Central Valley / San Jose
The Central Valley, the “heart” of Costa Rica, boasts a nearly perfect climate, excellent museums, drive-up volcanoes and fertile hillsides dotted with coffee plantations. Within this fertile temperate valley live most of the country’s population.
The Capital city of San Jose, is located at an altitude of 2,900′ feet above sea level, giving it an idyllic climate with temperatures that vary from the mid-70’s F during the day to about 60 degrees F at night.
San Jose offers visitors a wide variety of activities and a thriving nightlife with its many discos, bars, casinos, fine restaurants, shops, and some very impressive museums sprinkled throughout the city. Those seeking adventure can peruse our list of tours @ San José One day Tours; offering visits to National Parks, Coffee plantations, Volcanoes, Canopy tours, white water rafting and much more.
In the Plaza de la Cultura (Cultural Square) a fantastic collection of pre-Colombian gold artifacts gleam inside the enormous vault of the Gold Museum. To one side of the Plaza is the beautiful National Theater, a national pride and architectural jewel that recently celebrated its 100th anniversary.
Attending a performance by the National Symphony Orchestra, one of Latin America’s best, is a highlight of any visit. A few blocks away, on the 11th floor of the National Insurance Building (INS), is the Jade Museum, with the largest collection of pre-Columbian jade in the Americas.
Topping the list, literally, of things to do around San Jose are the drive-up volcanoes: Poás and Irazú, towering 8,870 and 11,260 feet, respectively, above sea level. Unfortunately, as of this writing the Poas Volcano National Park remains closed to due to recent activity.
Among the lovely towns of the Central Valley, one of the most popular is Sarchí. Long at the center of Costa Rica’s oxcart production and more recently, home to a thriving crafts industry, Sarchí attracts visitors looking for local handcrafts and souvenirs
The average daytime temperature is about 75 degrees F. The rainy season begins in May and lasts to October with showers mostly during the late afternoon and evening hours. Mornings are fresh and dew laden.
What to wear
Comfortable lightweight cotton clothing. Long pants and long sleeved shirts are interchangeable with shorts and tees, but carry a light jacket. A rain poncho is essential when visiting during the rainy season. Comfortable shoes for those walking city tours.**NOTE: MANY RESTAURANTS IN THE CITY WON’T ALLOW PATRONS WEARING SHORTS OR SNEAKERS.
Public transportation is excellent in San Jose and you will find routes that crisscross the city at regular intervals and provide a safe and inexpensive mode of transportation. Taxi service is also widely available and very reasonably priced. They are easily identifiable by their red color and white or yellow triangle on their door. Make sure the cab has a working meter or “Maria” as the locals call it, or you agree on a rate before entering the cab.