Local Host Recommendations
Monograms provides travelers access to a Local Host®, so you will have someone on hand to answer those vacation questions pertaining to San José. No waiting in line at the concierge desk or trying to ask your waitress at breakfast directions to the shopping district. Simply ask your Local Host® about San José and you'll be on your way in no time. Plus, your Local Host® will share local San José insights and share suggestions for getting off the beaten path, leaving you more time to create lasting vacation memories that are yours alone.
Costa Rican Art Museum
Created just twenty years ago as the place for art lovers to see contemporary Costa Rican painting and sculpture, this museum offers modern art in every medium imaginable.
Costa Rican National Museum
Located in the old Bellavista Fortress, the National Museum houses Costa Rica's past surrounded by bullet-riddled stone walls. The National Museum is situated on 17th Street, between Central and Second Avenues, on the Cuesta de Moras. It is adjacent to the Plaza de la Democracia. The National Museum offers a brief overview of the country's history, beginning with pre-Columbian artifacts, traveling through the time of the conquistadors, and gradually merging into the present. A small butterfly museum rounds out the collection.
Located beneath the Plaza de la Cultura, this museum is home to the most valuable collection of pre-Columbian gold in the world. More than 2,600 gold artifacts are on exhibit, as well as a history of Costa Rica's currency and a collection of rare coins and bills.
It's not all jade, though the beautiful green stone takes center stage at the aptly-named museum. In addition to pre-Columbian jade jewelry, carved artifacts and display objects, you will find ceramics, precious stones and gold miniatures from different cultural areas of Costa Rica.
National Children's Museum
Learning is fun at this interactive museum, where kids play with hands-on exhibits that focus on science and technology, as well as traditional culture, art and literature of Costa Rica.
Museo de Jade
You’ll find the largest collection of American jade in this black glass building. You’ll also enjoy panoramic views of the city on the 11th floor of this stunning structure.
Museo de Oro Banco Central (Gold Museum)
For an experience that’s truly “golden,” don’t miss the Gold Museum. Housed beneath the Plaza de la Cultura, this underground museum has more than 2,000 pre-Columbian gold objects on display.
Spirogyra Butterfly Garden
If you’re looking for a brief respite from sightseeing, nothing is more soothing than this butterfly garden in the heart of the city. Learn about native species and enjoy a pick-me-up in the coffee shop.
Costa Ricans eat black beans at almost every meal, including breakfast. For a taste of native cuisine, head to Lukas for the black bean soup or the Gallo Pinto, a dish made of black beans, rice, and usually accompanied by fresh eggs, cheese, and fried plantain.
Regional cuisine with an adventurous twist is served at La Luz. The menu features fresh local ingredients prepared with ethnic influences. The beef tenderloin in strawberry-balsamic reduction is one of its most popular dishes.
This 2-story specialty shop in the Hotel Don Carlos carries a selection of jewelry, books, art, leather goods, and local crafts that you’ll find nowhere else. You may go in seeking souvenirs for others, but you’ll walk out with treasures for yourself.
This isn’t a café but a Costa Rican coffee liqueur that makes for an excellent souvenir. For the best prices, skip the boutiques and head straight to a local grocery store.
San José is disco central and this club is where the locals go for hot Latin and international music. The dance floors are large and the drinks flow freely.
For a quieter evening, try the Shakespeare Bar. Live blues, soul, and jazz provide the perfect backdrop at a place where you can sit back with friends, order a drink, and enjoy the atmosphere.
Probably Costa’s Rica’s most authentic market, the San José Central Market features more than 350 booths selling everything imaginable, from spices and fish to hammocks and flowers. Open daily, it is located on Central Avenue in the heart of the city.