San Jose, “Costa Rica Capital,” is the most popular and the largest city in Costa Rica. It is also considered as the “heart of the country.” Compared with the other Central American capitals, Costa Rica capital San Jose lacks poverty and high with modern features. But, that doesn’t mean the cultural value of the city has been damaged. It is well preserved.
Although the city has a long history, it is filled with youthfulness and many attractive landmarks. So, here is travel information about Costa Rica’s capital for you.
Costa Rica Capital
The capital San Jose was first found in 1738. Actually, the first capital of Costa Rica was Cartago, which was supported by the Republican System to reunite with the Mexican Empire. Therefore it was moved to San Jose and considered the capital in 1823. But, previously, this city was recognized as a Center of Administration in the Spanish Empire. Even in the ruling era by Guatemala, this city was neglected.
Suggested Reading: Lake Atitlan Guatemala
Apart from two small periods of violence in the 1900s, the city was blessed to exist in a calm and peaceful environment. Especially after 1828, San Jose, Costa Rica capital, started to develop economically. And currently, it is one of the leading commercial hubs in Central America.
In 1940, San Jose became one of the major coffee producers and contributed a huge portion to Costa Rica’s income in the 19th century. After 1950, when the industrial establishments grew up like transportation, the income increased and developed more.
San Jose is playing an important role in transportation by locating at the junction of express highways to the Pacific and Atlantic coasts. And also, it is an important point on the Pan American (Inter American) highways.
On the other hand, San Jose, Costa Rica capital, is an education hub in the region. Due to having a peaceful environment in the country and having recognized universities in the city, a considerable amount of international students are attracted to this city. (Costa Rica capital)
Suggested Reading: Santa Marta Colombia
Where is Costa Rica located?
Located on the north side of Nicaragua and the south side of the country of Panama, the Republic of Costa Rica is bordering by Ecuador as well. Since this is a Central American country with both Pacific and Atlantic ocean (Caribbean sea) coasts, this is an important hub in international transportation. And the total area of the country is around 51,060 square kilometers. Here’s the map of Costa Rica, and you can see that it is not an island.
Location of San Jose
Costa Rica capital, San Jose, is located in the Central Valley in the Republic of Costa Rica (in the center of the country). The city is a broad and flat plain located at an altitude between 800-1500m up the sea level. And the elevation is around 1172m.
Suggested Reading: Best Places to travel in Puerto Rico
The city’s land is very fertile due to existing volcanoes around the city. With the Central Valley, the city has got a great view of the stunning nature. Due to these views, a lot of tourists attract annually to San Jose.
The city’s total land area is around 44.2 square kilometers, with a tropical wet and dry climate. (Costa Rica capital)
Hotels in San Jose, Costa Rica capital
Looking for the best hotels in San Jose, Costa Rica?? Just click here for the best deals that match your budget.
Is it dangerous to visit Costa Rica?
As I mentioned earlier, Costa Rica was a lucky country to avoid unpeaceful war conditions (Cold War conditions) in history compared with the other Central American countries. Therefore, I must say. Still, this is completely a safe country for tourists.
But, some issues are rising recently with the impact of close regions, like money laundering and drug trafficking. I dAs travelers; I don’t think a should care about those issues because Costa Rica is super safe even without an army in the country. This is one of the safest countries in the whole Central American region, even for solo female travelers. Still, I’m not telling you to ignore the common safety tips that should be followed by any traveler generally. (Costa Rica capital)
FAQs about safety
Most of the travelers ask about the safety of street food in Costa Rica. I have to say that I experienced very tasty and pleasant feelings about Costa Rican street food. I consider Costa Rican food as one of the best cuisines in the world. So, do not miss that opportunity there. Just check the clarity of the stall and try them—no need to be afraid at all.
In the case of the drinking water issue, Costa Rica offers you super clean drinkable water. But in the coastal areas, drinking water is not as clean as in other places in the country. So, it is better to use safety bottles like SteriPen and LifeStraw.
On the other hand, Costa Rica has the most reliable and safe taxi service in the region. But still, the common safety issues are there. So, always check whether the taxi is registered and authorized one or not. Also, always try to use your accommodation taxi service at night rather than random taxis on the street. And one more thing. Negotiate the charges at the beginning of the ride and also check for the meter as well. (Costa Rica capital)
What should I avoid in Costa Rica?
These are the safety tips and things to avoid on your tour to Costa Rica.
Don’t wear and show expensive items because there are petty thefts. So, do not show more your valuable things like watches, jewelry, and mobile phones.
Do not travel alone on lonely streets and avoid isolated areas. Always try to stay around the places where the crowd is there. Otherwise, there’s a probability of getting robbed.
Be careful when you use public transportation. You may face the most common types of crimes in Costa Rica, like bag snatching. Especially when you are traveling by public buses, keep your bags close to you and be alert.
Don’t leave any item alone when you travel. Especially when you walk along the beaches, swimming in the sea or boating, please do not leave your things alone on the beach. Please keep them in a trustworthy place or not bring them to the beach except for the essential things. (Costa Rica capital)
Suggested Reading: Save Sea Turtles in Costa Rica
Avoid “Cheap Tour” scammers. Some nicely dressed people will come to you and guide you for a quality tour around the cities and countries. They will win your heart with their words and get a charge by promising to come next. But, they won’t come. So, hire only authorized tour companies.
Use precautions to avoid the Zika virus. Like: using mosquito repellents and using breathable garments that cover your body.
Is Costa Rica Safe than Mexico?
Of course, Costa Rica is safe than Mexico. As I said earlier, Costa Rica is one of the safest countries in the region. It is very safe, even for female solo travelers. I recommend the starters to start your solo travel life from Costa Rica.
