Costa Rica

San José

A bustling, modern city in the middle of the Central Valley.

Fully a third of Costa Rica's population lives in San José itself, a bustling, congested modern city in the middle of the Central Valley, where most international flights arrive.

It is worth a short visit for a taste of local life and to take in some of the principal sights:

  • the National Theatre is the most lavish building in the capital. Funded by a coffee tax in the late 19th century its baroque interior parades the wealth of the coffee planters in neo-colonial style.
  • the Pre-Columbian Gold Museum is an underground museum containing thousands of gold artefacts from as early as 500 BC. Exhibits range from plain body ornaments, bracelets, earrings, chest plates, little bells and earrings to intricately worked representations of local animals: charming frogs, birds of prey and delicate figurines. A gallery in the foyer shows the work of contemporary Costa Rican artists.
  • the Jade Museum holds the largest collection of jade carvings in the Americas and has displays of pre-Columbian art, pottery and sculpture. The museum is on the top floor of an office building and so has good views over the capital.
  • the Museum of Costa Rican Art contains a small collection of 19th and 20th century painting and sculpture by national and international artists with changing exhibitions. It is located in a large, well-planted park near the city centre created 35 years ago on what was formerly the city's airport.

There is a good choice of hotels in and around the city itself, and in the surrounding countryside of the Central Valley.

Start planning your trip to Costa Rica

Let us know what kind of trip to Costa Rica you are most interested in, and when you are thinking of travelling. Our travel experts know Costa Rica exceptionally well, and will be delighted to offer some initial ideas and advice, and to develop a more detailed design for your holiday as your ideas evolve. You can order a copy of our special 'Costa Rica, Panama & Nicaragua' brochure here.

Call us on 020 7281 7788 ( Mon-Fri 9:15-5:45). Or we'd be happy to call you back.

Costa Rica, Panama & Nicaragua
Our brochure for Costa Rica, Panama & Nicaragua is packed with ideas and information to help you plan your trip.

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Holiday designs that visit San José

'Just a Week in Costa Rica'

Costa Rica - Touring and wildlife

It’s amazing what you can see in just a week. Wildlife, volcanoes, and cloud forest make the most of a short visit.

7 nights from £815

'Creature Comforts'

Costa Rica - Touring and wildlife

First-rate wildlife and nature experiences while staying in some of Costa Rica’s best boutique and spa hotels and wildlife lodges.

13 nights from £4115

'Costa Rica Nature Explorer'

Costa Rica - Touring and wildlife

A wonderful trip visiting Costa Rica’s main locations for wildlife, staying in good quality mid-range lodges where nature is the focus.

14 nights from £2765

'Add-on: Tortuguero'

Costa Rica - Touring and wildlife

For excellent wildlife, Tortuguero in north-east Costa Rica can easily be added to the start or end of almost any itinerary, and complement self-drive trips very well

2 nights from £270

'Costa Rica & Nicaragua Off the Beaten Track'

Nicaragua - Touring and wildlife

An adventurous and very varied trip, well beyond the normal routes. Rich wildlife experiences, wonderful scenery, evocative history, and vibrant local communities.

6 nights from £1960

'Secret Costa Rica'

Costa Rica - Touring and wildlife

Step into the natural side of Costa Rica to experience country life and meet the people, visit some wonderful wildlife locations, and relax at out-of-the-way beaches.

14 nights from £1555

'Coast to Coast'

Costa Rica - Touring and wildlife

One of the best all-round experiences of Costa Rica, visiting the Caribbean and the Pacific, Arenal volcano, Tortuguero's wildlife, deep rain forest, and Monteverde.

15 nights from £1490

'Add-on: Osa Peninsula'

Costa Rica - Touring and wildlife

For excellent wildlife, the Osa Peninsula in far south-west Costa Rica can easily be added to the start or end of almost any itinerary, and complement self-drive trips very well

3 nights from £1125

'Costa Rican Odyssey'

Costa Rica - Touring and wildlife

This enthralling small group escorted tour has a strong accent on Costa Rica’s nature and wildlife, complemented by wonderful scenery and times when local life takes centre stage.

13 nights

'Route 2: South Pacific Explorer'

Costa Rica - Selfdrive touring

A 14 night selfdrive itinerary focusing on Costa Rica's South Pacific region: lush, wild coastline, biodiverse Osa Peninsula, remote cloudforest and paramos habitat

14 nights from £1655

'Route 1: Classic Costa Rica'

Costa Rica - Selfdrive touring

A 10 night selfdrive itinerary visiting Costa Rica's classic highlights: dramatic volcanoes, cloudforest and jungle at the beach.

10 nights from £1075

'Costa Rican Adventures'

Costa Rica - Walking and active

Get ready for a heady mix of action-packed adventure, all different, all over Costa Rica.

14 nights from £1765

'Costa Rica Chill-out'

Costa Rica - Beach and relaxation

A relaxing getaway with a difference: a spa hotel, jungle rafting, some wonderful wildlife, and a beautiful Pacific beach

14 nights from £3015

'The Birds of Costa Rica'

Costa Rica - Birdwatching

A well-nigh perfect introduction to Costa Rica's birds. A mix of key habitats to give long lists, with comfortable lodgings and minimum travelling for maximum enjoyment.

15 nights from £2910

'Bribri and Chira Islands Communities'

Costa Rica - Communities

Be welcomed by, learn from and contribute to two special communities. Experience the Bribri's forest world, and the Chira's island life in the beautiful Gulf of Nicoya.

7 nights from £1165

Here’s what our clients say about their experiences of Costa Rica with Geodyssey.

The tour was impeccably organised. It all went smoothly, the guides were terrific. Thank you for making our honeymoon so special. We loved it all.