San Jose Tourist Attractions and Sightseeing

(San Jose, Costa Rica)

National Theatre picture (Teatro Nacional)The capital of Costa Rica is bursting with natural sightseeing opportunities and tourist attractions that flaunt the country's tropical wildlife and plants. From the many butterfly and hummingbird species at the Spyrogyra Butterfly Garden, to the native animals at the Simon Bolivar Zoological Park, San Jose is a haven for those who want to get up close with the region's natural wonders.

Other tourist attractions not to be missed within San Jose include the late 19th-century National Theatre, with its opulent marble foyer and huge auditorium, while a visit to the coffee farms on the outskirts of the city will help you understand why Costa Rican coffee from San Jose is amongst the world's best. Don't forget to enjoy a slice of local life at the Central Market, abuzz with vibrant attractions and activity, at all hours of the day.

Further photo of the National Theatre (Teatro Nacional)

National Theatre (Teatro Nacional)

Address: Teatro Nacional, San Jose, Costa Rica, CR
Tel: +506 233 2734
This impressive building constructed in the 1890s is a point of pride for San Jose residents and was funded by a coffee tax imposed by the coffee barons of the day. The Classical Renaissance National Theatre features artworks by European artists as well as a striking marble lobby. Able to seat more than 1,000 guests, the three-tiered auditorium features regular performances.
Open hours: daily
Admission: charge

Spyrogyra Butterfly Garden picture

Spyrogyra Butterfly Garden

Address: Spyrogyra Butterfly Garden, San Jose, Costa Rica, CR
Tel: +506 222 2937
A perfect place to get up close with the country's amazing butterflies, humming birds and plants and many similar attractions without leaving the city, this tranquil butterfly garden is suitable for tourists of all ages. Dozens of butterfly species are on show as well as for sale, cared for by garden staff from fringe areas. Visitors to San Jose's Spyrogyra Butterfly Garden will learn about the important role these pretty creatures play in the environment.
Open hours: daily - 08:00 to 16:00
Admission: charge

Central Market (Mercado Central)

Address: Mercado Central, San Jose, Costa Rica, CR
This is the best place in the city to pick up authentic Costa Rican food, locally made goods and similar handicrafts. Crowded daily, the Central Market is generally referred to as the Mercado Central and is a hive of activity during its hours of operation, and a great place to get a glimpse of local life. Leather works here make for great buys.
Open hours: daily
Admission: free

Photo of monkey at the Simon Bolivar Zoological Park

Simon Bolivar Zoological Park (Parque Zoológico Simon Bolivar)

Address: Avenida 11 and Calle 7, San Jose, Costa Rica, CR
Tel: +506 256 0012
Suitable for the whole family, this compact zoo gives visitors the chance to see some of Costa Rica's more elusive animals and plants. Featuring not only native animals but African and Asian species too, the zoo makes for a fun day out. Visitors to the Simon Bolivar Zoological Park can expect to find animal attractions such as jaguars, tapirs, monkeys, exotic birds, reptiles and more besides.
Open hours: Monday to Friday - 08:00 to 16:00, Saturday and Sunday - 09:00 to 17:00
Admission: charge, discount for children, children under 3 free

Turu Ba Ri Tropical Park image

Turu Ba Ri Tropical Park

Address: San Jose, Costa Rica, CR
Tel: +506 2 250 0705
Hikers and tourists alike should not miss a trip to this wonderful nature area. Encompassing nearly 600 acres / 243 hectares, the Turu Ba Ri Tropical Park has numerous forest trails that take visitors past native trees, flowers and plants. More then 150 types of bird call the park home, also. For young ones (and the young at heart) a Tarzan-like swing that reaches heights of 80 metres / 260 feet is onsite.
Open hours: daily - 08:00 to 17:00
Admission: charge

Coffee farm picture

Coffee Farms

Address: San Jose, Costa Rica, CR
Costa Rica is well known for producing some of the world's finest coffee, and near to the capital San Jose are a number of coffee farms that can be visited by curious coffee lovers. Visitors can purchase discounted coffee directly from the producer or simply take a look at how the beans are harvested and made into coffee. The smell of the freshly ground coffee alone is worth experiencing.
Open hours: daily
Admission: free

Savannah Park view (Parque La Sabana)

Savannah Park (Parque La Sabana)

Address: Parque La Sabana, San Jose, Costa Rica, CR
One of San Jose's bigger parks, Savannah Park attracts picnickers and sports fans alike with its shady trees and excellent facilities. The park has tennis courts, basketball and baseball pitches, jogging trails and a swimming pool. Savannah Park is also home to the National Stadium (Estadio Nacional de Costa Rica), where lively soccer matches are held, watched by crowds of up to 40,000 spectators.
Open hours: daily - 12:00 to 14:00 (swimming pool)
Admission: charge for swimming pool