Where to Stay in San Jose, Costa Rica → 5 Best Areas for Tourists

0 Where to Stay in San Jose

Hola amigos! Are you ready to go on a holiday to one of the most important cities in Costa Rica, Central America? Although San Jose is super urban and filled with museums and big buildings, the Costa Rican capital is located in the middle of a tropical rainforest! If you go outside of the city for a few miles you’ll see lots of trees and experience the country’s famous humidity. It’s easy to forget you are staying in a city as soon as you step outside its boundaries.

This Central American country sure knows how to show its visitors a good time! During your stay in San Jose, you’ll get to learn many things about the country’s history, eat delicious fruits and drink some good craft beer!

Now let’s see which are the best hotels where to stay in San José, Costa Rica! I’ve made a list of some amazing accommodations for all types of travelers, so whether you’re backpacking around Central America or you’re looking for a fancy 5-star hotel in Costa Rica, I’m sure you’ll find all that you need here.

I highly recommend booking in advance, and certainly avoiding booking on the spot or super late, because you might end up paying a lot of money for a place that’s not so cool!

Vamonos, Costa Rica is calling us!

If you are in a hurry

If you want to book now, then I highly recommend quickly browsing this list with the best hotels where to stay in San José, all located in the Downtown area:

luxury hotel

Gran Hotel Costa Rica

Best luxury hotel

mid-range hotel
0 2 Sleep Inn Paseo Las Damas

Sleep Inn Paseo Las Damas

Best value for money

budget hotel
0 4 Cando Living Cheap Apartments

Cando Living Apartments

Best affordable accommodation in the center

0 2 Modern Apartment Airbnb

Modern Apartment

An Airbnb with amazing reviews

Here’s a map of all the areas for where to stay in San José that I will be talking about in this post:

Map of best places to stay San Jose Costa Rica
San Pedro
for nightlife
Barrio Amon
for families
La Sabana Park
for nature lovers

1. Downtown San Jose – where to stay in San Jose, Costa Rica for the first time

1 Downtown San Jose

Welcome to the heart of the capital city! Central San José is the historic and business hub of the country and where you’ll find the most popular attractions! Here you can dive into the culture of this unique country, eat their delicious food, and have an amazing experience in San Jose!

As it happens in most cases, the Downtown area is everything you ever imagined and more! All the main attractions like the National Museum of Costa Rica and the Pre Columbian Gold Museum are just a stone’s throw away from the hotels here. But don’t think central San José is just all museums. You’ll also be able to enjoy Costa Rica’s authentic nightlife scene here too!

The main street in the city center is Central Avenue where you’ll find Central Park which is within walking distance of San Jose’s Mercado Central. There you can explore the colorful stalls filled with delicious Costa Rican fruits (that usually have a great price) for hours!

Although most outdoor activities here include park and market visits, you can always check out other parts of Costa Rica. Arenal Volcano and Monteverde are some of the best areas in the country and the sweeping views will make you want to spend a night or 2 there as well!

Now let’s see San Jose’s hotels! There are so many amazing choices, but the Downtown area is super popular among all travelers, so make sure you book in advance to avoid any inconvenience!

Luxury hotel
1 1 Gran Hotel Costa Rica

Have you ever wondered how it is to stay in a historical and architectural monument? Well, now you can find out! This amazing San José accommodation offers some nice city views and a great location. Head to the on-site restaurant and have a delicious meal or spend a cozy night in your spacious rooms.

Other accommodation options in Downtown San Jose

1 2 Sleep Inn Paseo Las Damas

Enjoy your stay in San José in this nice hotel that has a great location, an on-site restaurant, and free wi-fi

1 3 Cando Living Apartments

Drink your morning coffee in the garden of this hotel that offers city views, spacious rooms, and free wi-fi

1 4 Modern Apartment vacation rentals

Feel at home in this city center place that’s close to all the attractions with a kitchen and spacious rooms

