Pick up La Nación on Thursday for listings (in Spanish) of the coming week’s attractions. The free publication GAM Cultural (www.gamcultural.com) and the website San José Volando (www.sanjosevolando.com) are also helpful guides to nightlife and cultural events.


Many cinemas show recent Hollywood films with Spanish subtitles and an English soundtrack. Occasionally, films are dubbed over in Spanish (doblado or hablado en español) rather than subtitled; ask before buying a ticket. Movie tickets cost about US$4 to US$5, and generally Wednesday is cheaper. Check newspaper listings or individual theater websites for schedules.

There are bigger multiplexes in Los Yoses and San Pedro, while the most modern theaters are in Escazú.

Live Music

The best spots to see live, local music in San José are El Lobo Estepario, Mundoloco El Chante and El Sótano. Internationally renowned DJs frequently appear at Club Vertigo and 8ctavo Rooftop.


There is a wide variety of theatrical options in San José, including some in English. Local newspapers list current shows. Most theaters are not very large, so performances tend to sell out; get tickets as early as possible.


Gamblers will find casinos in several of the larger hotels. Most of these are fairly casual, but in the nicer spots it's advisable to ditch T-shirts in favor of a button-down shirt as there may be a dress code. Gents: be advised that casinos are frequented by prostitutes, so be wary if you’re suddenly the most desirable person in the room.


Bullfighting is traditional and fights are held seasonally in the southern suburb of Zapote over the Christmas period. Members of the public, who are often drunk at such events, are encouraged to participate in the action. The bull isn’t killed in the Costa Rican version of the sport; however, many bulls are taunted, kicked and otherwise injured as a result of the fights, and animal welfare groups are keen to see the fights stopped.