Photo of San Jose

About San Jose

San Jose is a comparatively young city. Founded in 1738, it is a hodgepodge of concrete structures and colonial mansions - a marriage of elegant Art Deco townhouses and Brutalist slabs - and amid the roaring erratic traffic stands the cultural and gastronomic heart of Costa Rica. Teeming with art galleries, fascinating museums, farmers markets and artisan fairs, San Jose offers the eager tourist plenty to do. On the outskirts of the city the urban landscapes merge with wild green protected public parks like the San Gerardo de Dota, a haven for birdwatchers, and the Los Quetzales National Park, home of coyotes, tanagers and jaguars. Our list of the best places to stay in San Jose has something for everyone from sleek contemporary properties to chic boutiques.

What not to miss

  • Stroll through the picturesque neighbourhood of Barrio Aman, passed modern art galleries set in colonial mansions and the stunning Art Deco townhouses.
  • Enjoy the Farmers Market on Saturday.
  • Check out the Museo Nacional or the Museum of Gold.
  • Head to the arts and crafts market on Avenida 2.
  • Drive 50km east of the city to Costa Rica's largest volcano, in the Parque Nacional Volcan Irazu.
  • Go birdwatching in the San Gerardo de Dota - there are over 200 species of aviary birds.
  • Walk amongst the jaguars and coyotes in the Los Quetzales National Park.

While San Jose doesn't top the tourist map, it certainly should do: boasting a wonderful arts scene, second-to-none craftsmanship, gorgeous architecture and an even more fascinating heritage, it is ideal for backpackers and couples alike. Find out more by checking out our collection of the best places to stay in San Jose!

The best places to stay in San Jose

Cool & contemporary

  • Hotel Alta Las Palomas: a truly relaxing hotel with gorgeous views of the city, offering rooms with bright and contemporary interiors, a swimming pool, spa and restaurant. Perfect for couples looking for a cosy place to unwind.

Chic boutique

  • Hotel Grano de Oro: an effortlessly stylish hotel marrying traditionally-furnished rooms (complete with antique furniture and exposed wooden panelling) with contemporary flourishes and designer decor. A beautiful hotel with a sumptuous restaurant.

Rural getaway

  • Finca Rosa Blanca: a tropical paradise in the hills above San Jose, offering luxuriously-adorned and colourful yet minimalist rooms, a restaurant, spa and swimming pool. Luxury, pure and simple, admist the blooming arms of nature. Great for those without budget constraints!

For an apartment or villa

  • Our partner has a wide range of villas and apartments in the nearby area.

Travel information

  • Fly to San Jose Airport, in the outskirts of the city.
  • If you want to rent a car we recommend contacting our partner Rentalcars.
  • The best time to go is between January and March, when the temperature ranges between 18 and 26 degrees.

Still not sure?


Monthly Weather in San Jose

Best Hotels in San Jose

  • Hotel Alta Las Palomas San Jose (Escazú) 23 rooms from €126

    Local exploring  -  The hotel organises a huge range of tours so that you can truly get to know Costa Rica
    Back to Nature  -  A trip to the stunning Poas Volcano National Park, 20 miles away, is a must!
    Sights nearby  -  The Parque Diversiones amusement park is great fun and only a short distance from the hotel
    Romantic  -  Good for couples.

    Hotel Alta Las Palomas is situated in the city Santa Ana and offers splendid views of the San José area. The hotel's interiors are decorated in a contemporary style with plenty of colours being used whilst their La Luz restaurant serves up truly excellent cuisine! A wonderfully relaxing stay. See More

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  • Hotel Grano de Oro San Jose (Avenida 2 y 4) 39 rooms from €134

    City Style  -  An elegant hotel complete with fabulous restaurant. A glamorous stay.
    Local markets  -  Explore the lively Artisan Market and scour for a bargin.
    Full of character
    Romantic  -  Good for couples.
    Air conditioningRestaurantGardenDisabled accessParkingNo pets

    A chic boutique hotel well located in the historic residential neighbourhood of Barrio Don Bosco. Traditionally dressed rooms feature antique furniture, dark wood panelled walls and the best have private internal patios. A glamorous European evening is worthy of a visit alone. Fabulous. See More

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