Print Posted by International TEFL Academy Costa Rica on 02/12/2018

A Day Exploring San Jose

A Day Exploring San Jose

We love Costa Rica, but this country is not just about beaches and rain forests. There is also lots to do in San Jose!  We recently spent a day exploring!

San Jose Free Walking Tour

A popular tourist attraction for years in European cities, San Jose now offers free walking tours of the city.  This is how we started the day.  The tours meet every day at 9am in front of the National Theater.  Ask someone if you aren't sure where it is!  There are actually two different companies that do this type of tour, so we are only speaking about our experience with the San Jose Free Walking Tour.  The other is called The Free Walking Tour Costa Rica.  Regardless of which you choose, there is no set fee;  the guides make money off the tips they are given, so make sure you are prepared to give something.

Our group was split between two guides, so we were with about ten other people.  Both guides were from Costa Rica and spoke English.  We went on a Saturday, which has some benefits:  fewer cars and people in the streets because not a regular work day, quieter, easier to move around, etc.  However, the guides said during the week, they often run into well-known locals, like the president! 

The tour lasted just over three hours with many parks and historical sites visited.  The guide did a great job of explaining important Costa Rican history and answering questions about geography, politics, traditions and the people.  She suggested other things to do in San Jose, like the National Museum, the Gold Museum, and the theaters, and she brought us inside the Jade Museum for a glimpse of their free exhibit and to grab a snack and some coffee. 

In addition to monuments, statues and sculptures, we saw lots of great street art along the tour.  I lived in San Jose my first year in Costa Rica and walked through the downtown area nearly daily, and yet, I saw many things for the first time.  We're so glad we took the time to do this tour!

Other Things to Do & See

Grab some lunch after the tour and then find something else to do since you made the trip to the city.   If you aren't into museums, you can check out the Mercado Central and the Artisan Market for cheap shopping or  souvenirs.  Don't forget that you are allowed to haggle in these markets!  The streets and parks are a great place to do some people-watching in the afternoon.  Central Avenue is a pedestrian-only street, so there are tons of vendors and street performers.  Dancers and other artists are often practicing their crafts in the parks too; there is often live music and even rotating art exhibits. 

Going west on Central Avenue, the road becomes Paseo Colon, which is one of San Jose's busiest streets, but at the end of Paseo Colon is the Sabana Park, which we love.  This is where the National Stadium is, where many games and concerts are held, and there are tons of things to do and see around the park.  People are playing basketball, baseball, skating, etc, and there are often art, music and even food festivals in Sabana Park.  There is another art museum in the Sabana too. 

Top 8 Coffee Shops in San Jose


There are tons of great restaurants and coffee shops downtown, so take the time to check them out.  And don't forget to treat yourself with Starbucks or the famous Estacion Dos Pinos, which serves ice cream tacos and sushi! 

Getting to San Jose from Heredia

To get to and from San Jose from Heredia, you have a few options.  You can take a number of buses:  Busetas Heredianas (Las Amarillas), the San Jose x Tibas, LA 400, or even the Tuasas that go to San Jose.  The train is another option; just make sure you check out the schedule.  Of course taxis and Ubers are always an option, but buses and trains are definitely cheaper and always add to a fun day of exploring! 

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Regardless of how you get there, you will have a good time exploring and getting to know another area of Costa Rica!  If you haven't already saved your spot in one of our 4-week, onsite TEFL trainings in Costa Rica, contact us today!


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