1. Travel Guide
  2. Where to go?
  3. News and Events
  4. Search a destination
  5. Map of destinations
  1. Go to Air France website
  2. My account
  3. My Bookings
  4. Check-in
  5. Contact us
  1. France - French
Click here to add or remove this item from your selection.


There are a number of festivals, holidays and other events celebrated in San José each year. The main ones are listed below.

January 1: New Year's Day (National and local)

The first day of the year is a time of festivities in Costa Rica. In San José the ‘Toros a la Tica' or ‘Zapote Bullfights' are held. In the middle of the traditional arena, the bravest young men of the city engage in a spectacular race of the bulls. Animal lovers can rest assured: the bulls are neither injured nor killed!

April 11: Feast of Juan Santamaria (national)

On this holiday, Costa Rica commemorates its national hero, Juan Santamaria, killed at the Second Battle of Rivas during a national campaign (1856-1857) that pitted the Costa Rican militia against an army of American filibusters. On this day many parades and festivals are held, but there are also celebrations between neighbours, dances in the public squares, and outdoor concerts.

April 9 to 16: Holy Week (National)

From Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday, Costa Rica, a traditionally Catholic country, joins in the celebration of Holy Week. Shops are closed from Holy Thursday to Easter Sunday. The festivities usually take place within the family, but they also occur between believers during processions and masses. Note: the sale of alcohol is prohibited on Holy Thursday and Friday.

May 1: Labour Day (National)

On this holiday, the President of the Republic of Costa Rica gives a speech. It is also an opportunity for workers to organize marches and demonstrations.

July 25: Annexation of Guanacaste (National)

This holiday commemorates the annexation of Guanacaste by Costa Rica in 1824. The majority of the country's cities organise horse shows, folkloric parades, bullfights, or marimba concerts.

August 2: Feast of the Black Madonna (National)

This holiday is dedicated to Our Lady of the Angels, patron saint of Costa Rica. On the night of August 1-2, a pilgrimage walk from San José to Cartago takes place. It attracts devotees from all over Central America. On August 2nd, a mass is given in the square of the Basilica of Cartago, followed by a procession to the church of Carmel.

August 15: Assumption of the Virgin / Mother's Day (National)

On this day, Costa Ricans honour their mothers during the feast of the Assumption. Though the Virgin Mary is particularly celebrated during processions and celebrations, mums are also the objects of attention from relatives and receive flowers and gifts.

September 15: Independence Day (National)

Costa Rica celebrates its independence from Spain (1821). On this occasion, a flame of freedom leaves Guatemala and, over several days, crosses all the Central American countries formerly dominated by Spain. On 14 September, the evening before the official independence day, at 6:00 p.m. sharp, the flame is welcomed in San José in a large torchlight procession. At the same time, the whole country stops to sing the national anthem.

October 12: Festival of Cultures (National)

This day, celebrated throughout Latin America, commemorates the discovery of America by Christopher Columbus as well as the ethnic and cultural diversity of Costa Rica. In San José, in the Isabella the Catholic Park, school children lay wreaths at the feet of the former Queen of Spain.

October 31: Noche de las brujas (national)

In this ‘Night of Witches', the Costa Rican equivalent of the Anglo-Saxon Halloween, children (and adults too) go from house to house, dressed up in scary costumes, to collect candy.

December 25: Christmas (national)

Christmas Eve is a time dear to the hearts of Costa Ricans. Families gather to enjoy traditional dishes tamales and pata de chancho (pork leg). Then they go to the misa del gallo (rooster Mass) between 8 and 9:00 p.m. Gifts brought, it is said, by the baby Jesus in person, are arranged around the children's beds. But no celebratory pine tree in Costa Rica: the Christmas tree is a cypress!

Click here to add or remove this item from your selection.


The climate in San José is tropical, with two seasons: the dry season from December to April and the wet season from May to November. Though temperatures are pleasant all year round, it is preferable to come for a stay in San José during the dry season.

