San Jose, known locally as Chepe, is the capital of Costa Rica and the country's only big city. The capital has all the usual trappings of urban Latin America and if you stay streetwise it is worth exploring to get to the beating heart of Costa Rican life. Most visitors to the country will find themselves in San Jose at some point due to the international airport and administrative buildings. Amidst the hustle and bustle there are several historic sights and museums of value so stay a few days if you think you can handle the hustle.
Juan Santamaria International Airport is 17km northwest of the city. There are no direct flights from the UK and the cheapest flights to San Jose tend to include a stopover in the US. The journey takes from upwards of 14 hours. Once at the airport take an official taxi into town to avoid scams; these are orange and line up outside the terminal building. The journey takes about half an hour and should cost in the region of $15. Intrepid travellers may like to take the local bus to town - this runs from the covered car park at the airport every 15 minutes. San Jose is just one of many Central American cities that you can fly to with dealchecker, so why not check out cheap flights to Panama City and Guatemala City today as well?
To get stuck into Costa Rican sights, sounds and flavours head to Mercado Central, the city's biggest market, where stalls are crowded with a remarkable selection of tropical fruits, vegetables, meats and cheeses. Morning is the best time to visit for a less hectic experience. Parque Espana is a good place from which to explore several of the city's other main attractions. Museo de Jade houses a vast collection of indigenously made jade objects and the Museum of Contemporary Art and Design displays works by some of Central America's best contemporary artists. Around the Plaza de Cultura you will find two further highlights of San Jose: the grand colonial Teatro Nacional and Museo de Oro Precolombino.
December through April is the best time to visit San Jose as this is the dry season and temperatures are milder. The monsoon rains fall most heavily in September and October whilst May and June tend to bring the hottest temperatures.
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