• Katrina Julia

One Day in San Jose, Costa Rica: Itinerary to Transform and Travel

Updated: Mar 23

It's time to put San Jose, Costa Rica on your travel bucket list! You will love the bites and sights of the city.


San Jose is the capital and largest city of Costa Rica. It is the cultural, commercial, and transportation center of the country. San Jose boasts the best education in Central America with 50 private institutions. Although San Jose was founded in 1737, it didn't become the capital of Costa Rica until 1823, two years after its independence from Spain.


That's one of the reasons why I decided to spend not just One Day in San Jose or in Costa Rica, but about three months! I am spending three weeks in and near Escazu and San Jose, Costa Rica.


If you don't know where to start with your time in San Jose, Costa Rica, I am here to help you #createit! Traveling helps you transform in more ways than one when you travel to Costa Rica.

No matter what your Costa Rica adventure is in and nearby San Jose is, you will love it!


While there is plenty to experience one day in San Jose, Costa Rica to transform and travel whether you come solo, with family, or with a group, you will definitely want to consider staying longer.


Follow this One Day in San Jose, Costa Rica Itinerary to Transform and Travel. It will help you make your travels transformational even it's a short trip. These are my recommendations for the top experiences for your one day in San Jose, Costa Rica.


Pura Vida!



On Airbnb Experience: Bites and Sights in San Jose, Costa Rica

https://www.airbnb.com/experiences/268494



My Experiences with San Jose, Costa Rica

This is my first time in San Jose, Costa Rica. Thanks to Costa Rica and my Airbnb: Joyeria Emilia Rodriguez, it may not be my last!


This is my second time to Costa Rica since 2016 when I hosted our transformation and travel retreat in Costa Rica in Playa Del Coco. I feel like Costa Rica is 7+ countries in one! If you didn't know, I am hosting a retreat in Costa Rica in August 2021.


Although I am staying in Costa Rica for close to three months, I love to create adventure days to share for myself and others whether you are somewhere short or long-term and want to create adventure days too. That's why I created One Day Travel guides.



Costa Rica Retreat in 2016 near Liberia in Playa Del Coco



Travel fills me up. New people, adventures, and experiences are something I love. My story includes being conceived in Bulgaria, born in Poland, and in 4 countries by the time I was 2 (including a refugee camp in Italy.)


My travels in Costa Rica include a focus on nature, adventure and healthy travel experiences. If you didn't know, I lost over 55+ lbs 5+ years ago and have kept it off. In addition, I haven't drunk alcohol for over 5 years now. I feel healthier than High School. Disclaimer: Average person who uses Herbalife Global Nutrition loses 0.5 to 1 lb a week with healthy active lifestyle.


For my fourth long term stay in Costa Rica in Escazu, Costa Rica, I ended up staying at Joyeria Emilia Rodriguez via Airbnb in the private larger room which is about 10-15 minutes from San Jose, Costa Rica.


A private room stay in Joyeria Emilia Rodriguez is an incredible cultural and community experience with Emilia's enthusiasm, energy, and experiences along with a beautiful colonial home and gardens. If you prefer private homes, Emilia offers those as well.



Airbnb in Escazu near San Jose, Costa Rica



Airbnb in Escazu near San Jose, Costa Rica

Airbnb in Escazu near San Jose, Costa Rica

Airbnb in Escazu near San Jose, Costa Rica


All shots are my own on Canon EOSM100, Sony A330, and/or my iPhone 12 Mini.



Fun Facts About San Jose, Costa Rica

San Jose is the capital and largest city of Costa Rica. It is the cultural, commercial, and transportation center of the country. San Jose boasts the best education in Central America with 50 private institutions. Although San Jose was founded in 1737, it didn't become the capital of Costa Rica until 1823, two years after its independence from Spain.


From an international trade perspective, Costa Rica shipped an estimated US$11.5 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2019. Costa Rica’s most valuable export products include medical or veterinarian instruments and appliances (24.2% of its global total), bananas including plantains (8.7%), pineapples (8.6%), orthopedic appliances including crutches (5.9%), coffee (2.4%), drugs and medicines (1.4%), according to the International Trade Centre.


You may or may not know Costa Rican culture is a vibrant blend of indigenous heritage, Spanish colonial influence, with a mix of Jamaican, Chinese, and other immigrant cultures lending character and customs. The result is a nation of Pura Vida!