Month Min. Average Temperature (°C/F°) Max. Average Temperature (°C/F°) Average Rains (MM) Best Time to Travel
January 15 25 14 Good period to go Good period to go
February 15 25 5 Good period to go Good period to go
March 16 27 19 Good period to go Good period to go
April 18 27 45 Good period to go Good period to go
May 18 28 228 Not the best period to go
June 18 27 240 Not the best period to go
July 18 26 210 Not the best period to go
August 17 27 240 Not the best period to go
September 17 27 304 Not the best period to go
October 17 26 299 Not the best period to go
November 17 26 144 Not the best period to go
December 15 25 40 Good period to go Good period to go
Click here to add or remove this item from your selection.

San José Juan Santamaria International Airport

The airport is located about 17 kilometres from the centre of San José.

  • 2 terminals:
    • Terminal D
    • Terminal M (Air France)

Getting from the airport to San José and back:
  • By car
    • San José's city centre can be reached in about 20 minutes by the General Canas motorway.
    • Parking is located near the airport exit. Capacity of 400 spaces on two levels. CRC 1,088 for an hour, CRC 19,053 for a day and CRC 108,875 for a week.
    • Several car rental companies have counters in the arrivals hall.
  • Bus
    • City buses stop are located in front of the airport exit and reach the city centre (terminal: Parque de la Merced) in 30 minutes. Tickets can be purchased on board the vehicle for CRC 535 per ticket. Buses run every ten minutes from 5:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., seven days a week.
  • Taxi
    • Taxis are to the left at the airport exit. Two types of taxis are available: the orange taxis, which are officially the only ones with the right to pick up at the airport, and burgundy taxis, which are those of the national company of Costa Rica. To reach the city centre will take about 20 minutes and cost CRC 7,500.


Click here to add or remove this item from your selection.


Getting around by car in San José requires patience and caution. To visit the city centre, nothing beats walking!

By car

Signalling defects, poorly maintained pavement in some neighbourhoods, and chaotic traffic in peak hours can make driving difficult in San José. The car parks are numerous, but can cost up to CRC 1,000 an hour in some neighbourhoods.

By bus

There are several bus lines through the city of San José, but they are difficult to identify because they bear the name of their final destination. They circulate in the city between 5:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m., and their rates depend on the length of the line used (count between CRC 150 and 450 on average). Urban buses are especially handy for access to the nearby towns of San José, such as Alajuela, Cartago, and Heredia.

By bike

In San José as in other large and touristic cities in Costa Rica, it is very easy to rent a city or mountain bike. Count between CRC 6,000 and CRC 12,000 per day. A small number of agencies also organises tours across the region, and even throughout the country.

By taxi

Taxis are everywhere, even in the remotest corners of the capital. The fare is set on the counter: make sure it is on when you board. Count an initial charge of CRC 650 and about CRC 650 per kilometre.

Click here to add or remove this item from your selection.

Visitor information

Once you arrive in San José, don't hesitate to get in touch with tourism professionals for information and help in organising your stay.

Instituto costarricense de turismo

  • Address: Avenida Central, Calle 1/3, Plaza de la Cultura, San José
  • Telephone: +506 2222 1090
  • Website: www.visitcostarica.com/en

Click here to add or remove this item from your selection.

Medical information

See your doctor before you travel. It is also recommended to take out insurance covering medical expenses and repatriation before your trip. San José counts several hospitals and medical institutions, as well as quality medical practitioners and health specialists.


It is recommended to see your doctor before you travel. No vaccinations are required to travel to Costa Rica, but vaccines against tetanus, diphtheria, and hepatitis A are recommended.

Cases of Zika virus have been signalled in Costa Rica. The virus is mainly transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes, as well as unprotected sexual intercourse. Although generally producing mild effects, it may cause severe complications in infants born to mothers infected during their pregnancy. If you are pregnant, it is recommended not to travel to Costa Rica. If you plan to get pregnant, it is recommended to postpone until after your return from Costa Rica, or to delay your trip. For more information, contact the Air France Vaccination Centre:


Food safety recommendations

Good food hygiene practices are recommended to ensure a healthy diet (well-cooked food, well-washed fruits and vegetables before consumption).


