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  • Writer's pictureKatrina Julia

Top 10 Things to Do in and Near San Jose, Costa Rica

Updated: Mar 24, 2021

San Jose, Costa Rica is a great way to start your adventure in Costa Rica as the cultural and commercial center of Costa Rica.

Whether you dream of culture, history, foodie experiences, and nature, there is plenty for you to do in and near San Jose, Costa Rica.

For my first visit to Costa Rica in 2016, I visited Playa Del Cocos near Liberia for our transformational retreat. I knew I would be back to explore more of the beautiful country like San Jose, Costa Rica!

I continue to be in awe that I spent almost three months in Costa Rica in 2021! I spent my first month at Dragonfly Hideaway in La Fortuna, Costa Rica. I spent three weeks at Casa Balbi in Monteverde, Costa Rica. I spent about 2 weeks in and near Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica. I finished my almost three months in and near San Jose, Costa Rica so I thought I would put together a Top 10 List too!

My Top 10 Things to Do in San Jose, Costa Rica, includes city walks, museum visits, nature experiences, and foodie favorites!

Pura Vida!

Shot at Hacienda La Chimba near San Jose, Costa Rica in Santa Ana.

Escazu near San Jose, Costa Rica Stays & Transportation

I arrived in Escazu, Costa Rica on March 2, 2021 with a stay booked at my Airbnb with Emilia until March 22, 2021.

While most travelers and tourists spend a few days in and near San Jose, Costa Rica, I am taking a slower pace as a digital nomad and global traveler. I decided when I left Atlanta, GA the end of 2020, I wanted a slower pace of travel for safety and sanity.

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

For transportation, I arrived here via taxi from near Manuel Antonio for ~$75. During my approximately three week stay, I spent approximately $110 in transportation with Ubers in and around the city. My weekly average being about $40.

In addition, I typically love to stay grounded 2-4 days, and then go for an adventure. Depending on your lifestyle, this may/may not be the best place for you to stay, I would recommend you align your adventures to minimize transportation costs.

If you are more than happy staying home many days or exploring nearby on the property, I don't think having a rental here makes sense if you stay a week to a month at all. If you compare what I invested in transportation for 3 weeks, a rental would definitely cost you more for the same time frame.

If you are coming in and near San Jose, Costa Rica for a short stay, I recommend you check out my One Day in Escazu and One Day in San Jose, Costa Rica guides as well!

Hacienda La Chimba

Top 10 in and near San Jose, Costa Rica

You will find culture, history, nature, and foodie favorites, and adventures including city walks, cultural and colonial experiences like Hacienda La Chimba, and foodie favorites like Eclectic Kitchen.

I am sharing what I experienced, and what logistically makes sense for what is close by. This is something I keep in mind always to save time and money whether you are traveling with a car and paying for gas, or with taxi's/Uber's like I am.

In putting together the Top 10 in and near San Jose, Costa Rica, I considered how I would experience the place knowing what I know now, and to make it easy and efficient!

1 San Jose, Costa Rica Walking Tour: Bites and Sights

I learned about the San Jose, Costa Rica Walking Tour through Airbnb Experiences. Erick is relatable, engaging, and has incredible insight on Costa Rica.

You will experience more in three hours than you would in three days! From incredible bites like seafood, empanadas, and coffee to sights like National Theater, Church, and monuments, you will love it.

You may easily find it via Airbnb experiences in San Jose, Costa Rica, as well as in my One Day in San Jose, Costa Rica guide.

Whether you spend one day in San Jose, Costa Rica or longer, this is a MUST!

2 Eclectic Kitchen

Who doesn't love incredible food experiences? I know I do especially when it is an experience and healthy. Eclectic Kitchen combines the mystery of food by surprising you with dishes tapas style until you say stop in a beautiful home and garden at an incredible price.

I loved it so much I went four times during my stay in and near San Jose, Costa Rica, and never paid more than $18. You may easily find Eclectic Kitchen via Uber or Waze at Cocina Elektica.

Look for the green door when you arrive.

You will fall in love with Joanna's cooking! It is one of the BEST Dining experiences I have EVER had. A great way to end any day or trip!

Depending on the time you will spend in Costa Rica, definitely check out my One Day in Escazu Guide. I share more about the foodie and other experiences too!

3 Hacienda La Chimba

For my health and history lovers, you will adore visiting Hacienda La Chimba. It is an incredible cultural and colonial experience with options to hike to La Mano, experience a coffee tour, and/or opt for adventure with zip-lining and ropes courses!

Learn about highlights with Hacienda La Chimba including experiences, logistics, and what to wear.

4 National Museum of Costa Rica

National Museum of Costa Rica is a great way to get insight into the culture and history of Costa Rica going back 12,000+ years. You may easily spend 1-2 hours at the museum giving you insight into the country and people you are visiting.

My One Day In San Jose, Costa Rica gives you more insight into the Instagram worthy visit to the museum.

5 Waterfall Hike Rio Agres

One of the most magical experiences with hikes and waterfalls included the Rio Agres Waterfall Hike. There is no way I could have done this on my own as every twist and turn on the path is a mystery with nothing marked. I have never climbed over so many rocks on all fours in my life on a hike!

It is a beautiful off the beaten path experience to do. I learned about via my Airbnb Host Emilia, as well as the host Dixon listed it via Airbnb experiences.

6 Farmer's Market

One of my favorite things to do in any city in the world is visit a Farmer's Market. I ended up going to the market on One Day in Escazu on Saturday morning, and spent <$12 on lunch, fruits and vegetables for over a week!

You may visit the Central Market in San Jose, as well as other nearby markets as well!

7 Pre-Colombian Gold Museum

An incredible way to learn about the history and culture about Costa Rica includes visiting the Pre-Colombian Gold Museum for 1-2 hours in San Jose, Costa Rica.

8 Sin Domicilio Fijo

A beautiful colonial and cultural garden and restaurant where you may come for sips and souvenirs will not disappoint. If you are visiting the market in Escazu or staying nearby, you may likely walk to this beautiful place.

9 Souvenir Shop at the Markets

I found the markets for coffee, wooden, and artistic souvenirs to have the best options and prices in and near San Jose, Costa Rica.

10 Take a Costa Rica Picture or Photoshoot

A great souvenir is a picture via a Pura Vida sign at the market and other street signs!

Top 10: San Jose, Costa Rica

San Jose, Costa Rica has limitless options for culture, foodies, and nature lovers alike!

You will love the limitless options to explore!

What activity here interests you to do for Top 10 Things to Do in San Jose, Costa Rica?

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