San José, Costa Rica’s vibrant capital, combines a lively urban environment with an impressive natural setting. Located in the central valley, with the Talamanca Mountains to the south and a series of volcanoes to the north, San José brings together the best of both worlds. It has large museums and beautiful architecture, but visitors will never be far away from the natural wonders of Costa Rica's many national parks. The best hotels in San José offer views of the mountainous horizon. Conservation and education are two priorities in Costa Rica, and the locals, known as Ticos, are friendly people and proud of their country.
Most of the San José's hotel guests visit the Plaza de la Cultura, in the city center. The residents of San José gather here, making it a good place to get to know the local atmosphere while enjoying a delicious coffee with churros. The city was built thanks to the richness generated by coffee plantations, some of which are still operating on the outskirts. The National Theater is the main building in the central square. An example of neoclassical architecture is the interior decoration of the theater, a marvel worth seeing, especially if a musical or dance performance is scheduled.
Surprisingly, one of the city’s main attractions is underneath the square. The Museo del Oro (Gold Museum) is part of an underground complex of museums that are controlled by the Central Bank. Entering the museum is like reliving the dream of a Spanish explorer. Gold is everywhere; there are representations of ancient gods and pottery objects, stone sculptures, and textiles. Near there, the Museo de los Niños (Children's Museum) has interactive exhibitions that will entertain the youngest guests for hours, especially the earthquake simulator and the sloped house.
To explore the city’s Victorian architecture, guests at the hotels in San José can take a walking tour of Barrio Amón, where rich residents built elegant homes in the 19th century.
The best hotels in San José offer easy access to day trips outside the city. There are countless possibilities, although the most appealing is a excursion to the Arenal Volcano. About three hours from San José's hotels, this imposing peak has a classic cone shape and several episodes of eruptions, although it has been calm since 2010. The volcano rises up above Lake Arenal. Visitors can walk beyond the waterfalls and lush forests and bathe in a natural hot spring to relax. An excursion to Tortuguero National Park is a perfect choice for anyone who wishes to see the iconic turtles of Costa Rica. A raft trip along the freshwater waterways will take travelers to the nesting site of the green turtles, a protected endangered species. Visitors to San José will find everything from nature to culture.