San Jose, Costa Rica

San Jose is the capital and largest city in Costa Rica, one of the most popular tourist destinations in Central America. San Jose has pleasant warm temperatures, although it can be chilly if you venture up into the mountains and volcanoes. There are two seasons in Costa Rica: the dry season is the best time to visit San Jose and it falls between mid-December and April. It’s a sunny time of the year to explore all of the attractions in the city and beyond. Room rates are high in the dry season so book in advance. The rainy season extends from May to November.

»San Jose Weather & Temperature by Month

San Jose Weather & Temperature by Month

January is the coldest and driest month of the year in San Jose with an average low temperature of 63°F (17°C) and a precipitation rate of 10 mm. The average high temperature is 79°F (26°C).

In February, the high temperature average rises to 84°F (29°C). There are no significant changes in the low temperature averages as it rises by only one degree to 64°F (18°C).

March sees slightly warmer temperatures in San Jose with the average high temperature inching up a few degrees to 86°F (30°C). The average low temperatures remain exactly the same at 64°F (18°C).

San Jose Weather in April: The hottest month of the year in San Jose is April. Though the high temperatures stay the same at 86°F (30°C), the low temperatures rise by a few degrees to 66°F (19°C).

In May, both the average high and average low temperatures decrease by 2 degrees to 84°F (29°C) and 64°F (18°C) respectively. The precipitation rates are moderate for San Jose with 140 mm of expected rainfall.

June is a gorgeous and sunny month for San Jose with the highest daily sunshine average of the year – 7 hours per day. The climate cools slightly with temperatures of 82°F (28°C) for the average high and 64°F (18°C) for the average low.

In July, San Jose receives 180 mm of rainfall. The high and low temperatures remain at 82°F (28°C) and 64°F (18°C).

San Jose Weather in August: The temperatures hold steady in August. This is a spectacular time to go whale watching as the warmer temperature brings the pods to the area.

September has the highest rainfall of the year with 240 mm of expected rainfall. This month sees temperatures stay the same at 82°F (28°C) for the high temperature average and 64°F (18°C) for the low temperature average.

In October, the average high temperature drops 5 degrees to 77°F (25°C). On the other hand, the average low temperature remains at 64°F (18°C).

November sees the low temperature stay at 64°F (18°C) for the seventh month in a row. Meanwhile, the average high temperature increases a couple of degrees to 79°F (26°C). The month brings in a moderate amount of rainfall as the precipitation average measures in at 160 mm.

San Jose Weather in December: The average low and average high temperatures remain the same in December ranging between 64°F (18°C) and 79°F (26°C). December also receives the lowest daily sunshine average at 6 hour of sunlight per day.

There’s a lot of great times in the year to visit San Jose but for those who want to enjoy the best of San Jose’s forests should plan to visit is in January. January is also the prime time to visit for adventurers who are eager to catch some river rafting and canyoneering. For those who want to visit the Osa Peninsula, the best time to come is in February when the dry season arrives. Dying to see the sea turtles nesting? Make sure to plan your visit between the months of May and June. Meanwhile, whale watching is at its best in between July and August as the pods of Antarctic Humpbacks seek refuge in the warm waters of Golfo Dulce. For those who want nothing but to enjoy the best of Costa Rica’s fiestas and culture, visit between December through April when the fiestas like El Tope and Carnival take place.

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»Getting to San Jose, Costa Rica

Getting to San Jose, Costa Rica

Most people arrive in San Jose by airplane. The Juan Santamaria International Airport is San Jose’s main airport. It was renovated in 2010 and is served by 15 major airlines. The airport is located in Alajuela about 20 minutes from San Jose. You can also arrive in San Jose by bus: there are many buses that travel between San Jose and cities such as Panama City in Panama and Managua in Nicaragua. You can travel by car from North America: it can be an exciting but difficult trip because of crime, violence, corruption at border crossings, and problems with visa formalities.