Things to do in Downtown San Jose

  • Explore Central Avenue and have coffee in Central Park
  • Buy some delicious fruits from the locals in San Jose’s Mercado Central
  • Admire the architecture of the Metropolitan Cathedral of San José
  • Dive into the history of San José in the Square of Democracy
  • Catch a play at the National Theater of Costa Rica in San José
  • Enjoy the city’s nightlife at the Baja Beach Club
  • Head to Plaza de la Cultura and visit the nearby Jade Museum
  • Learn more things about San Jose’s culture at the National Museum of Costa Rica and the Pre Columbian Gold Museum 

2. Escazú – the best place to stay for relaxation & shopping

2 Escazú best hotels in costa rica on the beach

Located 5 miles (8 km) southwest of San Jose’s city center, this quiet area is the best location to stay in San José for people who are looking for a more tranquil holiday in Costa Rica’s capital city such as couples or families with kids.

As you explore Escazú in San Jose, you’ll find the super trendy residential area of San Rafael. A cool and authentic Costa Rican spot filled with unique houses, restaurants, bars, and shopping centers like the Multiplaza Mall Escazú, a perfect place where you can go souvenir hunting!

You can always use public transport or car rental if you want to see the main attractions in the city center like the National Theater but don’t worry, this area has its fair share of historical attractions that I’m sure you’re going to love like the authentic churches of San Miguel de Arcángel, San Antonio de Padua, and San Rafael de Arcángel.

This quiet area is the perfect place to relax, see how the locals in San José live, and learn more about their culture while staying at some of the best hotels in the city!

Luxury hotel
2 1 Apartotel & Suites Villas del Rio With the view 

The best location for anyone who wants to relax all day long! This luxury option has rooms for families and it offers a free airport shuttle service as well. Enjoy the San José sun by the outdoor pool or head to the hot tub. Take advantage of the BBQ facilities and make sure you try their delicious breakfast!

Other accommodation options in Escazú

2 2 Posada el Quijote

Chill by the outdoor pool and enjoy the city views in this San José hotel that has rooms with balconies

2 3 Costa Verde Inn

Feel like you’re in a jungle in this hotel that offers a complimentary breakfast and has an outdoor pool

2 4 Trendy House

A perfect and tranquil San José place for couples that has a kitchen, a nice garden, and free wifi

Things to do in Escazú

  • Buy souvenirs from Multiplaza Mall, one of the best shopping centers in San José
  • Admire the houses around the San Rafael area
  • Learn about the culture of the locals at the San Miguel de Arcángel Church
  • Eat some delicious food at Casa Escazú in San José
  • Take the kids to play with the butterflies at the Mariposario Butterfly Kingdom Costa Rica
  • Spend a fun day at ​​Escape Room Costa Rica in San José

3. San Pedro – where to stay in San José, Costa Rica for nightlife

3 San Pedro best all inclusive hotels

Home to the city’s university, San Pedro is located 5 miles (8 km) east of the city center and is the best location to stay in San José if you like to party after the sunsets! A while ago, this area was independent of San José and as you’ll discover, you’ll still get that feeling as if you’re not in San José here.

It’s also probably because of all the young students that San Pedro has this different atmosphere. Here everyone wants to party, hang out in trendy cafes, and explore all the shopping centers and nightlife. The area around the University of Costa Rica is perfect for that and more.

If you aren’t too hungovered from the previous night, definitely check the University campus in San José during the day. After all, it’s one of the oldest and most known colleges in Costa Rica, so you’ll get to learn a lot about their culture. Plus, you’ll find a super cool Insect Museum and a Planetarium!

PRO TIP: Barrio Escalante did not make it to our list officially, but it is a lively area located in between Amon and San Pedro with tooooons os bars and restaurants too, so anything you find there is also very good and very walkable to the downtown (7-10 mins depending on where you are).

Luxury hotel
3 1 The Train Suites Curridabat

Recover after a night of drinking with a spa session at this modern hotel in San José! The rooms, which are equipped with a kitchen and lounge area, boast some nice views of the city! Head to the hot tub and get ready for another night on the town!

