San Jose visits are often necessary for doctor appointments, meetings with attorneys, immigration, banking and re-stocking with supplies. Pricesmart (which is like Sam’s Club or Costco) and Wal-Mart allow you to buy in bulk and save a little money. There are also malls like Multiplaza in Escazu that are fun to visit and to maybe take in a movie.
There are nice places to visit all over the Central Valley area and if you make your way up the hills in places like Escazu or Heredia, you can find some amazing views that overlook the dancing lights of the Central Valley. There are also fun day trips you can take to places like the La Paz Waterfall Gardens, Poas Volcano or Britt Coffee plantation tour.
If you live in Costa Rica… you will likely need, and want to get to know San Jose. When people talk about ‘San Jose’, they are generally talking about the Central Valley, not necessarily downtown San Jose (which I try and avoid like a wet dog ready to shake). Downtown San Jose is a maze of one way streets and you need to remember your car is not allowed to be there one day per week depending on your license plate last number (plates ending in 1-2 can’t go Monday, 3-4 on Tuesday, etc). There are many nice places to visit in the Central Valley and the cooler climate is always a treat. You’ll be surprised how psyched one gets to put on their favorite pair of jeans, a light sweater and footwear that is not flip flops!
It is highly suggested that you learn your way around at least a little of San Jose because at first you’ll need it and then you’ll enjoy it. Keep in mind it has grown up as a city in the past decade and now has bad traffic conditions. Two pieces of ‘big city advice’ my mom used to give me… 1) Leave a little extra travel time 2) Put your wallet in your front pocket. GPS or the ‘Waze’ app can also be a BIG help when traversing the city.
If you are in the Central Valley for R&R, some of the more popular places are Escazu, Santa Ana and Lindora where there are many upscale restaurants, shopping, night life and even a Starbucks (just in case a craving arises).