San José is the lively capital and biggest city in Costa Rica, with an international atmosphere and a warm and welcoming population.
Throughout the city, you will find an eclectic mix of older colorful colonial and Victorian style houses and neoclassical buildings amongst the city’s more modern developments. The San José locals are known for being friendly and welcoming, more so than locals of other big capital cities. San José is known as being relatively safe in comparison with other big Latin American cities.
San José is surrounded by three active volcanoes: the Poas, Irazú and Turrialba. Getting out of the city and visiting one of these volcanoes and their surrounding national parks is a popular way to spend a weekend. You can also visit one of the many coffee plantations which lie just outside of the city, where you can sample some delicious Costa Rican coffee.
However, those who want to stay in the city, will not be disappointed. Despite its first impressions as a big busy city, San José is full of interesting cultural sites including many galleries, theaters and museums including the National Museum of Costa Rica which is housed in a beautiful building known as the Bellavista Fortress of the Museum of Contemporary Art and Design, where you will find art from Central American and international artists. The nightlife will keep you going all night long, with many restaurants, bars and clubs.
San José is an interesting city to take a language course, and as such there are many Spanish language schools based here. The friendly population, warm climate and attractive natural landscapes nearby make it a popular destination. When you learn Spanish in Costa Rica, you will most likely pick up some of the local slang expressions known as ‘Tiquismos’, but a course here will form a good base for and Spanish language education.