Other accommodation options in San Pedro

3 2 Finca Escalante

This San José accommodation offers free breakfast, it’s close to many attractions, nightlife and has free wi-fi

3 3 Casa Kibi Kibi Free cancellation

Relax in the garden of this lovely house that has rooms for families, a terrace, and a shared kitchen

3 4 Urban Alchemy

Enjoy your stay in San José and drink your coffee on the balcony of this modern place that has a comfortable room

Things to do in San Pedro

  • Enjoy San Pedro’s nightlife at Xcape Bar & Lounge in San José
  • Explore the university’s campus and visit the Insect Museum and Planetarium
  • Buy souvenirs from Outlet Mall San Pedro
  • Have a cocktail at O’Clock Lounge in San José
  • Check out the University Theatre
  • Mingle with the locals and dance all night at Nova Río Lounge

4. Barrio Amon – the best place to stay in San José, Costa Rica for families

4 Barrio Amon

Located 2 miles (3 km) north of the city center, this up-and-coming area is San Jose’s hidden gem! Home to some lovely colonial houses, cool cafes, and restaurants, Barrio Amon also happens to be the best location for anyone looking for places to stay in San José with their kids.

Besides the fact that you’ll be super close to the city center in San Jose if you want to explore the main attractions like the Plaza de la Cultura or National Museum, this area has the best places to visit for the little ones! The Simón Bolívar National Zoological Park and the Spirogyra Butterfly Garden are perfect for those of you who want to enjoy some outdoor activities with your families.

The best way to explore Barrio Amon is to walk on foot, that way you can spot all the stunning architecture. That’s also my favorite thing to do when I’m in a new place, that way I can also discover the neighborhood’s restaurants and cafes! I’m such a foodie and coffee lover that sometimes that’s all I care about! I’m sure many of you can relate.

Now let’s see the best hotels in San José, in Barrio Amon:

Luxury hotel
4 1 Taormina 5 star hotel and Casino

A super elegant hotel that’s close to many attractions! Head to the hotel’s restaurant for a delicious dinner after a day out, or spend a cozy night in and order room service. This San José accommodation offers breakfast and free parking spaces.

Other accommodation options in Barrio Amon

4 2 Urban Green Hotel & Suites Family friendly

Relax in the sauna of this modern hotel in San José that has family rooms and offers breakfast

4 3 Hotel Santo Tomas With free parking 

Go for a dip in the pool of this great boutique hotel that has vintage decor, family rooms and offers breakfast

4 3 Stylish Apartment with free airport shuttle

I love the design of this San José accommodation that has lots of space, a kitchen, and a balcony

Things to do in Barrio Amon

  • Take the kids to the Simón Bolívar National Zoological Park in San José
  • Explore Barrio Amon on foot and enjoy the cool architecture
  • Buy delicious local products from the Feria Verde Farmers Market
  • Have some family fun at the Butterfly Garden
  • See some cool art at Galería Talentum
  • Check out Castillo Del Moro, one of the main attractions in Barrio Amon
  • Eat a delicious meal at La Terrasse French Cuisine restaurant

5. Around La Sabana Park – where to stay for nature lovers

5 Around La Sabana Park

Located 2 miles (4 km) west of the city center, the area around the Metropolitan Sabana Park is the best location to stay in San José for anyone who wants to be close to nature, even if you’re visiting such a busy city!

We all know that sometimes all the crowds and noise can get a bit too much! That always happens to me when I visit a town like San Jose, so having my accommodation near a park or a small forest is the best of two worlds! And in this case, it’s even better because this area is super close to the city center if you want to visit some of the attractions there.

The Sabana Park, also nicknamed the “lungs of San José”, is just an oasis of silence! Made for different types of activities like jogging, biking, or just reading somewhere under a tree, this little natural corner can be the perfect escape from the city.

Besides the park, you’ll also find some nice attractions in this part of San José, which are worth a visit, like the Museum of Costa Rican Art, the Historical and Technological Museum, and the Natural Science Museum.

Luxury hotel
5 1 Hilton Garden Inn San Jose

How can you say no to a hotel that has a rooftop pool? I think they are so cool, and just imagine the stunning city views you’ll get, especially at night! This San José accommodation has modern rooms with ceiling-to-floor windows and a flat-screen TV.

