Most travel blogs will tell you to skip right through San Jo. I am here to tell you otherwise. San Jose has been stepping up its game like no other. Whether you are staying the night here before your flight or taking in all that the city has to offer over a few days, San Jose will delight, surprise, and confuse you at every corner.
The San Jo Low Down
- How to Keep Busy
- Let's Talk Money
- Crash Pads
- Tips from Mary
- Related Articles
- Booking Resources
How to Keep Busy
- The Gold Museum: Out the many Museums to choose from in San Jo, this is for sure the raddest. It will cost you $13 to check out all the gold your heart desires. Location wise this is right smack in the middle of downtown San Jo, so after your visit you can check out the main pedestrian walking street and the central market.
- Go to all of the parks: San Jo is full of beautiful parks to relax and much away on snacks in. My favorite parks are La Sabana (huge park!), Parque Nacional, Parque Francia, Parque Espana, and Parque de la Paz. These are all scattered throughout the city and provide a beautiful setting for an afternoon beverage or even a nap.
- Mercado Central: Otherwise known as the Central Market. If you are looking to be fully immersed in the hubub of city life in Costa Rica, this is a must see. You will see butchers, bread makers, produce by the ton and many many places to try typical Costa Rican food. There is also a famous spot to try ice cream here, just ask anyone to point you in the direction of the "helado."
- Drink tons of Craft Beer: San Jo is bursting at the seams with craft breweries and gastropubs. Most of these are concentrated in Barrio Escalante, an upscale neighborhood on the east side of the city.
Let's Talk Money
- Transportation Prices: Pretty much everything in San Jo is walking distance. So during the day I suggest using your feet as much as possible, but during the occasional thunderstorm (hello, we are in still in the rain forest) or after it gets dark (even if that happens at 6pm) I would consider using Uber. Uber is SO cheap in San jo and is the safest mode of transportation. Most rides will cost you less than $2 USD. All roads lead to San Jo, so you can pretty much catch a bus to any other part of CR from here. Most buses between cities cost less than $10 one way.
- Food: Like any city the cost of food really depends on where you are eating. You can grab an empanada on the street for less than $1 USD or you can have a fancy smancy meal at a nice sit down for $15 -$20 USD. The cool thing about San Jo is that you have so many options! The cheapest way to eat your way through San Jo and all of CR is my chowing down at a Soda, or typical family owned restaurant, which are not in short supply.
- Crash Pads: There is a huge range of accommodations in San Jo. You can expect to spend between $8-15 USD for a bed in a hostel, low end hotels are about $50 USD a night, and modern/ new hotels are closer to $100 - $200 a night, especially in the fancier parts of the city. San Jo is also crawling with Airbnb listings and Couchsurfers!
- Hostels: There is no short supply of hostels in San Jo, below are my favorites!
- Hotels: If you are looking to stay in a place of your own, there are a handful of quaint and cozy hotels, here are two that I recommend in the city.
- Airbnb: In San Jo there are nearly as many Airbnbs as there are street corners. You can snag a room in shared house for about $15- $30 USD and a whole apartment for $40 - $100 bucks. The price is really dependent on the neighborhood. I would shoot for one in Barrio Escalate or Los Yoses. You can follow this link to get some cash money towards your first reservation with Airbnb!
Tips from Mary
1. In CR all gratuity is included in the price of the meal. There is no need to tip at restaurants (some will ask) and if you really feel the need just leave the change that rounds up the cost to the nearest dollar. You can tip your bellman, someone who helps you with your bags at airport and tour guides.
2. Get Gallo Pinto (A breakfast food made of beans, rice and all the right spices) at a Soda. My favorite in San Jo is called Soda Yogui's in San Pedro. There is no need to overpay for this classic at fancy cafe.
3. Skip the Taxi. Take Uber. Uber is significantly cheaper than taking a taxi- seriously usually less than half of the price. When taking an Uber try to pick a spot away from the taxi station, as you can imagine taxi driver are not a fan of Uber. Your Uber driver will ask you to sit in the front seat- this is normal.
4. Do not walk after dark- even if the sun goes down at 6pm. San Jo is no less safe than any major city, but it is best tom play it safe. The main form of crime is petty theft, so keep your belongings close and take an Uber while exploring at night.
5. Always carry an umbrella! The weather can change drastically over the course of a day. While it usually about 70-80 degrees Fahrenheit year round the amount of rainfall varies from season to season.
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