The Costa Rican capital may lack some of the charm and exotic features from the rest of the country. Still, give it a chance and take a few days to enjoy everything else it has to offer. There are some great museums, parks, and streets you can visit.
To find out more about what to see and do in the city, also known as Chepe, read this short and informative travel guide.
What to see and do in San Jose
There are some quite interesting museums in the capital that are worth visiting. Admire the green beauty of jade at the Jade Museum where you can see some fascinating pieces. You’ll also be able to enjoy the spectacular views of the city from the 11th floor of the National Insurance Building where the museum is located. Other museums you can visit are the Costa Rican Art Museum, housing a permanent display of 3,200 national treasures, the Gold Museum housing a huge display of glittering gold, and the Museo de Arte Costarricense where you’ll get to enjoy the power of various art pieces.
The volcano is no longer active, but you can hike around it and enjoy the unusual beauty of the place. The caldera, filled with the sulfur water will captivate you. It’s a great day trip and an escape from the busy city.
Catch the city vibes
At the Mercado, where you can buy almost everything, but it’s better to visit just for the food. Try some delicious, local meals for some authentic vibes and practice your Spanish. Or stroll around the Pedestrian Mall, Plaza de las Artes, Iglesia de la Merced…
Hostels offer dorms from 9$ and private rooms from 18$. The majority of hostels include free WiFi and breakfast in their offer, and lots of them also have kitchens. You can find many budget-friendly places where you can spend the night from 12$. However, the closer the hotel is to the city’s center, the higher will be the price. Expect to pay from 48$ up for a room. You may also try Airbnb or crash on the couch of a fellow Couchsurfing community member.
Food and drinks
Sodas, these small and inexpensive restaurants are your best go to if you’re on a tight budget. Here you can eat and drink from 3-6$. If cravings for fast food kick in, expect to pay around 7$ for such a meal. Eating at restaurants usually costs between 8-10$. Tap water should be drinkable at most places, but you should always double check. Lots of places use filters or make sure their water is safe to drink. Soft drinks cost around 1.50$ and a cup of a coffee based drink cost around 2.50$, depending on the beverage.
There’s no need to rent a car or a bike for getting around the city as the majority of landmarks are within walking distance. Taxi fares begin at 1.10$ but expect to reach deeper into your pocket if you decide to visit the city’s outskirts. Getting to the town from the airport costs around 24$, and a city bus around 0.50$. Prices for intercity travels tend to be a bit higher, around 4$.
Entrance fee to the Gold Museum is around 10$, 8$ for students, children under the age of 12 don’t have to pay. A visit to Jade Museum will cost you less than 15$ and 5$ for kids. Costa Rican Art Museum costs 5$ and less than 3$ if you’re a student. You can visit the National Center for Art & Culture, for free on Mondays, otherwise, it costs 3$. Coffee lovers, rejoice! Taking a tour to famous Doka plantation will cost you around 22$.