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Should I Go To The Capital of Costa Rica?


When traveling here, everyone asks us if they should put the capital of Costa Rica on their itinerary. That is a great question and to answer that, we always give them a list of our pros and cons about going to San José.

Here’s our list:

Pro: History

San José was founded in 1738, and because of that, it has tons of historical landmarks. Older buildings like the Iglesia de Merced finished in 1907, or the Iglesia de San Jose de Orosi and the Museum founded in 1743 are just two of many historical buildings and landmarks.

Due to the length of time, it’s been a city, historical items and religious relics are also part of the inventory of San José. That’s why we love going to the capital of Costa Rica! You don’t have to be a history buff to appreciate all of the antique items and stories that go along with them.

the capital of Costa Rica

Photo By Shutterstock/Mark52

Con: Not That Old

Although San José is old, as far as South American cities go, it’s not that old. Cusco is the oldest inhabited city in South America, and it is over 200 years older! If you consider cities that have been uninhabited at some point, Quito has been inhabited since 980 and dates back to 2000 BC! These cities have some serious history, and they eclipse the capital by a pretty large margin.


Pro: Food

Food in a country is super important, after all, you aren’t usually able to travel to foreign countries with enough food for your entire stay. Besides, one of the best ways to understand the culture is to try the food. Luckily for you, the capital of Costa Rica is filled with restaurants that will please every taste bud.

One of the top restaurants in San José doesn’t serve Costa Rican cuisine; it’s actually a French restaurant. La Terrasse Cuisine Francaise serves some of the finest French cuisines that you will find outside of France! While it may be one of the most expensive in town, it is for good reason.

If you don’t like fancy meals, there are plenty of other restaurants to suit your needs. One of our favorites is the Cafe Rojo, which is Vegan-friendly and a favorite among Americans traveling to the area.

the capital of Costa Rica

Photo By Shutterstock/mbrand85


Con: Authentic Costa Rican Food Is Hard To Find

While there is a huge array of different types of food to choose from, finding the typical local food can be a bit harder to achieve. Most of the restaurants in the city center are dedicated to other countries food types (such as French food) because of the many different cultures that have settled into the city.

Another reason for that is there are many businessmen and women that come into the capital as well as foreign diplomats, and the business owners decided to give them a taste of home while they were away!

Don’t let that disappoint you, though. The local food is still alive and well within the city, you just might have to search for it a bit harder than you would with all of the other types of food found within the downtown area. Plus, the downtown restaurants are great if you’re looking for a nicer place to dine.


Our Vote…..Go!

The capital has a lot to offer besides history and food, but you’ll only find out if you go! So we think that you should go for a few days if you are already in that general direction. If you’re at the northern tip of the country trying to catch some killer surfing, you would be better off saving the time in travel and sticking to that area.

After all, you only have so much time to use while on vacation and driving 4 hours each way can take a lot of valuable time away from you!



If you have any questions about scheduling a trip to the capital of Costa Rica, call us at (US) 949-208-1158, or (Costa Rica) 506-2643-2182, or email us at!