San José has plenty of quality hotel rooms, and prices are often reasonable. Wi-fi is usually included, but breakfast is not. Unless you’re especially hardy, You’ll want somewhere with hot water from December to March. Wherever in Costa Rica's colourful capital you’re heading, read on for the best hotels in San Jose, for every taste and budget.
The hotels in the city centre are convenient, although often noisy. Not far from downtown are quieter areas such as Paseo Colón, Los Yoses and barrios Amón and Otoya. Here you’ll find more expensive hotels, many in old colonial homes.
To the west of the city is Escazú where you’ll find more pricey B&Bs. East of the city but closer to the centre than Escazú is studenty San Pedro. The area has better connections to downtown and a more cosmopolitan atmosphere.
Best places to stay in Central San José
Central San José is the cultural and commercial heart of Costa Rica's capital city. It features historic landmarks, bustling markets, and a vibrant nightlife.
These are the best options, carefully selected by our writers and local experts.
Best for vibrant surroundings: Casa 69
Location: C 25 bis, 69 Barrio
Painted in summer yellows, covered in art and filled with tropical flowers, this divine little guesthouse is as radiant as a toucan’s beak. Each room is individually styled. There’s a cute dining room, plus plenty of shady balconies. It’s the perfect place to soak up the joy of being in Costa Rica.
Best hidden gem: Casa León
Location: Av 6, C 13/15
One of the best hotels in San Jose and a true hidden gem as well! This Swiss-run small guesthouse has brightly painted dorms. There are basic, but colourful private rooms with a spotlessly clean shared bathroom and kitchen (free coffee). There is laundry service and luggage storage. The house is a little hard to find. Look for it next to the train tracks and tell your taxi driver it’s in a calle sin salida (cul-de-sac).
Best for historical surroundings: Costa Rica Guesthouse
Location: C 21 y 25, Av 6
This guesthouse is in a pleasantly restored, and very central, century-old colonial villa. The 25 rooms are clean and simple with wooden floors and furnishings. Breakfast is served in a lovely, leafy courtyard garden. Free tea and coffee.
Best for budget travel: Hostel Casa del Parque
Location: C 19, Av 1/3
With a serene location adjacent to Parque Nacional, this small, family-run hostel is easily one of the city’s better budget choices. The dorm has ten full-size beds and there are six private rooms (some with private bathrooms). All are clean and comfortable and decorated with subtle style. The friendly staff can book tours and the common areas are smarter than you’d expect for this price bracket.
Best for downtown opulence: Hotel Presidente
Location: Av Central, at C 7
This plush, immaculate hotel is smack in the middle of downtown. There are over ninety rooms. Each is tastefully decorated with lots of rough brick walls and gritty wooden beams giving something of an industrial feel to the place. All rooms have cable TV, a/c and safe and some have a jacuzzi. There’s a spa on-site, as well as a gym and a forested roof top garden. Breakfast included.
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Best places to stay in Barrios Amón, Otoya and Aranjuez
Barrios Amón, Otoya, and Aranjuez are three adjacent neighborhoods located in the northeastern part of San Jose. These barrios are characterized by their beautiful historic homes, many of which have been restored and converted into boutique hotels, restaurants, and galleries. Some of the best hotels in San Jose are located here.
Best for eco-initiatives: Aranjuez
Location: C 19, Av 11/13
In quiet Barrio Aranjuez yet still close to the centre, with 36 stylish rooms set in five interconnected houses dating from the 1930s. Relax in the pretty, squirrel-filled garden around the back. Here, organic waste from the hotel is used as fertiliser. They serve a great buffet breakfast (included in the rate) and can arrange tours around the country. The rooms either have a shared or private bathroom. All have cable TV. Be sure to reserve ahead.
Best for sunny, personalised rooms: Hotel Dunn Inn
Location: Av 11, at C 5
This attractive and inviting hotel in Barrio Amón has 28 sunny rooms of various sizes. All are adorned with custom furnishings and have cable TV. There’s a pretty restaurant and bar on-site. The staff have a wealth of local information.