Other accommodation around La Sabana Park

5 2 La Sabana Hotel Suites With the pool 

Go for a dip in the pool of this great boutique hotel in the city that offers breakfast and which has family rooms

5 3 Delcafetalcr

Affordable accommodation in San José that has a sun terrace, spacious rooms, and free wifi

5 4 Modern Penthouse Kids friendly 

Drink your coffee on the balcony of this amazing penthouse that has 3 rooms and a shared pool

Things to do Around La Sabana Park

BONUS: Best hotels near the Tobías Bolaños International Airport 

6 Best hotels in San Jose near Airport

I know many of you will be looking for accommodation in the city near the airport, especially if you’re just staying for a day or two and then head to other areas in Costa Rica like Arenal Volcano or Monteverde. That’s why I thought to make this list of the hotels with the best location near Tobías Bolaños International Airport. 

So let’s see!

Luxury (US$200 and up) 
Tired after that long flight? Don’t worry, the pool at Residence Inn by Marriott hotel is the perfect place to stay in San José for some relaxation! The accommodation is located 1 mile (2 km) away from the airport and it offers free parking spots. 

Mid-range (US$90 – US$100) 
I love the little garden they have at Isla Verde Hotel! Spend a cozy night in your modern room or head to the restaurant for a delicious dinner during your stay in San José. The airport is located 1 mile (2 km) away from the airport and the guests will benefit from a free airport shuttle service. 

Budget (US$50 – US$80) 
Chill on the terrace of Ester`s Place accommodation that has family rooms and a shared kitchen. The hotel in San José is located 1 mile (2 km) away from the airport and offers private parking spots. 

Airbnb (US$100 and up) 
Feel at home during your stay in San José in this Cool Loft with a modern design and a spacious room. Drink your coffee on the little balcony or head to the private backyard for some relaxing time. The accommodation is located 5 miles (8 km) away from the airport.

👑 Luxury price:$140
💵 Mid-range hotel:$70
🛏️ Budget:$40
🏠 Airbnb:$50
💰Accommodation prices:Low
📍Best area:Downtown San Jose
👪 Best area for families:Barrio Amon
🛎️ Best luxury hotel:Gran Hotel Costa Rica
🧳 Best mid-range hotel:Sleep Inn Paseo Las Damas
👛 Best budget hotel:Cando Living Apartments

FAQs about San Jose, Costa Rica, lodging

7 Where to stay with the family in San Jose

❓ What area should I stay in San Jose, Costa Rica?

Downtown is the best location to stay in San José, the Costa Rican capital, here you’ll find all the main attractions and some amazing hotels like Gran Hotel Costa Rica.

🏙️ Is it safe to walk Downtown San Jose, Costa Rica?

Yes, it’s safe to walk around Downtown San José but try to avoid walking alone at night in secluded areas. 

✈️ What is a good plac

Residence Inn by Marriott and Isla Verde Hotel are two of the best hotels to stay in San José, both have amazing reviews and offer great services. 

🏨 What are the best all-inclusive hotels in San Jose, Costa Rica?

La Sabana Hotel is a great all-inclusive accommodation to stay in San José, as it’s located near the city center and it has an outdoor pool and a restaurant.

👪 What are some family-friendly suburbs in Costa Rica?

Costa Rica offers great suburban options for families, including Santa Ana and Escazú, known as the safest place to stay in San Jose, Costa Rica.


All inclusive hotels San Jose Costa Rica for families 1
The night view of San Jose from Barrio Escalante

What a fun trip! Central America is so amazing! I hope this post helped you decide where to stay in San José, Costa Rica, and which hotel to pick.

I know there are tons of good accommodation options but here are my two favorite ones both located in Downtown Costa Rica

Just remember that the earlier you book, the better! Booking in advance will secure you the room and hotel you want for your stay in San Jose, Costa Rica!

Enjoy your time in Costa Rica, Central America! Visit all the cool attractions like the Metropolitan Cathedral of San José, learn all about their culture, drink lots of craft beer, and party all night long!

Don’t forget to leave me a comment below if you have any questions about San Jose or Central America or if you have any suggestions for our readers, I’ll be sure to answer them all!

Safe Travels,


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  1. Nancy 16.02.2023 at 06:46
    • Yulia 16.02.2023 at 12:04

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