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San José is Costa Rica’s modern and bustling capital and is likely to be the starting point for your Costa Rica holiday. During your San José holiday you will experience stunning colonial architecture, as well as delighting in the many cultural highlights found around every corner.

Paseo Colón is the hub of the capital city, bisecting its way through San José’s bustling centre. From there, you can take in the neoclassical beauty of the National Theatre of Costa Rica, as well as the glorious 19th century Metropolitan Cathedral. Don’t miss out on San José’s museums either, including the National Museum of Costa Rica and the hidden jewel that is the Jade Museum, an archaeological museum dedicated to items adorned with the precious gem, jade. Finish your day with a strong cup of Costa Rica’s famous coffee, which is sold in cafés throughout the city.

The natural beauty of San José holidays

For a city, San José is a nature lover’s paradise: you will love the open green spaces regularly breaking up the bustling urban streets. La Sabana Park is the largest, covering 72 hectares and offering beautiful walks that allow you to glimpse some of the local flora and fauna. Alternatively, visit José Maria Orozco Botanical Garden, which offers the delightful fragrance of thousands of native Costa Rican plants. If you’re seeking some adventure, your San José holiday can offer plenty of opportunities to leave the hustle and bustle and explore the wilder areas surrounding the capital city, including the awe-inspiring Poas Volcano National Park.

If you’re a foodie then you will find a whole world of gastronomical delights in San José; from traditional street food in one of the many sodas (cafés), through to haute cuisine in some of Latin America’s best-rated restaurants. When you’ve exhausted everything holidays in San José have to offer, you can then continue your adventure elsewhere in Central America, to exotic locations like Guatemala. Alternatively, hop across the sea to one of the Caribbean’s beautiful islands.

Destination Highlights

  • Take in a show at the world-famous National Theatre of Costa Rica and admire its decadent interior
  • Immerse yourself in Costa Rica’s fascinating history with a visit to the National Museum of Costa Rica
  • Experience the bustling heartbeat of the city - San José Central Market. Finish your shopping spree with strong coffee at a soda (local café)
  • Soar over the rainforest in an aerial tram in the Parque Nacional Braulio Carrillo, spotting diverse flora and fauna below you

Explore San Jose

Time Zone

GMT - 6

Flight Time

Approx.11–12 hours; direct flights are available from London Gatwick three times a week in winter and twice a week in summer. Indirect flights are available from other UK airports.


Costa Rican colón (CRC)

Visa Information

British citizens will not require a visa for travel to Costa Rica.



Health Info

No special vaccines are required or recommended for travel to Costa Rica.

Charlie, Destination Manager

"The highlight of any San José holiday is undoubtedly the museums, which offer a plethora of culture to all visitors. Knowledge of Costa Rica’s history will illuminate everything you do after a tour of the city’s world-famous museums. The National Museum is the biggest and, according to some, the best, offering an abundance of natural and artistic exhibits, but the smaller pre-Colombian Gold Museum and Jade Museum are not to be missed either."

Destination Manager
a man looking at the camera

“Immerse yourself in the real Costa Rica with a visit to Feria Verde - a cultural melting pot of food, design, dance and music. Discover hard to find souvenirs and tantalise your taste buds with real Costa Rican street food, while being serenaded by traditional music. Even if you don’t intend to buy anything, you should still head here simply so you can soak up the atmosphere of one of San José’s favourite meeting places.”

Senior Commercial Manager

Gallo Pinto

Gallo pinto is a staple dish in many areas of Central America. This dish consists of rice and beans and is traditionally served alongside a breakfast of scrambled eggs, plantain and queso frito (white cheese), giving you a delicious start to the day. It’s a must try during your San José holiday.

Sopa Negra

Sopa negra is a black bean soup - and a taste sensation, infusing a delicious mixture of black beans, eggs and various punchy herbs. A steaming bowl of this Costa Rican favourite is perfect to warm the body and soul on a chilly day.

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