San José, Costa Rica: a 2018 Top Destination on the rise by TripAdvisor

This year San José, the capital of Costa Rica, was ranked 6th of the World’s Top Destinations “on the rise”, announced by the travel site Tripadvisor and according to the 2018 Travelers’ Choice awards. San José is also the only city in Latin America that appears on the list.


Article by Tamara Rivera.


Buenaventura Corrales School in San José, Costa Rica. Photo credits: @ssaliyu


Colloquially known by the ticos as “Chepe”, San José is the capital of Costa Rica since 1823. Despite its only 44,6 km2, it is home to a diversity of atmospheres: from picturesque quarters surrounded by markets and fruit peddlers, to historic neighborhoods full of cafés, art galleries, exotic restaurants, and bars.


It is without question, San José has experienced a positive transformation over the past years. A while ago, the capital was, due to its proximity to the airport as well as being the hub of transportation, just a place for a one-night layover before heading to the beach or mountains. But there has been something evolving in San José that has caught attention of travelers and made them want to give the city another chance.


The “Avenida Central”, main avenue of San José. Photo credits: @chepetown


This revival has brought San José to the 6th place of the World’s Top Destinations “on the rise” by Tripadvisor. The city is being described as vibrant and packed with Victorian mansions, Costa Rica’s rowdy, buzzing capital was built on the profits of the coffee trade. With working “golden bean” plantations still surrounding the city. Try freshly roasted local beans at Mercado Central or dive into a shiny, golden world while visiting the Museo del Oro. Many renovated landmarks turned into modern and stylish hotels.


Flower sellers at the Central Market, Costa Rica. Photo credits: @aje_1190


Things you definitely can’t miss when visiting San José, Costa Rica, are:

  1. The National Theatre, built in 1887.
  2. The Museum Tour which includes the Precolumbian Gold Museum, the Jade Museum, and the National Museum.
  3. The Central Market, perfect to try authentic traditional food; and the National Craft Market, specialized in souvenirs and traditional crafts.
  4. The Paseo Gastronómico La Luz, foodies’ choice for a night of culinary adventure with some locally brewed, Costa Rican craft beers.
  5. The “Feria Verde de Aranjuez” or Green Market on Saturday mornings, where you can buy organic fruits and vegetables and handicrafts; enjoy delicious, healthy food with accompanying live music in the background.


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Green Market in Aranjuéz, San José. Photo credits: @feriaverde



Immerse yourself in the culture of San José while staying at Hotel Presidente and experience the city like a local. Don’t forget to visit the rooftop patio and bar Azotea 7; apart from the food and drinks, the panoramic view is their specialty! The Holiday Inn San José-Aurola hotel is also a convenient option that combines elegance and practicality, only minutes away by foot from museums, restaurants, and shops.


Hotel Presidente’s colorful and famous facade. Photo credits: @dreycava


Do you want to know what is going on in San José during your stay? Check the agenda of GAM Cultural! You will find almost every event going on in Chepe on their website or app: from concerts, theatre shows, and dance presentations; to workshops, talks and themed parties.


Dig deeper into San José and discover its charms: the colors, the sounds, the people and the culture. We are sure that if you pay attention, you will end up loving the city and agreeing with the local saying “Conoche, San José de noche” basically meaning that San José rules.


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