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Where to stay in San Jose and for how long

Where to stay in San Jose and for how long

Old Jul 30, 14, 6:58 am
  #1  
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Join Date: Jun 2014
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Where to stay in San Jose and for how long

Hi: I have been researching a proposed first trip to Costa Rica most likely in Spring 2015 with plans to stay about one month. I certainly will visit at least one coastal area but also want to spend some time in San Jose as I like cities. However, I hesitate due to warnings about safety and high crime rates. For example, there are warnings I read in a well-respected tour guide to take taxis and don't go walking at night anywhere in the downtown. Is it really that unsafe? Is there any data to support these warnings? Honestly, I don't know the point of visiting a city if you can't take a stroll after dinner.

Are there areas to stay that are more recommended than others? Thanks for any ideas and I'd love to hear from folks with stay in San Jose.
Takeaway8 is offline  
Old Jul 30, 14, 2:32 pm
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Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: San Jose, Costa Rica
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Downtown San Jose is less safe at night than it used to be. Whenever I need to be downtown after dark, I always take a taxi to and from. It's the safest way to do it.

But leaving aside the issue of safety, there isn't enough that's redeeming about the city to keep you here for long. (I live here in a quiet suburban neighborhood because San Jose is where my work is.) If I had a a month to spend as a visitor in Costa Rica, I'd limit my time in the city. You talk about "a stroll after dinner." A walk down Fifth Avenue it is not. This is not a strolling city. It's not like there are great stores downtown for window shopping at night or beautiful illuminated monuments and fountains. Except for a couple of historical buildings that have survived, downtown San Jose is a mishmash of boxy 1970s architecture.

San Jose has, probably, three must-see sights: the Gold Museum, the Jade Museum, and the National Theater. There are a few good restaurants. The city warrants two or three days, max, and even then, the average visitor doesn't devote that much time to the city.
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Old Jul 31, 14, 8:52 am
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Hi SJOGuy: Thanks for the feedback and reality check. Your comments are consistent with what I've read in other discussion boards and even in the tour guide at my local library. Well, it looks like SJ for a couple of nights then. Cheers.
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Old Jul 31, 14, 2:06 pm
  #4  
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: San Jose, Costa Rica
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Good decision. Once you see San Jose, you'll say, "Oh. I'm glad I decided not to spend 10 days here" (or whatever you were originally thinking). It's fashionable to knock San Jose, and it's totally deserved. If you live here, you get to know the place and it grows on you. But vacation time is too precious, and Costa Rica does not do "urban" very well.

Plenty of places in Costa Rica have a great vibe: There's "beachy" (Manuel Antonio, Dominical, Puerto Viejo, Cahuita); There's "eco/adventure" (Arenal/La Fortuna, Monteverde/Santa Elena). Those are fun places to hang out.
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Old Jan 5, 15, 8:32 pm
  #5  
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
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SJO--Thanks for the tips. I'll be there next week and will only spend a short time in the city per your recommendation. You did mention a few places to eat. Where are the best restaurants in the city? What about great places to eat in the country to and from Jaco, Arenal, etc.? Thanks in advance!
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Old Jan 27, 15, 11:00 am
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
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What about Guanacaste?

Hi SJOGuy,

Since you're local to Costa Rica, do you have any thoughts on Guanacaste? Where to stay? I'm assuming fly into LIR instead of SJO. I was looking at the Hilton and JW Marriott, but I heard the Marriott is really isolated.

I want to do a lot of outdoor activities like cave diving, hikes, zipline, etc.

Thanks!

James

Originally Posted by SJOGuy View Post
Downtown San Jose is less safe at night than it used to be. Whenever I need to be downtown after dark, I always take a taxi to and from. It's the safest way to do it.

But leaving aside the issue of safety, there isn't enough that's redeeming about the city to keep you here for long. (I live here in a quiet suburban neighborhood because San Jose is where my work is.) If I had a a month to spend as a visitor in Costa Rica, I'd limit my time in the city. You talk about "a stroll after dinner." A walk down Fifth Avenue it is not. This is not a strolling city. It's not like there are great stores downtown for window shopping at night or beautiful illuminated monuments and fountains. Except for a couple of historical buildings that have survived, downtown San Jose is a mishmash of boxy 1970s architecture.

San Jose has, probably, three must-see sights: the Gold Museum, the Jade Museum, and the National Theater. There are a few good restaurants. The city warrants two or three days, max, and even then, the average visitor doesn't devote that much time to the city.
kamgol is offline  

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