San Jose as a capital might not be one of the world’s most famous and it’s small in comparison with its 340,000 inhabitants (about 2.1 million in the greater metropolitan area called Valle Central, Central Valley). But it’s different to many other capitals as it’s located at 3,838 ft above sea level (1170 m). This gives the city a milder climate compared to the beach areas even though it’s in a tropical country. The city is surrounded by the two massive volcanoes, Irazu and Poas, that you can visit during your stay. Another amazing place to visit is the La Paz Waterfall gardens that is close to the city. When in the capital you can see the beautiful hills filled with coffee fields. You can go on a coffee tour and also learn how San Jose came to be due to its coffee industry.
The cultural areas of the city are mainly based at San Jose city center. From here you can visit the National Theatre, which is a beautiful older building. If you have the time you can go for a concert or a play here. The theatre also has a very cozy café well worth a visit. Close to the theatre you can also visit the Jade Museum and the Gold Museum. Right outside these cultural landmarks you’ll find the main walking street of San Jose with plenty of international and local stores. You can walk this street and shortly you’ll arrive at the National Museum.
Besides nature and culture, there is, of course, also the city life itself with restaurants, shopping, and nightlife. You´ll find restaurants from all over the world, and the nightlife never stops in San Jose. There are several huge shopping malls as City Mall in Alajuela is close to the airport as well as Multiplaza in the fancier area of Escazu. Escazu and Santa Ana are considered the nicest parts of San Jose, and in these areas, you’ll have a great selection of restaurants, shopping and entertainment.
The National Stadium, El Estadio Nacional de Costa Rica, is a great venue for sports and concerts. If you are lucky Costa Rica might be playing an international soccer game while you are in town, and that is a great experience to watch live. Even if you are not interested in sports this is a memory of a lifetime to see the fans get carried away. In recent years big international music groups have also started to visit Costa Rica more frequently so you can catch a great concert too.