San José lies in a wide, rich valley and has an excellent climate. Few of its older buildings have survived the centuries, as earth tremors are fairly frequent, so modern high-rises rub shoulders with faded 19th century buildings.
Our preferred accommodation
City hotel - HerediaA lovely hotel on the edge of San José with vast gardens and views across the city. It is not far from the international airport and an excellent base for excursions within the Central Valley.
Country hotel - HerediaA lovely boutique hotel with an abundance of character, just 20 minutes from San José airport. There is a pretty pool overlooking the valley and coffee plantations, a hot tub and tropical gardens. It has a good restaurant with indoor and outdoor sitting areas, a bar and small spa.
City hotel - San JoséA beautifully furnished and friendly hotel, formally a town mansion in a quiet area of downtown San José. It has a wonderful restaurant, and a roof-top terrace with two hot tubs.
Country hotel - AlajuelaA colourful hotel beside a coffee plantation, with stunning views of the valley and yet only half an hour from San José airport. There are two swimming pools and walks to five natural waterfalls. There is a spa, large sitting area and lovely gardens.