We have endeavored to create a fun and enriching guide to help you plan your memorable trip, and also get a taste of Costa Rica’s unique ecological diversity and rich culture. Travel with us throughout Costa Rica in an 8 day adventure, starting from the country’s capital of San Jose, to the lush Caribbean coast.
A new location will be released every week with new information and interesting suggestions about the following locations:
- San José
- 5 Beaches Tours
- Puerto Viejo
Without further due, let’s get started with San José, or as the locals call it, Chepe. Although it’s not a main attraction in the country – many tourists try to escape the ﬂat architecture and honking traffic as quickly as possible. But linger a while, and you’ll ﬁnd that this metropolis of 1.5+ million people, with its historic neighborhoods, world-class restaurants and friendly inhabitants, is actually a pretty inspired place. Here are our top hotel recs, along with the best stuff to see and eat in the vicinity:
Grano de Oro
Hotel Grano de Oro is a converted Victorian mansion with lavish adornments, bubbling fountains and two rooftop Jacuzzis. The hotel restaurant is excellent (especially the signature macadamia nut-encrusted sea bass) but for dinner we recommend Park Café. The chef studied under French legend Jöel Robuchon, and the setting – an alfresco garden of international antiques – is exquisite.
Time permitting, try to catch a performance at the National Theater, a neoclassical marvel with towering statues and an opulent upstairs parlor that can be toured by day. If you’ve left your car in the hotel lot, deﬁnitely partake in the theater café’s alcoholic coffee concoctions.
This also allows a stroll through the bustling Mercado Central, where people sell everything from boots to love potions. Also – I can’t stress this enough – get a dulce de leche churro from Crispy Churros across from the theater. Best $3 you will spend!
If you are downtown on a Saturday, you must GPS yourself to Feria Verde (car entrance). This weekly farmer’s market and its live music, diverse produce and innovative breakfasts draw all the crunchy locals (and their dogs) for the city’s most iconic event.
Hotel Don Carlos
We recommend you stay at Hotel Don Carlos, the former home of President Tomás Guardia, you’ll be surrounded by gorgeous murals and cultural artifacts and conveniently located in historic Barrio Amón, near many attractions and restaurants.
If you have time, we recommend exploring the “Museo de Oro” (Gold Museum) or the recently reopened “Museo de Jade” (Jade Museum) to get a sense of the region’s pre-Columbian history. Also be sure to saunter around the neighborhood, dipping in an out of art galleries and refurbished mansions. For hipster-watching and yummy cocktails, head for “Café de los Deseos”.
Don’t forget to hit Barrio Escalante, the city’s up-and-coming gastronomic district, for craft beers and a farm-to-table meal at Al Mercat or Rávi Gastropub. Staying at the Don Carlos, you’ll also have easy access to Hwy 32, which is a straight shot to the Caribbean.
Try not to get to bed too late, you’ve got an exciting journey ahead tomorrow morning…