San José, Costa Rica is usually ignored when individuals go to this lovely Central American Nation, however it’s price spending a minimum of a day or two exploring this historic metropolis.
We did precisely that after our UnCruise from Panama to Costa Rica.
San Jose is the Capital metropolis of Costa Rica and it’s busy. It may be overwhelming if you first arrive. Folks fill the varied strolling streets and eating places are packed.
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However when you look previous the congestion and chaos, you will uncover a cultural metropolis crammed with loads of things to do.
These are our suggestions for things to do in San Jose if you happen to stick round earlier than or after your escape to considered one of Costa Rica’s tropical seashores.
Best things to do in San Jose Costa Rica
The very first thing to determine when visiting San Jose is deciding the place to remain. We did not have the primary clue of the place to begin, however then as we did our analysis, we realized that you just wish to keep close to the Avenida Central. (Central Avenue) situated in downtown San Jose.
When you’ve got the finances, we suggest the Gran Resort by Hilton. It’s proper within the coronary heart of all of the motion and it value us $197 USD.
It was price it for our brief keep as we have been strolling distance to all the most important sights.
Plus, being Hilton Honors members, we obtained a late checkout (three pm) after which had a soothing place to sit back whereas ready for our 11 pm flight dwelling the subsequent day.
In case you are searching for a extra native choice ensure that to take a look at this cool Air B&B proper within the middle of city.
Avenida Central – Central Avenue
Avenida Central is a strolling road going by the downtown core of San Jose. It’s crammed with eating places, outlets, and sights.
One of the best ways to begin your day is to discover a native espresso store to have some flavorful Costa Rican espresso, take it away with you and begin strolling alongside the avenue.
It’s quiet within the mornings and is the proper method to get your bearings.
There are a number of strolling streets moreover Avenida Central, so get misplaced and stroll alongside the auto-free streets to really feel the power of town.
Plaza de la Cultura
The Plaza de la Cultura is the primary sq. of San Jose full with the common spots to please locals. McDonald’s, Starbucks, Pizza Hut, you get the drift.
Do not be alarmed by all of the police wielding weapons strolling round. They’re there as a deterrent.
Plaza de la Cultura could be very secure and it’s a spot the place many excursions meet up, distributors promote crafts, road performers present their abilities and the place locals promote birdseed to feed the pigeons flocking to the sq..
There are many things to do on this space that you would be able to simply stroll to from the plaza.
And we’re about to record all of them under!
Mercado Central – Central Market
When looking for souvenirs, Central Market is an efficient place to begin. It is among the oldest landmarks in Costa Rica relationship again to 1821.
Locals store at this market and it is an awesome place to seize a chew to eat at one of many many stalls. You may see individuals sitting on stools consuming conventional meals, so why not be a part of them and say good day!
Teatro Nacional – Nationwide Theater of Costa Rica
The Nationwide Theatre of Costa Rica is the centerpiece of town. It is a assembly spot and the grande dame of the city.
Courting again to 1897, this historic constructing is a must-see. Excursions are supplied for $11 USD.
The espresso barons of the 19th century went all out importing marble from Italy, statues and opulent frescoes. The unique statues have been moved inside for concern of earthquakes and erosion.
Not pictures allowed within the theater.
Espresso Store at Nationwide Theater
If you do not have time for the 45 minute tour, or if you happen to do not wish to spend the $11, there’s a espresso store within the foyer the place you may get pleasure from a brew.
In the event you ask to make use of the lavatory, you may take a peek contained in the theater itself. They’re going to offer you a go to get by safety, however do not spend too lengthy lingering!
The store is busy, so make sure to seize a desk as quickly as you see one.
Free Strolling Tour
Every day at 9:00 am, there’s a free strolling tour lead by native guides. They’re supplied in each Spanish and English.
Patrons meet in entrance of the Nationwide Theater and be a part of their information with the purple vest and umbrella for a cultural tour of San Jose.
Beware, there’s a copycat information that stands out entrance of the theater publicizing his personal strolling tour. He practically obtained us the day earlier than telling us that the free strolling tour begins at 12:30.
We popped as much as our lodge room to drop some stuff off and seemed up how a lot we should always tip. The very first thing we noticed was his face warning that he was a fraud.
The free excursions do not ever go away at 12:30, they go away at 9:00 am day-after-day.
Urged Tip: $10 USD per particular person.
Searching for Day Excursions from San Jose? These are the most well-liked!
Pre-Columbian Gold Museum of San Jose
Situated beneath The Plaza de la Cultura (the primary sq. of San Jose) The Pre-Columbian Gold Museum is among the hottest museums to go to in San Jose.
A few of the metallic objects on show date again to 500 AD.
Right here you will study of on a regular basis life and what the use and goal was of the gold spanning from 500 AD to the 1500s when the Spanish arrived within the space.
Nationwide Museum – Bullet Holes
If you wish to go to one other museum, the Nationwide Museum is a should.
In the event you aren’t a museum fan, you continue to should stroll alongside the skin of the museum to see the bullet holes within the partitions and watchtower which can be nonetheless there from the 1948 Civil Conflict.
The Nationwide Museum was initially a fortress and these have been its military barracks.
It is a fantastic constructing. Remember to try the stone sphere sitting in a glass encasement.
The stone spheres of Costa Rica date again to 200BC and there have been greater than 300 of them found all through the nation.
