Costa Rica’s capital, San Jose, is a buzzing city and acts as the main gateway to the country.

New flight routes to the city have recently opened, making holidays to San Jose more accessible than ever before with direct flights from the UK with British Airways. Most holidays to Costa Rica include some time in the capital, and its neoclassical buildings and charming, faded grandeur offer a pleasant surprise. Also known as Chepe, the city can make a rather unremarkable first impression but give the city a chance to show off its historic neighbourhoods and fascinating museums and you might just fall in love.

We’d recommend a night or two in San Jose to get your bearings, but don’t let its concrete buildings and noisy traffic overshadow its many hidden treasures. Delve under the surface and you’ll discover colourful neighbourhoods like Barrio Amon, where the crumbling colonial mansions of years past have been converted into contemporary galleries, boutique guesthouses and Latin-flavoured restaurants.

Pick up exotic fruit and mingle with the locals at the farmers’ market, take a stroll around the enormous urban green space of Parque La Sabana – San Jose’s answer to Central Park – or perhaps a stroll around the gold, jade or natural history museums or the National Theatre. After dark, the city comes alive with percussive rhythms of marimba and a pulsing dance beat.

With cultural landmarks on its doorstep and a huge expanse of natural beauty, San Jose holidays visit a multi-dimensional city that’s ripe for exploring.

Mari

Travel Specialist

I'm here to tailor-make your perfect San Jose And Central Valley holiday. Give me a call and I'll use my expertise to create your personalised experience.
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Where to go in Costa-rica

Costa Rica travel information

  • Time zone: -6 GMT
  • Flight time: 13-16 hours
  • Recommended airlines: American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United
  • Currency: Costa Rican Colon, US Dollar
  • Tipping guideline: 10% of total bill
  • Health considerations: There is a risk of altitude illness when travelling to destinations of 2,500m or higher. There is a risk of dengue. There is a risk of Zika virus. There is a low risk of malaria in Limon Province (but not in the city of Limon). There is a very low risk of malaria in the rest of the country, including the city of Limon. There is no risk of yellow fever in Costa Rica, however, yellow fever vaccination is required for travellers arriving from countries with risk of yellow fever transmission.
  • Capital: San Jose
  • Population: 5,246,714
  • National languages: Spanish
  • Electricity and plugs: Type A and Type B, 120 V, 60 Hz
  • Mobile phone coverage: Good
  • UK passport visa requirements: You don't need a visa for Costa Rica if you have a British passport - for a maximum of 180 days

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