"CHEPE" San José by Kindra

San José Travel Guide: 529 reviews and 888 photos

At first appearance, San Jose may ressemble any other loud, noisy and not so pretty Central American city. But those who stick around for a bit will discover that despite any of its shortcomings, San Jose is a very pleasant place to live with a great nightlife, tons of activities, great people, good public transport, many relatively safe neighbourhoods and a wealth of delicious and diverse restaurants to try.

I spent four months living and working here as a young intern and after spending 7 months in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, have grown to love and appreciate the extra freedoms I enjoy here in San Jose (compared to Tegus) and the fact that I am rarely bored.

The city is the country's capital and located smack in the middle of Costa Rica, acting as the main hub for travel within and out of the country. Within a few hours by bus, you can travel to the Pacific or the Caribbean sides to enjoy the country's many beaches, are about 8 hours bus ride in each direction to worthwhile destinations in Nicaragua and Panama and beautiful countrysides await you on your rides to the inner destinations of the country such as Arenal volcano or Monteverde.

Don't be fooled by first impressions but do take care. San Jose has experienced a great increase in crime over the past few years but good sense and some basic precautions should mean a happy and safe stay in the city.

Tip: Chepe is the Spanish nickname for Jose and thus most people, particularly Ticos living outside of the capital, refer to San Jose as CHEPE.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Best nightlife and food in the country
  • Cons:Big and sometimes polluted; crime can be high
  • In a nutshell:More than just a stop on your way to other destinations
  • Last visit to San José: Dec 2005
  • Intro Updated Nov 14, 2008
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