The neoclassical grandeur of Costa Rican capital San José should not be misjudged by its exterior. If you look past the commercial buildings you’ll find the city to be the country’s cultural hub. San José is referred to by locals as "Chepe" and is home to several restaurants, hotels, museums and parks. It offers extensive accommodation options, and like most big cities, can present some challenges to visitors without reservation during peak season (December to May).
Just five miles from Juan Santamaria International Airport stands Central America's largest conference center, the Wyndham San Jose Herradura Hotel & Convention Center. It offers 18 meeting rooms totaling 25,000 square feet of meeting and event space, attached to a 229-room hotel. Other San Jose Costa Rica MICE hotels include the Real InterContinental San Jose - Costa Rica, with 35,000 square feet of meeting space in the Escazu area; Costa Rica Marriott, with 12,000 square feet of meeting space set on a 30-acre coffee plantation, and the Alta Hotel, a boutique property whose restaurant, La Luz, seats 75 and has been rated one of the best in Central America for its innovative cuisine and impeccable service.
Culture Plaza in downtown San José is the central meeting point to explore the city. Nearby you have key points of interest like the National Theater, Gold Museum, and the Tourism Information Office (ICT). The National Theatre was built in 1890s and is a prominent center of Tico culture. Its marble staircase, patterned wood floors and golden ceilings makes the theatre worth a visit. Gold Museum houses a collection of ancient gold pieces and trinkets, while the adjacent Numismatic Museum displays Colombian currencies. Democracy Plaza is the city’s largest open area and features sculptures and busy outdoor markets. Guest can also visit the National Park, the largest inner city park that houses the city’s most important landmarks and historical buildings.
To escape the downtown city area, visitors can explore the historic neighborhoods of San José, including Barrio Amón, which has loads of restaurants and boutique hotels. Guests can also stroll at the farmers’ market, join crowds in Parque La Sabana on Sundays, or visit a live music club to understand the multi-dimensional appeal of Costa Rica's largest city and cultural capital. The city is a cornucopia of food and drink options, with its ample bistros, cafes and steakhouses. With restaurants built into old houses or salsa clubs and dive bars, there are plenty of options to choose from. San José is not to be written off as it has experienced a gradual renaissance and revived its forgotten barrios.