dishes with a side of greenery. Lush plants adorn their walls, creating a chic and fresh atmosphere. Throughout the year, Escalante hosts the Festival La Luz, an outdoor culinary festival of music, food, and craft beer attracting thousands.
Each festival celebrates a culinary theme like Italian, Costa Rican, Mexican, and the like. The Paseo Colon is a broad commercial avenue leading right into the city center. This elegant mansion also doubles as a furniture and antique store. Grano de Oro attracts local regulars and manages to give tourists an elevated dining experience.
The neighborhood has a unique mix of architectural styles ranging from modern skyscrapers to Art Deco apartments and colonial mansions. Take a stroll through it and admire the neo-Victorian tropical architecture of homes dating back to the late 19th and early 20th century and enjoy the unique collection of cafes, galleries, and shops.
Silvestre features contemporary Costa Rican cuisine and ingredients in a unique presentation that nod to Costa Rican culture. Where to Shop After checking out the cool houses and boutiques in Amon, wander over to the Paso de la Vaca area, home the Mercado Central.
The market presents an old-school maze of colors, flavors, scents, and sounds that promise to leave an impression. Over stalls of vendors sell everything from fruit and spices to toys and souvenirs. Sample exotic fruits and be sure to grab a bag of that famous Costa Rican coffee to bring home. Have lunch at one of the traditional Sodas that surround the market. Sodas serve typical Costa Rican cuisine, which is usually a rotation of hearty Central American staples— beans, rice, various meats.
Eating at a soda is a great value, as they usually fill you up with large, inexpensive portions of Costa Rican food. This large area is home to the University of Costa Rica and the Universidad Latina de Costa Rica, creating a younger vibe with plenty of opportunities for fun.
With a full menu and casual atmosphere, it is easy to devote an entire evening here. It is no secret that Costa Ricans love to dance! The pub scene has really grown in San Pedro, and we recommend the newly-renovated Eastern Pub. Casa Manga Restaurant For a little nostalgic daytime fun head to Salon de Patines, a large indoor roller-skating rink where the lights and music are just as important as the wheels.
Manga fans can walk over to Casa Manga, a kitschy ode to Japanese pop culture and comics with a side of coffee, sushi, and ramen. Day Trips from San Jose While the best of Costa Rica lies beyond the reaches of San Jose, there are some great single-day trips if you are based in the city and short on time.
Pacuare River Rafting If adventure is what you seek, a day rafting the famous Pacuare River is sure to up your adrenaline levels. The beautiful rainforest scenery and riverside picnic lunch make this rafting trip from average to extraordinary.
Some days, there is too much cloud cover to see it, but the experience of being atop a volcano is special nonetheless. After lunch, transfer an hour back to San Jose. These, of course, are in addition to the abundance of amazing restaurants and beautiful historical sites to keep you busy in San Jose. The airport is small but efficient, so depending on the time of year it is possible to clear immigration and customs in under an hour.
Of course, this depends on traffic which can be brutal in San Jose. But having a knowledgeable local driver and a private vehicle makes all the difference! You can also reach the Arenal volcano area, the Monteverde cloud forest, and Manuel Antonio within a 3-hour drive from the airport.