San José is a great place for tourists to experience the excitement of city life in a country so well-known for its beaches and nature. You could find yourself poking around the capital’s historic neighbourhoods by day and dancing the night away to live music in the evening. Colonial mansions in Barrio Amon have been converted into art galleries, restaurants and boutique hotels. You may find it fun to join the hordes of Saturday shoppers at the organic farmers’ market in Arunjuez or join the Sunday crowds in Parque La Sabana.
Areas & Neighbourhoods in San José
Barrio Amon & Aranjuez — This area is home to some of Costa Rica’s most historic buildings. The grand colonial architecture features hand-carved woodwork, wraparound porches and other quaint details of a bygone era. You will also find several fine dining restaurants here.
San Pedro, Los Yoses & Barrio Escalante — There is a young, hip vibe here which is favoured by students, professionals and young families. Tourists will also find San José’s largest selection of restaurants and nightlife.
Parque La Sabana — Parque La Sabana offers wide, open spaces, towering eucalyptus trees, a small lake and art museum – the perfect place for some respite from the centre. This is a good place to visit the theatre, opera or experience one of the many gourmet restaurants.
Santa Ana — Santa Ana offers a wide range of outdoor activities from horseback riding classes to golfing on championship courses. This area is also noted for its verdant mountains and constant breezes.
Things to See in San José
San José is home to dense culture, history and exquisite architecture and is described as the cultural hub of the country. There are countless museums, art galleries, parks and dining options for tourists to choose from. Although the city is fairly modern in parts, you will see plenty of World War II era buildings. The Democracy Plaza is a good spot where the elevated terraces provide great views of the mountains surrounding San José, especially at sunset. While you’re there, you could visit the open-air crafts market on the west side. The small but fascinating Jade Museum is a good place to spend a relaxing afternoon. Here you will see the largest collection in the world of this semi-precious stone.
Things to Do in San José
If you like to be active on holiday, there are a number of walking and cycling tours so you can fully immerse yourself in the city’s culture. You can choose from a food-oriented exploration, a bar-hopping tour focusing on traditional downtown cantinas or a tour of San José’s parks and green spaces. For adrenaline junkies, rafting down the Pacuare River is a must. You can travel up to 18 miles taking in 52 rapids. World famous for its breathtaking beauty, the river gorge is flanked by steep, green walls and waterfalls cascading into the river on both sides.
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