Best for a high end, boutique stay: Santo Tomás
Location: Av 7, C 3/5
In quiet, elegant Barrio Amón, near downtown, this American-owned hotel is one of San José’s best boutique options. It occupies an old mansion awash in soft lighting and decorated with burnished wood and Persian rugs. The twenty rooms vary widely in size, character and price. All have cable TV. There’s a small swimming pool, a hot tub, an excellent open-air restaurant and a travel service. Breakfast included.
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Best places to stay west of San Jose’s centre
There are plenty of hotels in San Jose, west of the cities centre. It's a prefect place to stay if you are looking for a quiter stay, not for from the centre.
These are the best options.
Best for swimming pool fans: Cacts
Location: C 28/30, at Av 3 bis; 2221 6546 or 2928
Cacts has 25 rooms, all with ceiling fans (deluxe rooms also have TV). All but four have private bathrooms. There’s a tropical garden, swimming pool, jacuzzi and sunny roof terrace. On the terrace you can enjoy the complimentary breakfast buffet of fresh fruits and baked goods. The friendly owners run a travel agency and can book tours and make reservations.
Best for budget stays and well-priced tours: Gaudy’s Backpackers Hostel
Location: Av 5, C 36/38; 2248 0086
This popular hostel has clean and very comfy dorms. There are decent hot showers and a kitchen, laundry and a shuttle to/from the airport. Breakfast included, and well-priced tours offered.
Best for deluxe rooms with private gardens: Grano de Oro
Location: C 30, Av 2/4
You’ll find Grano de Oro in a quiet location, housed in an elegant turn-of-the-twentieth-century mansion. Its tasteful en suites have been decorated in a faux-Victorian style. There are wrought-iron beds and wood-beamed ceilings, plus all mod cons. Several of the deluxe rooms even come with their own private gardens. There’s a rooftop sun-terrace featuring a pair of jacuzzis. There are also lush, fountain-filled gardens, and one of the city’s top restaurants. Service is on point, too.
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Best places to stay in San Pedro
San Pedro is a bustling district located east of San Jose's city centre. It is home to many universities, restaurants, shops, and cultural venues, making it a popular destination for locals and visitors alike.
These are the best options.
Best for socialising with fellow backpackers: Hostel Bekuo
Location: Av 8, C 39/41
A great place to meet fellow travellers, this is one of the city’s best hostels. There are clean dorms, plus a few private doubles (some with private bathrooms). Facilities include a fully equipped kitchen, pool table, darts, cable TV in the common lounge. Enjoy unlimited free calls to the US and Canada and shared computers. Rates include breakfast of pancakes, fresh fruit and toast.
Best affordable, popular hostel: TripOn Open House
Location: C 39, at Av 15 (Barrio Escalante)
This justly popular hostel is in a quiet residential area. Attractively decorated dorms feature hardwood bunks. There’s a spotless kitchen and pool table. A wholesome breakfast of cereal, toast and fresh fruits is included.
Best places to stay in Escazú
If you are looking for hotels in San Jose, Escazú is a great pick. It's an upscale suburb located southwest of San Jose. It features high-end shopping malls, fine dining restaurants, and luxurious residential areas, making it a popular destination for affluent locals and expats.
These are the best options.
Best for gorgeous en-suite bedrooms: Casa de las Tías
Location: San Rafael de Escazú, southeast of EI Cruce Shopping Centre; take the east turn by the Restaurante Cerutti
Set on a garden estate (home of a former Costa Rican Labour Minister), this quiet, friendly B&B has just five gorgeous, en-suite rooms (with hot water). Each is individually decorated. Breakfast is included.
Best welcoming B&B: Costa Verde Inn
Location: On an unmarked side street off Av 32
This exceedingly friendly and airy B&B has large, nicely appointed rooms. There’s a small pool, jacuzzi, leafy garden and an open dining area. The helpful staff can arrange numerous tours.
Best for Spanish colonial style surroundings: Posada El Quijote
Location: 800m south of El Cruce Shopping Centre, just east of Chango’s restaurant
A renovated, tranquil inn with spacious rooms adorned in Spanish colonial style. The rooms are comfortably furnished. Rooms have their own bathrooms, plus hot water and cable TV. Breakfast (included) is served in the lovely garden.
If you prefer to plan and book your trip to Costa Rica without any effort and hassle, use the expertise of our local travel specialists to make sure your trip will be just like you dream it to be.
Top image: Hotel Presidente, San Jose © Hotel Presidente
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