The capital of Costa Rica, the large, sprawling city of San José is the focal point of the Central Valley with a spectacular setting, ringed by jagged mountains and volcanoes on all sides.
Due to earthquakes over the years, most of the colonial buildings and much of the charm of the city has disappeared. What remains today is a mixture of restored and rundown buildings huddled under a modern skyline.
The city still retains a good mix of museums and general attractions that are of interest for those willing to get under the skin of the capital.
The Central Valley
The surrounding countryside of the Central Valley is stunning, characterized by coffee plantations; pockets of rain and cloud forests teeming with birdlife, butterflies and orchids; spectacular volcanic craters and tumbling rivers for rafting.
It’s a great place to begin any trip to the country.
Suggested itineraries featuring San José & Central Valley
Our itineraries will give you suggestions for what is possible when you travel in San José & Central Valley, and they showcase routes we know work particularly well. Treat them as inspiration, because your trip will be created uniquely by one of our specialists.
Map of San José & Central Valley
Places & hotels on the map
Places near San José & Central Valley
- El Silencio Lodge 40 kilometers away
- Turrialba 44 kilometers away
- San Ramon 46 kilometers away
- San Gerardo de Dota 52 kilometers away
- Central Pacific Coast 56 kilometers away
- Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui 59 kilometers away
- Manuel Antonio 62 kilometers away
- Esterillos 65 kilometers away
- Dominical 80 kilometers away
- Monteverde Cloud Forest 85 kilometers away
- Tortuguero & the Caribbean Coast 85 kilometers away
- Arenal Volcano 90 kilometers away
- Northern Pacific Coast 107 kilometers away
- Tenorio Volcano 131 kilometers away
- Cano Negro 133 kilometers away
- Punta Islita 145 kilometers away
- Corcovado & Osa Peninsula 146 kilometers away
- Puerto Viejo de Talamanca 149 kilometers away
- Manzanillo 160 kilometers away
- Rincon de la Vieja 169 kilometers away
- Playa Potrero 194 kilometers away
- Tamarindo 196 kilometers away
- Golfo de Papagayo 209 kilometers away
Accommodation choices for San José & Central Valley
We’ve selected a range of accommodation options for when you visit San José & Central Valley. Our choices usually come recommended for their character, facilities and service or location. Our specialists always aim to suggest properties that match your preferences.
Ideas for experiencing San José & Central Valley
Our specialists seek out authentic ways to get to know the places that could feature in your trip. These activities reflect some of the experiences they've most enjoyed while visiting San José & Central Valley, and which use the best local guides.