San Jose
San Jose © Artura Sotillo

San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica, loses many tourists to the beauty of the country's jungles and beaches. But those who venture to the urban heart of Costa Rica will find a lively city of more than 300,000 people that offers the best selection of shops, restaurants and nightlife in Costa Rica.

San Jose is a modern city, but tourists will want to head to pretty areas like Barrio Amon and the bustling Mercado Central for a sense of the city's culture and history. A number of museums dedicated to gold mining, pre-Colombian jade, contemporary art, and insects will teach visitors of all ages about Central America, and the large selection of restaurants serving delicious local cuisine will give you the energy to see them all.

Although there are plenty of things to see and do in San Jose, the city's location in the middle of the country makes it ideally situated as a base to explore the natural attractions of central Costa Rica. Manuel Antonio National Park, Fortuna, and the Tilarán Mountain Range are all within three to four hours drive of the city. Public transport in Costa Rica also uses San Jose as a hub, making it a convenient stop on any holiday.


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