Suggested Reading: Best Beaches in Mexico
If you are visiting as solo travelers, keep in mind not being in isolated areas alone and traveling with your valuable things. Especially, do not wave by showing your valuable things like phones. And also, be careful when you are traveling at night.
Try to learn some Spanish or apply an offline translator and an offline map to your phone. Always use the safest route by asking from your hotel because there are some records of harassments for female travelers in taxi stations, train stations, bus terminals, and bars. Just follow the safe and well-known roads. (Costa Rica capital)
Is San Jose Costa Rica Safe?
Although Costa Rica is one of the safest countries globally, Costa Rica’s capital San Jose has some safety issues. Pickpocketing and mugging like crimes are common there. But don’t worry, you can avoid those things by following the above-mentioned safety tips.
Prostitutes are famous for crimes, and they are always organized with pairs. So, beware of them.
Due to San Jose’s crimes’ increment, in 2007, the government formed a tourist police group. You can see them riding bicycles, walking, and horseback riding in pairs along the roads. They are very helpful and will help you at any time. (Costa Rica capital)
Is Costa Rica Rich or Poor?
Although San Jose (Costa Rica Capital) is rich and modern, the whole of Costa Rica is considered an upper-middle-income country. Income inequality is a huge problem there. Due to those reasons, urban poverty and unemployment rates have increased in the last decade.
So, visiting Costa Rica is more expensive compared with other countries in the Central American Region. But there are some budget travel packages and destinations as well. Especially, if you can avoid highly expensive activities like zip-lining, you can spend a quality day with 30$ per day. That means it is even better for a backpacker. (Costa Rica capital)
Costa Rica Population
The current population of Costa Rica is around 5 082 650. Out of the total population in the world, it is just around 0.07%. Due to 80% of the population being urban living people, there’s a huge crowd effect.
San Jose’s population is around 335 007. The records highlight that the population of San Jose has increased since the 20th century.
What is the best time of the year to go to Costa Rica?
Mid-December to April is the best time to visit Costa Rica since it is the dry season there. At that time, beaches and all the other destinations in the country are just awesome. So, a lot of tourists are attracted. Even most Christians travel here to celebrate Christmas as well. (Costa Rica capital)
May to November is the off-season with a little wet climate. Therefore, the prices are low at that time—means, ideal for budget travelers.
Suggested Reading: Best Budget Travel Destinations for Each Month
But in June and July, you can see a climate with a very little shower, and all the forests start to produce new green foliage.
Things to do in San Jose, Costa Rica
San Jose is rich and beautiful. So, here are my suggestions for you not to miss in Costa Rica capital San Jose.
The National Theater of Costa Rica Capital
The National Theater of Costa Rica was built in 1897. This theater has a stunning architecture style with a touch of European style. You can see any shows throughout the year on the stage of this theater.
Costa Rica is filled with great coffee shops. Actually, the country has one of the finest coffees in the world. Most importantly, San Jose has developed with the help of its coffee resource. So, you can find many coffee shops here. National Theater coffee shop is famous, and you can get the best coffee and collect some souvenirs. (Costa Rica capital)
The entrance fee to the theater is around 7$, and it is normally opened from 9 am to pm except on Sundays.
Metropolitano La Sabana Park
This is the city center park. Most of this park is known as the “Lungs of San Jose.” And Metropolitan La Sabana offers you the chance to stay free and breathe fresh air in the middle of this busy city. On the other hand, you can have an idea about locals’ living style in Costa Rica. Weekends are filled with both foreigners and locals. (Costa Rica capital)
After visiting the park in the city center, do not forget to visit the Costa Rican Art Museum, which you can enter for free.
Pre Columbian Gold Museum (Museo del Oro Precolombino)
This museum contains more than 1600 artifacts (Pre Columbian Gold) preserved from 500 A.D. This museum is really worth visiting since the content is so exciting. The museum’s charge is around 10$, and it is open from 9.30 am to 4.30 pm every day. (Costa Rica capital)
And the museum is located on the lower floor of Plaza de la Cultura. And it is the home for two other impressive coin museums as well.
Metropolitan Church (Cathedral Metropolitana)
After visiting the park and the museums, you can visit this church located exactly on National Park’s right side. Although the outside exterior doesn’t look attractive, the interior is stunning and runs to the past in the 17th century. Strained glass windows, wood carvings, and Christ’s figures are more highlighted. (Costa Rica capital)
Whether you are a Christian or not, this place is a very good place to calm down your mind.
Casa Amarilla is the home for the ministry of foreign affairs. It is a beautiful mansion built with the style of colonial in yellow color painting. But, you cannot go inside the building. Just pay a visit to see the unique architecture from outside. (Costa Rica capital)
Children’s Museum (Museo de Los Ninos)
This is a great family travel destination in San Jose. Because it offers you the best cultural items and a great view of the city by locating on a hill in a castle. And also, there are some dinosaurs’ exhibits as well.
The entrance fee is around 4$, and the children can enter for free.
National Museum of Costa Rica
The National Museum contains historical as well as modern arts. And the museum was first opened in 1887. The entrance fee is around 9$. And do not miss the butterfly garden at all.
Orosi River Valley (El Valle del Rio Orosi)
This is the best and the unique opportunity in San Jose to avoid the busy city life and feel nature. You can ride boats in the river, hike to the viewpoint of Orosi, visit the hot springs are more adventurous. (Costa Rica capital)
This is an authentic Costa Rican market where you can buy the world’s best coffee beans, cigars, cocoa powder, coffee, and also stunning souvenirs.
Since San Jose is located in the middle of the country, you can’t see a coastline. But, there are plenty of beaches near both sides of the city. If I say what the nearest and popular beach to San Jose is, it is Jaco (around 100 km away). It is the best surfing destination in Costa Rica. So, surfers around the world attract here.