I love visiting San Jose, Costa Rica. I enjoyed spending the day experiencing the National Museum of Costa Rica, Bites and Sights tour in the markets and near the National Theater, as well as the Pre-Colombian Gold Museum.


One Day in San Jose, Costa Rica

Let's explore the experiences I recommend for one day in and near San Jose, Costa Rica. Depending on when you arrive in the city, and where you stay, feel free to modify your experiences!


I'm sharing here a full 24 hours for your one day in San Jose from morning to night! I've already shared La Fortuna, Monteverde, Manuel Antonio as well. ! I'm giving you many reasons you will want to stay longer in Costa Rica!



National Museum of Costa Rica

The National Museum of Costa Rica is a great way to start your visit in San Jose learning about the cultural and national history from the Pre-Colombian times to the present.


You can't miss the building, and it's easy to get to via Waze or Uber. Your visit starts off in a butterfly garden and winds upstairs to an open garden area. The museum then goes in a U-Shape to see all the exhibits indoors. It is easy to see the entire museum in 1-2 hours.


You will learn insights about Costa Rican history spanning more than 12,000 years, its people, influences, and reflections. The country's history is divided into the Contact and Conquest, Colonial Period. and Recent History through now.


There are sanitation stations at several points, everyone wears masks indoor and outdoor (March 2021). The Covid prevention and requirements are definitely heightened in San Jose, Costa Rica. There is no surprise why the cases keep dropping in Costa Rica.



National Museum of Costa Rica

National Museum of Costa Rica

National Museum of Costa Rica


National Museum of Costa Rica





National Museum of Costa Rica


Walking Tour in San Jose with Bites and Sights

I found the Bites and Sights Tour with San Jose Urban Tours with Erick via Airbnb Experiences.

This is the BEST walking tour I have EVER taken in the WORLD.


All along the way I learned and tasted the history and culture. Within the first hour alone, I experienced coffee twice, seafood, empanada, and fruits while enjoying the Central Market. I experienced Cafe Trebol. Pescaderia Isla del Coco Costa Rica, Cafe Central Costa Rica, Soda Puntarenas, Gamaliel, and more!


I learned and experienced the postal system in Costa Rica, National Theater, Church, monuments, as well as insights about Polish settlers during WWII in San Jose, and influence of National Theater performers on tourism. The experience is incredible!


Erick is friendly, relatable, and knowledgeable about Costa Rica. We ended with an incredible family restaurant Esquinta de JM with incredible pineapple and rice in corn tortillas.


You will experience more in 3 hours with Erick and his team then you would in 3 days likely on your own. The tour is three hours with morning and afternoon options.


This is a MUST do in San Jose, Costa Rica.


On Airbnb Experience: Bites and Sights in San Jose, Costa Rica

https://www.airbnb.com/experiences/268494



Monument at Banco Central de Costa Rica











Soda Puntarenas Chicken Empanada

















Pre-Colombian Gold Museum

There are various museums in San Jose, Costa Rica to choose from. I decided to visit the Gold Museum after my walking tour. I loved learning about the influence of beliefs, history, and the exhibit for reinventing community.


You may experience the museum within 1-2+ hours easily.














Reasons to Stay in & near San Jose, Costa Rica Longer

Depending on what is important to you, you may follow the itinerary or you may decide to add on adventures or other options in the area.


There are countless ways to enjoy your time in San Jose, Costa Rica from nature to food to shopping experiences!


San Jose, Costa Rica Travels

As you may clearly see, San Jose, Costa Rica has limitless options for One Day and more!

Whether you want to learn more about the history and culture of Costa Rica in museums, experience a walking tour with Bites and Sights, shop, or experience nearby Barrio Escalante, you will love it!


Have you visited San Jose, Costa Rica before?

Is it on your bucket list?

What are some of your favorite experiences?


If you haven't, what activity here interests you the most to do in One Day in San Jose, Costa Rica?


Pura Vida!

Are you curious about Costa Rica and the Pura Vida?


One Day in La Fortuna, Costa Rica and my Top 10 Things to Do in La Fortuna!

One Day in Monteverde, Costa Rica and my Top 10 Things to Do in Monteverde!

One Day in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica and my Top 10 Things to Do in Manuel Antonio!

One Day in Escazu, Costa Rica &

I've got Top 10 Things to Do in and Near San Jose, Costa Rica coming up!


Not to mention our Inspiring Travel Now & in the Future Project &

Costa Rica Retreat coming in August 2021!

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