The stone balls starting from just a few centimeters to 2 meters in diameter and weighing as much as 15,00zero kg (16 tons) are so spectacular that some are on show around the globe together with two in the USA.
Our information instructed us that treasure hunters blew them up once they have been first found considering that gold was hidden inside.
The Jade Museum is one more museum that’s price a go to. It’s situated simply behind the Nationwide Museum and you probably have further time, you may pop in there.
The jade on show dates again to 500 BC. The Pre Columbians traded with the Mayans throughout this era and this uncommon stone performed a big function within the each day lifetime of Pre-Columbian Costa Rica.
Different Museums in San Jose
Kids’s Museum – The Museo de Los Ninos is fashionable for households full with dinosaurs, science shows, historic Egypt and Costa Rican historical past. What makes it good are the interactive shows.
Museum of Pure Sciences – Thought-about among the best in Latin America for animals, archeology, and dinosaurs.
One other pretty strolling road in entrance of the Nationwide Museum is California Boulevard. aka Calle 17.
It was designed to imitate the streets of Los Angeles. This strolling road is much quieter than Avenida Central and its cobblestone path is lined with palm bushes and colonial structure.
That is the place you will discover many authorities buildings, non-public residences, and educations facilities.
Alongside this road, is the place you will additionally uncover lovely road artwork.
Like many cities, road tagging was turning into an issue in San Jose, so that they supplied artists an opportunity to personal a chunk of the wall to have a good time their expression of artwork.
We have been instructed that every artist auditioned for his or her spot they usually have been granted a chunk of wall for 5 years.
It’s a quiet and small park, however the Nationwide Park of San Jose is historic. Additionally it is a spot the place you may view the railway.
Trains have been a well-liked method to get across the nation, however corruption put a cease to them when the individuals in energy had a vested curiosity is car manufacturing.
Right now, Costa Rica is engaged on rebuilding the rail traces and shortly vacationers will be capable to get across the nation within the consolation of trains.
Sa Casa Del Cacao – Chocolate Manufacturing facility
Chocolate was as soon as prized as a lot as gold in Costa Rica and it was as soon as the highest export of the nation.
The Casa del Cacao affords chocolate workshops.
Get pleasure from this Day Tour of San Jose Costa Rica
Behind the Overseas Ministry is a chunk of the Berlin Wall.
It is a pretty yellow constructing, so you may’t miss it if you’re strolling across the metropolis.
Metropolitan Cathedral of San Jose
The gorgeous cathedral is situated within the coronary heart of town. Its doorways are open to guests, however be respectful as it’s a working cathedral.
Every time we visited, mass was going down and worshippers have been sitting within the pews.
Its lovely design is a mixture of baroque, neoclassical and Greek orthodox. After a collection of earthquakes, it was rebuilt in 1871. It’s such an essential church that Pope John Paul II visited the cathedral in 1983.
In case you are searching for that Instagrammable metropolis signal that may be noticed all around the world, that is the place to go. It is much less crowded than the signal at Plaza de la Cultura.
It’s the oldest public area in San Jose situated beside the Metropolitan Cathedral. There’s some attention-grabbing structure to take a look at right here and it is a fashionable hanging spot for locals.
View from Bar at Gran Resort by Hilton
The Gran Resort is essentially the most historic lodge within the metropolis. It has been fully renovated and could be very stylish.
In-built 1930, The Gran Resort has essentially the most coveted location in San Jose. It is situated straight on the Plaza de la Cultura with the Nationwide Theater, Gold Museum and Avenida Central situated subsequent door.
JFK stayed right here throughout his go to however he would not acknowledge it, its renovations have created a contemporary design that makes you wish to hang around.
The workers is tremendous pleasant. Be sure that to move as much as the highest flooring to the piano bar for a glass of wine overlooking town of San Jose. It is the most effective view on the town!
Chinatown San Jose
A unusual cease on our free strolling tour was San Jose’s Chinatown. Our information instructed us that the plan is to construct it up extra and make is an precise vacation spot within the metropolis.
We did not see any Chinese language throughout our go to to San Jose, however they do have a photogenic Chinatown gate, so I imagine there will probably be way more sooner or later.
Taking the free strolling tour helped us admire the buildings across the metropolis. We stopped in entrance of many to study of their historical past. This pink metallic constructing was impressed by the Eiffel Tower.
It was truly despatched from Europe in items and was put collectively piece by piece. Right now it’s a non-public faculty, however it’s undoubtedly price stopping to see.
There’s a lovely row of rubber bushes that makes for a stunning .
The place to Eat in San Jose Costa Rica
This distinctive cafeteria employs individuals with disabilities creating an area the place they will really feel comfy, and achieve employment.
It is identified for its scrumptious espresso, smoothies.
It is situated close to the Chinese language gate.
This fashionable spot for locals has scrumptious tortillas. Whereas there, make sure to strive the native lemonade-like drink often called Cas.
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Getting Round San Jose
We used Uber to get to and from the airport. It was secure, quick and reasonably priced. It value us $15 USD together with tip.
**Be aware we learn that ideas will not be anticipated by Uber drivers in San Jose, however now we have a behavior of tipping. (gotta preserve that prime Uber star score)**
For the remainder of our travels within the metropolis, we walked. Since we stayed proper downtown, we did not must go wherever else throughout our two days in San Jose.