San Jose is the seat of government, and the most important city in Costa Rica. It’s a city which brings in thousands of tourists each year. Before you make your trip to the Tico capital, let’s take a look at these facts about Costa Rica and the capital city. They’ll help you prepare for your trip and learn about what you can expect from this high-altitude urban sanctuary.
The majority of Ticos live outside the city centre in the suburbs. Yet despite its low population density, more than a million people travel through the city centre each day. This is in a country with just 4.5 million permanent residents, plus many tourists. This makes it commercially the most important part of the country.
The favourite food of San Jose is Gallo Pinto. You’ll see practically every restaurant serving what is now the official national dish of Costa Rica. It’s a mixture of fried rice and black beans. Lots of working Ticos will have little lunchboxes carrying a dish of Gallo Pinto inside. It’s a relatively cheap dish which is readily accessible.
San Jose is technically in the middle of a tropical rainforest. Go outside the city for a few miles and you’ll soon encounter trees, humidity, and all those animals you’d expect to find in Costa Rica’s rainforests.
It actually rains in San Jose for about 170 days each year. The high altitude of the city means it isn’t as hot as you would expect. In the winter time (or the rainy season as they call it) you might even have to put a jacket on (which is a big stretch for anyone in this country).
The City Without an Airport
The San Jose International Airport is where the majority of travellers fly in. Yet so many of them are shocked to find the city of San Jose doesn’t have an airport. The airport is actually 45 minutes away from the city in a town called Alajuela. To save on costs, consider staying in Alajuela instead of staying in San Jose. Accommodation is much cheaper and more welcoming for tourists.
The reason why San Jose lends its name to this airport is simply because the difficult terrain of the city makes it impossible to build a huge international airport here. By building it a short distance away they can retain the benefits of having air travel links without making it seem as if San Jose is in the middle of nowhere.
Latin American Crime
Another of the interesting facts about Costa Rica is San Jose is one of the safest cities in Central America. The government has clamped down hard on crime with huge security budgets and a complete equipment overhaul for the police force. So rest assured, when you visit us at Shaka you're in for a safe stay.