San Jose & Central Valley, Costa Rica

San Jose & Central Valley Map

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San Jose is the capital city of Costa Rica and is conveniently located in the center of the country, providing visitors with easy access to several of the country's most popular activities. The city lies in the middle of the Meseta Central, or Central Valley, and enjoys a pleasant climate year round with temperatures that tend to hover around 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

History & Culture

Thanks to its central location and its status as the capital city, San Jose and the surrounding valley is home to more than two thirds of the country's entire population. The city also hosts an international airport, as well as universities, major hospitals, and commercial complexes.

Lodging & Dining

If you're looking to be close to all that the capital city has to offer, then you'll love Hotel Grano de Oro or Hotel Alta. Both of these luxurious hotels offer renowned restaurants of their own, and are within close proximity to all the culture, nightlife, and dining found in San Jose.

If tranquility is what you seek, but you still wish to take advantage of the conveniences of the city, then try Vista del Valle, El Silencio Lodge & Spa, Peace Lodge, or Xandari.

As this region is home to the capital city of San Jose, you'll find no shortage of great restaurants featuring local and international cuisine. If you are staying near the downtown area, try Bakea, an international/fusion restaurant in a restored mansion. This popular choice features creative cuisine and delicious desserts.

San Jose boasts a number of small cafes offering lighter fare and less expensive prices. Some of the best of these include Café Moro and Café Mundo. Also, don't miss El Balcón de Europa, one of San Jose's oldest restaurants.

For meals with an ethnic twist, try the Tin Jo for Asian food, Vishnu for Indian/vegetarian, Machu Picchu for Peruvian, Lubnan for Middle Eastern, or Le Monastere for upscale French cuisine.


From this central region, you really can experience all the best that Costa Rica has to offer through a number of exciting tours that depart daily from the local hotels. You may want to start with a tour of San Jose itself or visit the nearby historic towns of Sarchi and Grecia. History buffs will also love a visit to the Pueblo Antiguo Experience which transports visitors back to the Costa Rica of the early 1900's. Proceeds from this insightful attraction benefit the Costa Rican National Children's Hospital.

Many visitors come to Costa Rica to see volcanoes, and tours to Poás and Irazu are an option from San Jose and can be included with other tours of the region. Are you a coffee fan? Then try a tour of the Café Britt Plantation or the Doka Estate where you'll follow the life of a bean from being picked all the way to your mug. Scenic tours of the Orosi Valley and the Lankester Orchid Gardens are a great way to soak in the lush landscape of this beautiful country.

Adventurous souls will find plenty to do as well. Experience the thrill of white water rafting, or soar through the jungle on breathtaking canopy tours. Horseback rides and hiking are other great ways to experience the area while staying a little closer to solid ground. Boating tours to sandy beaches can also be arranged if the sea is calling your name.

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