San Jose, Costa Rica has so much to offer- don’t miss out!
Often, when visitors travel Costa Rica, San Jose goes virtually unnoticed, let alone visited, enjoyed, and appreciated. Those visitors are missing out! San Jose, indeed, has much to offer. We find it’s a great idea to plan at least a day, or three, in the city; even if it’s on the book-end(s) of your trip!
Here’s a short list of fun and interesting things to do while in San Jose Costa Rica.
Take the VIP City Bus Tour
Doing the VIP City Bus Tour of San Jose is a great way to kick off your time in the capital city of Costa Rica; you’ll be introduced to many of San Jose’s most popular attractions, historical monuments, museums, and market places. You’ll learn a little bit of Costa Rica’s history, enjoy an authentic Costa Rican lunch, and generally have fun with your fellow explorers and guides.
Your fully guided tour of San Jose will take place on a double decker bus, and be highlighted by interesting stories, live folk music, bi-lingual attendants, lots of laughter, and a bit of shopping in San Jose’s Central Market. The VIP City Bus Tour will provide roundtrip transportation to and from your hotel, you’ll have Wi-Fi access on the bus, and there will be complimentary water and juice throughout the day.
Among the interesting attractions you may visit are Barrio Amón, the Catedral Metropolitana, Estadio Nacional de Costa Rica, Estatua León Cortés, Mercado Central, Parque Morazán, Plaza de la Democracia, Plaza de la Cultura, and Teatro Nacional.
Making a reservation is as easy as asking your hotel concierge, or booking directly online.
Attend a theatrical performance
San Jose is home to a number of wonderful theaters and there is plenty to do for the culturally minded.
Among the most famous of them is the National Theater of Costa Rica (Teatro Nacional) opened to the public in 1897, after six years of construction. Considered to be the finest historical building in the city, the theater is renowned for its superb interior design, boasting statues of Calderon de la Barca, and Ludwig Van Beethoven, as well as hand painted murals, and neo-classical architecture.
The National Symphonic Orchestra performs regularly in the theater and other artists, dance companies, and operas from around the world are often featured. When no performances are on the marquee, guests can stop in to have coffee at the theater’s café and explore the fine art and design of the building.
If you’re in the mood for a play or a concert, ask your concierge or pick up a local newspaper; La Nación has a great entertainment section and you’ll be able to choose from several plays, musical performances, and dance shows. From grand, historical theaters such as Teatro Nacional to small, neighborhood play-houses, there is plenty to see and do on the theater front in San Jose.
Enjoy a picnic in the park
La Sabana Metropolitan Park (Parque Metropolitano La sabana) is a huge park on the west side of the city, very near Hotel Grano De Oro, and is adjacent to the Costa Rica National Stadium. Featuring a large lake, plenty of walking trails, football fields, modern sculptures, pony rides, and paddle boat rentals, a day at the park is a fun way to enjoy the city.
Another wonderful park to visit, especially on weekends, is Parque Morazán. Adjacent to the CENAC (Central Nacional de la Cultura), and near the famous Bario Amon with its coffee houses, restaurants, and bars, the park is home to a beautiful gazebo built in 1920, and named The Temple of Music. The venue was slated for live music performances, which often still take place. Finally, visitors will find lovely gardens, various sculptures, and a few monuments to Latin American historical figures.
On Saturdays, the park is home to Enamorate de Tu Ciudad, an event that takes place weekly and features yoga sessions, hoola-hooping classes, live music, dance performances, workshops, and more.
Spend a morning or afternoon at the organic farmer’s market
The Feria Verde de Aranjuez is a delightful organic farmers market on the East side of town, which features organic fruits and vegetables, as well as artisan cheeses, salsas, breads, pastas, arts, crafts, jewelry, and more. The same market takes place West of San Jose, in the town of Cuidad Colon, on late Tuesday afternoons.
A wonderful way to spend a morning, or afternoon, the market typically boasts live music, local artists, delicious food venders, arts and crafts, jewelry and clothing booths, and more. Even if you’re not looking to shop for fruits and veggies, the market is a fun place to hang out, have a deliciously prepared organic meal in an al fresco setting, rub elbows with the locals, enjoy some music, and shop for wonderfully authentic artisan crafts, essential oils, leather work, and jewelry.
A weekly tradition for many, those who are on a “stay-cation” in San Jose, Costa Rica will quickly make friends at the Feria Verde if they choose to return again and again.
Go dining and dancing
Whether you’re in the mood for a terrific steak or a world-class ceviche, you’re down for jazz, deep house, or salsa and merengue, there’s a little something to satisfy, for everyone in San Jose.
When it comes to fine dining, we love Grano de Or with its French European cuisine and phenomenal wine list, Esquina Buenas Aires with its exceptional steaks done Argentine style, and Furka for their farm to fork philosophy, fresh ingredients and friendly service.
When we’re ready to get our boogie on, we head to Antik Restaurant + Bar, situated downtown in the historical Casa Matute, for a one place presents all choice in tunes; upstairs for pop music like Salsa, Reggaeton, Hip Hop, and Reggae , or downstairs for world class DJs spinning everything from deep house to techno.
In the mood for some lounge style jazz? Check out Sotono, located in Bario Amon, for live jazz every night of the week.
Whether it’s at the start of your Costa Rica vacation or the end, be sure to slate some time for the city, because, with its rich culture and vibrant history, San Jose has a great deal to offer and you won’t want to miss out.