The capital of Costa Rica is usually considered just a stopover on your way to another region, such as the jungles and beaches of Costa Rica's Pacific Coast, or the lush coffee plantations and volcanoes of the Central Valley. Because it is overshadowed by the many beautiful parts of this Latin American paradise, San José rarely tops a traveler's list of to-die-for destinations. And yet the city has much to recommend it.
"The bustling and diverse tropical metropolis, framed by dramatic mountain vistas and brimming with unique shopping experiences, includes many treasures"
The bustling and diverse tropical metropolis, framed by dramatic mountain vistas and brimming with unique shopping experiences, includes many treasures: unique Spanish Colonial architecture, sites of cultural significance such as the Teatro Nacional and the Pre-Colombian Gold Museum, and the famously colorful and bustling Mercado Central bursting with fresh exotics fruits, local produce and crafts.
Plus, San José has its fair share of luxury and upmarket accommodations, which make it a perfect base camp for walking or bus tours of the city, and day-tripping to see those volcanoes and waterfalls!
On my recent visit I stayed at the Hotel Grano De Oro, and wished I'd stayed longer. Part of the wonderful, eco-centric Cayuga Collection brand of hotels and resorts, the Hotel Grano De Oro (Spanish for "golden grain") is a sprawling, Spanish Colonial gem boasting a variety of room types, including the stunning suite we enjoyed, with its hot tub and easy access to more jacuzzis on the outdoor deck.
Packed with history, the property has preserved old photos and keepsakes from its plantation heritage, while adding some wonderful contemporary art, too. The hotel staff also offer the best of Latin American hospitality, but their attentiveness to guests is the product of the exceptional standard instilled by the Cayuga philosophy and training. Plus, we love the many eco-initiatives the hotel is implementing as a way to pursue its commitment to sustainability while giving back to the community.
Favored by business travelers and romantic couples alike, the Hotel Grano De Oro is the place to tarry awhile and explore San José, even if you are on your way to or from somewhere else. And be sure to book a table for a lavish date night dinner at the excellent restaurant, which boasts the stately elegance of another era, attentive old school service, a European-influenced menu, and excellent wines.
Travel Tip: Book your flight, hotel, and car rental through optimized global travel search engine Skyscanner.