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Arlington (Virginia)

San Jose

San Jose - where to stay and is it safe downtown?

We are looking to stay downtown. Is it safe? Where should we stay? (4 girls)

4 Answers

top answer by
Rocio from Costa Rica

Hello Kristen! I am glad that you are planning to visit my beautiful country Costa Rica. I would say that San Jose downtown is a safe city just avoid to stay in hotels near the Costa Rican Center of Science and Culture. or Museo de Nino as it is known. The museum is pretty nice, unfortunately it is not located in a very safe area.  Therefore, I will recommend a few that I consider nice and safe hotels such as :Holiday Inn, Hotel Presidente - San Jose, Costa Rica, Hotel Balmoral and Hotel Grano De Oro. There is another option in case you want to stay in a trendy and upscale suburb. In this area you can find a variety of restaurants, malls, bars, etc. Escazu area. The best hotels are: Real InterContinental San Jose Costa Rica, Courtyard By Marriott San Jose, Wyndham Garden San Jose Escazu and Residence Inn.

Hope you have time to visit our beautiful and unique National Theatre of Costa Rica, Museo de Jade, Pre-Columbian Gold Museum among other interesting places.

Hope this helps!! Pura vida!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Costa Rica (attraction)
  2. Costa Rican Center of Science and Culture (attraction)
  3. Holiday Inn (hotel)
  4. Hotel Presidente - San Jose, Costa Rica (hotel)
  5. Hotel Balmoral (attraction)
  6. Hotel Grano De Oro (attraction)
  7. Escazu (city)
  8. Real InterContinental San Jose Costa Rica (restaurant)
  9. Courtyard By Marriott San Jose (hotel)
  10. Wyndham Garden San Jose Escazu (restaurant)
  11. Residence Inn (hotel)
  12. National Theatre of Costa Rica (attraction)
  13. Museo de Jade (attraction)
  14. Pre-Columbian Gold Museum (attraction)
3 thankscomments (2)

answered by
Ross from Fort Collins

I love this country but just curious! Why are you staying in San Jose? It's not bad but sure ain't great lol. It's very easy to get out of the city and see some sights! I can help you plan some awesome things just an hour or two out side the city. Let me know if I can help and be aware of your self in any big city in Central America. S.J. Can get a little hairy at night lol

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. San Jose (city)
2 thanks

answered by
Jenn from Costa Rica

Hi Kristen,

My husband and I recently got back from a couple of nights in San Jose and loved it! We've explored all of Costa Rica but hadn't spent much time in the capital yet and had a lot more fun than we expected. We stayed at Hotel Aranjuez, which for us was in the perfect location. It's about a 15 min. walk to the museums and sights in downtown and in a nice quiet neighborhood. We felt very safe there and loved how there were some cute pubs/restaurants within walking distance of our hotel. I highly recommend Restaurante La Terrasse (French restaurant) for a nice night out and Café de los deseos, which is a hip pub where a lot of the local young people hang out. 

We did walk around by ourselves at night and felt fine, but cabs are cheap, especially if there's 4 of you, so just grab one if you feel uncomfortable at all. 

San Jose is great because it has a chic, city feel in the old downtown area- something that you don't find anywhere else in Costa Rica. There's tons of great food, you can find craft beer (hard in CR), and there's usually some free entertainment going on like concerts, etc. Visiting is a cool cultural experience to add onto your time at the beach/mountains.

Safe travels!


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Hotel Aranjuez (hotel)
  2. Café de los deseos (restaurant)
1 thanks

answered by
Will from Ubud

Hi Kristen, my answer will come from an expat's point of view.  I've friends in Costa Rica so I've never stayed at a hotel.  That said, I heard that the Hotel Presidente - San Jose, Costa Rica is one of the nicer hotels in downtown San Jose and is a hotel 'not' filled with working women.  

After spending 14 months in Santa Ana, my opinions of San Jose are not very good.  It's dirty, busy and not the safest.  I go there primarily to buy Asian groceries.  You have to look over your shoulders at times if you walk the streets.  Rush hour and day time felt safe.  I think Rocio's answer below is a good guide over where specific places to avoid at night.

What I had found out is that generally, locals don't hang out in downtown. Escazu is a better place for that though it's westernized.  

If you do not need to stay downtown, check out the outer rims.  You will need a car to get around however.  I fell in love with Santa Ana (Costa Rica) and rented a house in the mountains overlooking the valley below and the twin peak volcanoes across.  It's not far from Escazu and downtown San Jose.  Good luck.

1 thanks

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