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»Getting From the Airport

Getting From the Airport

There are several ways that you can get from the airport into the center of San Jose. There are car rental agency booths at the airport if you choose to drive a car to get to San Jose: however, driving is not recommended as the roads are in poor quality and road signs can be very confusing. There are public buses that are very inexpensive: they pass the airport every ten minutes. There are also red TUASA and yellow Station Wagon buses: these both stop directly in front of the terminal. If you have a lot of luggage you will probably want to use a taxi.

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»Getting Around San Jose, Costa Rica

Getting Around  San Jose, Costa Rica

Many of San Jose’s attractions are located close to each other, so walking is one way to explore the city. It is safe to walk to these attractions during the day but not at night. The city also has an excellent and extensive public bus system: this is one of the best ways to see the city and it is very inexpensive. Buses run every day from early in the morning until late at night. Bus stops are usually easy to find: they are decorated benches and are often covered by a shelter for protection from the rain. When your bus approaches stick out your arm and wave!

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»Restaurants

Restaurants

One of the delights of visiting San Jose is discovering the huge variety of restaurants and cuisines in the city. There are contemporary fusion restaurants, French, Italian, Japanese, Peruvian, Spanish, and even Swiss restaurants in San Jose. Most of the restaurants are located in the downtown area which is very convenient because this is where many of the attractions and hotels are located. If you are looking for inexpensive restaurants try one of the little “sodas” which are similar to diners in the United States. There are also 24 hour restaurants for late-night partiers. Fruit vendors are found on many street corners if you need a quick snack.

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»Shopping

Shopping

Except for the occasional downpour, San Jose is perfect for outdoor shopping. There are pedestrian friendly streets that make your shopping experience enjoyable. There are many shops along the street called Avenida Escazu. In addition to high-end boutiques, hip cafes, and an IMAX theater, there are live musicians, DJs, and dance performers to liven your shopping experience. Avenida Central is located in downtown San Jose: it stretches for several blocks and is full of shops where you can browse to your heart’s content. At the old Mercado Central, or Central Market, you will find clothing, Costa Rican coffee, and souvenirs. There are also several shopping malls in San Jose.

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»Neighborhood Guide

Neighborhood Guide

Except for the occasional downpour, San Jose is perfect for outdoor shopping. There are pedestrian friendly streets that make your shopping experience enjoyable. There are many shops along the street called Avenida Escazu. In addition to high-end boutiques, hip cafes, and an IMAX theater, there are live musicians, DJs, and dance performers to liven your shopping experience. Avenida Central is located in downtown San Jose: it stretches for several blocks and is full of shops where you can browse to your heart’s content. At the old Mercado Central, or Central Market, you will find clothing, Costa Rican coffee, and souvenirs. There are also several shopping malls in San Jose.

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»Getting Married in San Jose, Costa Rica

Getting Married in San Jose, Costa Rica

San Jose is a great place for a wedding: it is an easy process and there are many choices for wedding venues. All you need is your current passport: you’ll fill in some basic information on some forms that are provided; and you need two witnesses at the ceremony. Most foreigners get married in a civil ceremony officiated by a local lawyer. The lawyer records the marriage and then you get your official marriage license. After this, most people have a second wedding at one of the many fantastic locations in and around San Jose such as the Real Intercontinental, the Costa Rica Marriott, the Crowne Plaza Hotel Corobici, Villa Blanca Cloud Forest Hotel, and more.

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»Where to Stay

Where to Stay

There are many different kinds of accommodations that will be available to you during your visit to San Jose. There are traditional hotels, boutique hotels, budget guest houses, and backpacker hostels. Many of the downtown hotels and small guest houses are in beautiful mansions that have been lovingly restored. Many of these accommodations have reasonable room rates and because they are in the downtown area, they are convenient for exploring the sights on foot. If you want to stay just outside of downtown San Jose, try Escazu or Santa Ana. These are two of San Jose’s most upscale neighborhoods and are located in peaceful mountain settings.

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Best Time to Visit San Jose, Costa Rica & Other Travel Tips