BACK TO Costa Rica

San Jose

1 HOTEL IN San Jose


Introducing San José 

It’s impossible to visit San José and not be bowled over by the tropical terrain, mountains, volcanoes and rainforests, but this capital city has so much more to offer. From museums to cathedrals, farmers markets to shopping malls, each neighbourhood provides a cultural and historical insight into the city.


Things to do

Despite its youth (the capital was only established in 1738), San José has a deep and illustrious history. From Victorian structures to Art Deco builds, you need only take a stroll through Barrio Amón to see signs of the city’s colonial and European past. Or for cultural artefacts dating from pre-Columbian times, visit the National Museum of Costa Rica. The walls of this ochre-yellow building, located opposite the Legislative Assembly, still show the bullet holes made during the 1948 Costa Rica civil war. 

Renowned for its natural brilliance, San José is also a city of architectural triumph. Take, for example, the Metropolitan Cathedral built in 1871. Stained-glass windows depict scenes from the life of Christ, while intricate tile work lines the floor. From here, you’ll find the Teatro Nacional (National Theatre), a Neoclassical building adorned with sculptures of the nine muses. The square out front is a popular site for art exhibits and live performances.

For shopaholics and fashionistas, Escazú is a must-do destination. Home to the best mall in Costa Rica, Escazú is the urban epicentre of the city. From designer stores to movie theatres and restaurants, you could easily spend a whole day at The Multiplaza. Alternatively, shop like a local and visit the farmers markets at Barrio Escalante, for a gastronomic taste of the city.


Top Tip from SLH

Plan your visit to coincide with local music festivals and events such as the colourful spectacle of the Oxcart parade.