Here are our favorite San Jose Costa Rica hotels and restaurants in and around San Jose. Contact us if you would like us to make a or confirm a reservation for you in San Jose.


Near the International Airport … (There is a surprising dearth of great hotels near the airport).

Xandari (About twenty minutes from the airport – gorgeous views and trails – lovely gardens – very tropical.  Highly recommended.)

Marriott – Very nice – insist on a poolside view. There are several of these around town – we recommend the really nice one called Costa Rica Marriott Hotel Hacienda Belen.

El Rodeo Country Inn  – El Rodeo is a nice Costa Rican hotel; it is great budget spot (starts around $90 and is located about fifteen minutes away from the International Airport.  We have recently started playing tennis and hence, enjoy the court.   Family friendly with pool, pool table, foosball.   They have a famous Steak House on the property (vegetarians beware!) .  The rooms are okay (a throw-back to the 60s or 70s, but definitely comfortable and clean.  Ask for room upstairs as the lower rooms are too dark and dreary).

Hotel Buena Vista – About twenty minutes away up in the hills, great birder trails, free shuttle.  Reasonably priced, around $110 per night, go for the deluxe balcony, fresh air, bird song, etc. The Villas are nicer yet.  This place rarely seems to have many guests, so it is a great place if you like quiet.  If you are here for an afternoon – ask the hotel to arrange (or we can too) a drive up to Poas Volcano and/or a coffee tour.  Both are really cool. This is a less expensive option than Xandari.

Holiday Inn Express and the Hampton Inn & SuitesAcross the street from the airport in case you are making a quick getaway.

Melia CariariNow a DoubleTree, large hotel, big pool, buffet breakfasts, about fifteen minutes from the airport, older 1960ish building, near the Cariari Golf Course.  Popular with the conference crowd.

Ramada Herradura – Similar and next door to the Melia Cariari – looks like built during the same era, huge pools, another popular conference hotel.

Downtown Hotels

Grano de OroLovely old Victorian with modern twists, excellent fine dining restaurant, one of our favorites, ask for a room with a window to the outside of the building or courtyard (as opposed to a hallway…).

Jade Boutique Hotel – About five minutes outside of downtown San Jose, in a cool, upcoming area of San Jose, with fun bars and restaurants to enjoy. (We haven’t stayed there, but a lot of our guests have spoken highly of it.)

Escazu / Santana

We stay a lot in this area because we run a lot of errands in this part of town.  It is about thirty minutes from the international airport if there is not a lot of traffic. This area has a lot of upscale hotels and restaurants, but not much greenery. One of Costa Rica’s largest shopping malls, MultiPlaza, is located here if you need to buy things or want to see a movie.

InterContinentalCan’t go wrong here – great brunch, beautiful pools, spa, across the street from MultiPlaza. Check out staying at the Tower – a bit more costly but complimentary breakfast and Happy Hour so the price equals out. Nice rooms.

The Alta HotelLovely. Cool building.

Hotel Beacon – In the heart of Escazu so ask for a room not on the street but get a deluxe room so you have a balcony with fresh air, some people would classify this as a business hotel – good restaurant, upscale modern design, huge beds, large modern showers, flat screen TVs. Often very empty.

Hotel Luisiana Bed & Breakfast– On the outskirts of Santana – super inexpensive, but nice.

Casa Bella Rita Boutique Bed & Breakfast– On the outskirts of Santana – on the road to Jaco, Quepos and the coast. Very well loved by a lot of people.

Exotic Hotels Outside of the City – Definitely worth looking into! 

Xandari is my favorite (see above).

Peace Lodge (still farther up the hill, 1 hour from the international airport, cool waterfalls, hummingbirds, exotic Costa Rica)

Finca Rosa Blanca (at least thirty minutes from the international airport high in the hills of Heredia, expensive)

Pura Vida Yoga Retreat Center

Poas Volcano Lodge  (at least 45-50 minutes from the international airport – gorgeous)


(in no particular order other than location)

Between Downtown and Escazu near the new stadium:

Park Cafe (in the suburb of La Sabana, about ten minutes outside of downtown San Jose, right near the new stadium). Edgy, handsome British chef.  Reservations a must.  Open for lunch and dinner.  Also great shopping spot for Indian/Asian furniture.  We love this spot, and eat here often.


Grano de Oro (also a hotel, located in downtown San Jose).  International.

Tin Jo (downtown San Jose,  Asian cuisine of all types, inspired owner.)

Escazu/ Santana:

Taj Mahal (between Escazu and Santana).  Great Indian food.

La Luz (in the Alta Hotel, located between Escazu and Santana).  International.

Monastery (high up in the hills of Escazu).  Tres Expensive, gorgeous view.

Produce C (in Escazu in the shopping district – great microbrew beer and fish dishes).

Bacchus (in Santana).  Italian.

The Muse (located in the Beacon Hotel in Escazu).  French Chef. We haven’t eaten there in quite awhile so … I don’t really know how it is these days.

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