Tap water is not safe to drink. Favour bottled mineral water instead.

Click here to add or remove this item from your selection.

Administrative formalities

Entry requirements for Costa Rica

Nationals of many countries such as the USA, Canada, Japan or the countries of the European Union are not required to present a visa to enter the territory of Costa Rica. For more information, visit the website of the Embassy of Costa Rica: www.costarica-embassy.org/index.php?q=node/21

Click here to add or remove this item from your selection.

Useful addresses

To enjoy peace of mind during your stay in San José, visit the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of your country.

Click here to add or remove this item from your selection.

Essential phrases

Here are a few useful phrases in Spanish for your stay in San José:

Hello / Good morning / Good afternoon: ¡ Buenos días ! (morning) / ¡ Buenas tardes ! (afternoon) Hello / Good morning / Good afternoon: <em>¡ Buenos días ! (morning) / ¡ Buenas tardes ! (afternoon)</em>

Good evening: Buenas noches Good evening: <em>Buenas noches</em>

Goodbye: Adiós Goodbye: <em>Adiós</em>

Yes: Yes: <em>Sí</em>

No: No No: <em>No</em>

No, thank you: No, gracias No, thank you: <em>No, gracias</em>

Thank you very much: Muchas gracias Thank you very much: <em>Muchas gracias</em>

Please: Por favor Please: <em>Por favor</em>

I don't understand: No entiendo I don't understand: <em>No entiendo</em>

Could you repeat ?: ¿ Puede repetir ? Could you repeat ?: <em>¿ Puede repetir ?</em>

What time is it ?: ¿ Que hora es ? What time is it ?: <em>¿ Que hora es ?</em>

Sorry: Disculpe (to say sorry)
Excuse me: Con permiso (to get past) / ¡ Por favor ! (to get attention). Sorry: <em>Disculpe (to say sorry)</em><br />
Excuse me: <em>Con permiso (to get past) / ¡ Por favor ! (to get attention).</em>

Airport: Aeropuerto Airport: <em>Aeropuerto</em>

Train station: Estación de trenes Train station: <em>Estación de trenes</em>

Taxi: Taxi Taxi: <em>Taxi</em>

Hotel: Hotel Hotel: <em>Hotel</em>

Hospital: Hospital Hospital: <em>Hospital</em>

Bank: Banco Bank: <em>Banco</em>

Telephone: Teléfono Telephone: <em>Teléfono</em>

I'm (…): Yo soy (…) I'm (…): <em>Yo soy (…)</em>

I'm looking for (…): Estoy buscando (…) I'm looking for (…): <em>Estoy buscando (…)</em>

How much is (…)?: ¿ Cuál es el precio de (…) ? /¿ Cuánto es ? How much is (…)?: <em>¿ Cuál es el precio de (…) ? /¿ Cuánto es ?</em>

Do you have (…)?: ¿ Tiene (…) ? Do you have (…)?: <em>¿ Tiene (…) ?</em>

Where can I find (…)?: ¿ Dónde puedo encontrar (…) ? Where can I find (…)?: <em>¿ Dónde puedo encontrar (…) ?</em>

Where can I buy (…)?: ¿ Dónde puedo comprar (…) ? Where can I buy (…)?: <em>¿ Dónde puedo comprar (…) ?</em>

I'd like (…): Quisiera (…). I'd like (…): <em>Quisiera (…).</em>

Click here to add or remove this item from your selection.

Good to know

+ phone number
-7 : 00
of time difference with
Start of daylight saving time: last Sunday in March

End of day
light saving time: last Sunday in October


Usually open from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Usually open from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
110 V / 50 Hz

Service is not always included in the price: if it isn't, this must be indicated on the menu. So count an extra 10% for service. Tipping is left to your discretion.

Air France reveals...