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European charm and Central American vitality combine to provide an interesting blend of old and new, making San José a fascinating Costa Rican city. Interact with friendly locals, investigate impressive European architecture, enjoy cultural arts and perfect your Spanish language skills.
Several of San José’s impressive public structures date back to Spanish settlement from as early as the 1700s. Experience some of the best of San José ’s cultural activities and see interesting buildings near the large Plaza de la Cultura. Here, admire the neo-classical architecture of the Teatro Nacional. Reserve seats for outstanding cultural events at this national theater or tour the opulent interior decorated with murals, paintings and sculptures.
Nearby, visit three exceptional museums. See dazzling indigenous pieces in the Pre-Columbian Gold Museum. The Museo del Jade has plenty of jade as well as anthropological artifacts. Learn about Costa Rican history and natural science at the Museo Nacional, another example of striking architecture.
Costa Rica is a popular location for language learners looking for immersion in a Spanish-speaking region, either through formal training or casual interaction with local residents. Sign up for one of many structured programs or test your Spanish skills in restaurants in the different barrios of San José.
You’re sure to get a friendly smile if you order gallo pinto (rice and beans) for breakfast just as the locals do. When you need a break from Spanish, go to the restaurants and country clubs of the western Escasu barrio with many English-speaking expats or visit the relatively new Chinatown area.
In March, the city hosts the Transitarte Festival. Enjoy pleasant summer weather and travel from one urban park to another to enjoy music, crafts, workshops and art.
Reach San José via Juan Santamaría International Airport, 10 miles (17 kilometers) northwest of the city center. Use public buses and taxis to get around the city. Many of the main landmarks are in the downtown or “el centro” area, easy to walk from one to another.
A restful alternative to the busier resorts of Costa Rica, Hotel Luisiana is 10 minutes' drive from the international airport and only 20 minutes from downtown San José. Guests can relax in the sleepy atmosphere of San Luis, or drive 11 minutes to the sprawling Multiplaza shopping mall.
This family-friendly San Jose hotel is located in the historical district, within a 15-minute walk of Children's Museum and Gold Museum. Central Park and National Theater are also within 1 mi (2 km).
Barcelo San Jose Palacio is situated on tropically landscaped grounds, 3 km (2 mi) from the museums, markets, and theaters of downtown San Jose; the airport is a 15-minute ride by complimentary shuttle (available on request).
Situated near the airport, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Cariari Bowling Center, Plaza Real Cariari, and Ultrapark Free Zone & Business Center. Global Park Free Zone and Business Park and Metro Free Zone & Business Park are also within 2 mi (3 km).
Situated in San Jose, this hostel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Estadio Nacional, Spirogyra Butterfly Garden, and Museum of Costa Rican Art. Gold Museum and National Theater are also within 3 mi (5 km).
Located in the heart of Santa Ana, this romantic hotel is within 2 mi (3 km) of Business Center Forum 1, Momentum Lindora Shopping Center, and Business Center Forum 2. Multiplaza Mall Escazu and Hospital Cima San José are also within 6 mi (10 km).
Situated near the airport, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Alajuela Cathedral and Central Park. Ojo de Agua Spa Park and Business Center Forum 2 are also within 6 mi (10 km).
Situated in Escazu, this hostel is within 3 mi (5 km) of Avenida Escazú, Hospital Cima San José, and La Salle Natural Science Museum. Multiplaza Mall Escazu and Costa Rica National Stadium are also within 3 mi (5 km).