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Travel Guide to San Jose and Central Valley, Costa Rica

Map of the Area

San Jose and Central Valley Costa Rica - Travel Guide - Tropical Discovery
  • 44.62 km2 (17.23 sq mi)
  • Average 22.6°C (72.7°F)
  • UTC (GMT) -6 hrs
  • The Costa Rica Colon (CRC) ₡575.75 = $1 USD.
  • Spanish
  • (2015)City and municipality 333,288
  • 9°56′N 84°5′W

San Jose and Central Valley, Costa Rica

Capital, culture and volcanoes

The main entryway to the country, the Central Valley offers a variety of tourist, cultural and natural attractions, including Costa Rica’s best museums: the Gold, Jade, National, Costa Rican Art, La Salle Natural Science, University of Costa Rica Insect and Children’s Contemporary Art and Design Museums. In addition, this region is home to the architectural jewel of Costa Rica: the National Theater. All of these are located in the country’s capital. The national parks located in the Valley—Poás, Braulio Carrillo, Irazú and Turrialba—protect the region’s main volcanoes. All have road infrastructure so that visitors can enjoy their birds, natural landscapes, craters and forests.

San Jose and Central Valley Costa Rica - Travel Guide - Tropical Discovery

San Jose and Central Valley, Costa Rica

At 1,149 meters above sea level, San José enjoys an average temperature of 24 degrees Celsius-an ideal climate for short trips to the Carmen, Catedral, Merced and Hospital districts. Here, visitors can admire the lovely architecture of several buildings that have been declared National Monuments of cultural, historical or architectural interest, including the Post and Telegraph Building, the National Theater, the Children's Museum, the Blue Castle and others. The city offers high-quality options in dining and accommodations, from bed and breakfasts and popular sodas (small restaurants serving local and fast food) to fashionable bars for nightlife, complemented with cinemas and theaters. San José's December religious feasts and public festivals are traditional events that may be enjoyed by visitors.

San Jose and Central Valley Costa Rica - Travel Guide - Tropical Discovery


San José (literally meaning "Saint Joseph", pronounced [saŋ xoˈse]) is the capital and largest city of Costa Rica. Located in the Central Valley, in the western province of the country, San José is the seat of national government, the focal point of political and economic activity, and the major transportation hub of this Central American nation. The population of San José Canton was 288,054 in 2011, and San José’s municipal land area measures 44.2 square kilometers (17.2 square miles), and an estimated 333,980 residents in 2015.[4] The metropolitan area stretches beyond the canton limits and has an estimated population of over 2 million in 2017. The city is named in honor of Joseph of Nazareth.

Though few people live in the city center, it is the most important working area of the country, which brings in more than a million people daily. Despite its problems, according to studies in Latin America, San José is still one of the safest and least violent cities in the region. In 2006, the city was appointed Ibero-American Capital of Culture.

San José is the sixth-most important destination in Latin America, according to The MasterCard Global Destinations Cities Index 2012. San José ranked 15th in the world’s fastest-growing destination cities by visitor cross-border spending.

San Jose and Central Valley Costa Rica - Travel Guide - Tropical Discovery

Tours in San Jose Region, Costa Rica

With imposing volcanoes, rivers, lakes, forests and an amazing fauna and flora, all in the same area, it is no surprise that from San Jose there are unforgettable adventure, sporting, nature and cultural oriented activities to be had. For more information on day tours to the many special attractions in the San Jose/Central Valley area. For more information on day tours to the many special attractions in this area, please contact us.

San Jose is not only the capital of Costa Rica, also attracts a variety of tourist, cultural and natural attractions for visitors and is located near the most beautiful volcanoes in the country. Tropical Discovery offers a wide variety of tours for all types of interests in which to discover the splendid total of San Jose and Central Valley:


Culture - Adventure - Nature

  • In this half-day tour through the capital of Costa Rica, you will visit the National Museum, National Theater, parks, monuments and shopping facilities. Visiting Rohrmoser residential areas, San Pedro and Los Yoses this will give you a perspective of life in Costa Rica and its architecture.
  • Start tour tour with a visit to the city of Alajuela where you can see the monument to Juan Santamaria and his Church. On the road to Poas Volcano National will pass through coffee plantations, fields of flowers and several farms. Costa Rica is one of the most important countries of Central America in the distribution of staple goods. Visit the crater of Poas and walk on the banks of "The shallot" or "Laguna Botos" (weather permitting) to have a spectacular view of the site.
  • Butterfly Garden Tour and orchids in the road that leads to the falls "Temple", "White Magic", "Enchanted" and "Peace."
  • Dedicated to natural research in the country, the achievements of the INBIO Park has earned several awards from the Institute of bio diversity. You can walk along the paths between the 3 groups of plants of different ecosystems, permanent exhibitions of poison dart frogs, tarantulas, wasps, ants, bromeliads and orchids. The park also features a butterfly garden, a pond and an aquarium with sound presentation.
  • Visit the monument of our National Hero "Juan Santamaria". Then, prepare two pleasures of the exuberant cloud forest of Poas Volcano. As we continue towards the Caribbean, will stop to discover La Paz waterfalls and butterfly observatory. After lunch we will go through the waterfalls of the Peace.

* Please note: Information on this page is believed to be correct but not guaranteed

* Inquire for recent prices and schedule

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Hotel Grano de Oro San Jose and Central Valley Costa Rica

Situated on a shady street just off Paseo Colón, San José's main thoroughfare, Hotel Grano de Oro is a true oasis, a sanctuary in the heart of a bustling city.

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Real InterContinental Costa Rica

Real InterContinental Costa Rica San Jose and Central Valley Costa Rica

The Real InterContinental Costa Rica Hotel in San José is surrounded by the magnificent mountains and vegetation of Costa Rica.

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The Alta Hotel San Jose and Central Valley Costa Rica

The Alta Hotel combines the natural splendor of Costa Rica with unsurpassed luxury.

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