Central Region

About

Costa Rica is framed by the Caribbean coast to the east and the Pacific to the west.  Everything in between we’re calling the Central Region.
This encompasses the capital San José.  Due to its strategic location and international airport, San José is the ideal place to use as a base to start or end your journey in Costa Rica.  Whilst the city itself is not really worth spending any time in, it has a spectacular setting in the middle of the fertile Central Valley, circled by the jagged silhouettes of soaring mountains on all sides.

We are featuring the following recommendations in Costa Rica’s central region:

There are plenty more excellent lodges, country inns and hotels to choose from here.

For a one night arrival or departure stop-over in San José itself, we would recommend somewhere like Grano de Oro with its rooftop sun deck (with two jacuzzis) and its excellent restaurant.

Useful information

Flight times

Flying time from London:  15 hours

Currency

Currency:  Colón. Notes can be withdrawn from the many ATMs using a UK credit or debit card. There’s at least one in most main towns. You may have to authorise your bank first, and withdrawals may be limited to amounts lower than in the UK. US dollars cash can be exchanged in banks too. US dollars themselves are widely accepted.

Time difference

GMT -5 hours

Visa requirements

No requirement if your stay is less than 3 months as a British citizen

Weather

Despite its small size, Costa Rica has a number of distinct microclimates. The Caribbean coast is humid all year round with the driest months being September and October; wildlife lovers, however, might prefer to visit this region from July to August to watch nesting turtles. The rest of the country experiences a dry season from December to April, when there is plenty of sun and temperatures are high, and a rainy season from May to November. However, this is not a hard-and-fast rule for all regions: for example, the rainy season starts a month earlier in the south Pacific, while the northern areas, including the Guanacaste coast, are not as affected by the seasons and are generally much drier. The highlands and cloud forests have warm temperatures during the day but the high altitude means evenings are much cooler.

When to travel

Where to stay

restaurant courtyard at hotel grano de oro costa rica

Occupying a converted turn-of-the-century mansion in Costa Rica's capital, San Jose, the charming Grano de Oro is set on a quiet, tree-lined street just off...

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Sharing from: £278
swimming pool at lost iguana hotel costa rica

Set amidst 120 acres of pristine rainforest that's home to the most fascinating biodiversity, Lost Iguana Resort & Spa is the perfect base for both...

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Sharing from: £329
ultra plus villa living space at xandari resort and spa costa rica

A delightful hotel with colourful villas set amongst 40 acres of tropical gardens, with a charming spa, delectable Costa Rican cuisine and sensational views over...

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Sharing from: £285
aerial view of finca rosa blanca resort costa rica

Finca Rosa Blanca is a quirky boutique country inn located in the Central Valley of Costa Rica near San Jose, with commanding views of volcanoes,...

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Scenery and huts at El Silencio Lodge Costa Rica

El Silencio Lodge & Spa is an eco-lodge set amongst 500 acres of private rainforest just over an hour from San Jose in Bajos del...

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Sharing from: £774
springs villa with private plunge pool at arenal nayara hotel costa rica

An elegant hotel surrounded by lush tropical forest with unbeatable views of one of the world's most picturesque volcanoes, Arenal. Arenal Nayara has a wonderful...

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Sharing from: £675
Linda Vista Villas Pacuare Lodge Costa Rica

Pacuare Lodge is a luxurious nature and adventure lover's paradise hidden away in the heart of Costa Rica's most pristine jungle. Best accessed by white...

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Sharing from: £2172
canopy walkway at nayara springs hotel costa rica

Voted No.1 resort in Central & South America by Conde Nast Traveller Readers' 2015, Nayara Springs is an adults-only luxury tropical hideaway with just 16...

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Sharing from: £389

Experiences in central-region

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