Unable to lay claim even to the destination Dionne Warwick famously struggled to locate, Costa Rica’s capital city is similarly overlooked by travellers. Put off by the unremarkable concrete buildings and noisy traffic, many view San José solely as a departure point for tours of the country’s volcanoes and coffee plantations. But anyone who does bother to scratch beneath the surface will find a leafy and laidback city, home to some impressive monuments and parks, not to mention a thriving craft beer scene.
“Chepe”, as the locals affectionately call their city, is also a hub for modern Costa Rican culture. Pass a few hours exploring historic neighbourhoods such as Barrio Amón, where colonial mansions now house contemporary art galleries and lively cafes, and Barrio Escalante, where you’ll find the city’s best restaurants and some great live music.
Fly a kite, kick a football or simply stroll with the Sunday crowds in the tranquil Parque La Sabana, an enormous space that was once the city’s main airport. Or visit museums teeming with jade, gold, art and natural history, and perhaps join one of the multitude of salsa classes that are held all over town.
Accommodation is as wide ranging as that of any metropolis. You’ll find many of San José’s budget offerings downtown, but at the opposite end of the spectrum is luxury boutique hotel Grano de Oro. Centrally located on a quiet tree-lined street, this carefully restored Victorian era mansion also houses one of the city’s finest restaurants, serving a fusion of tropical Costa Rican and European dishes created by culinary maestro Francis Canal Bardot.
One definite plus point for San José is its climate. A relatively high elevation – just over 1,000 metres – means that the city, like the rest of the Central Valley, enjoys a pleasant year-round temperature, with very limited rainfall.
For all your high-end, bespoke leisure and corporate travel needs to San José, contact our Travel Managers on 0203 535 9290 or firstname.lastname@example.org today.
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