San José in
Begin with a peek inside the city’s most beautiful building, the 19th-century Teatro Nacional and an espresso at the theater’s atmospheric cafe, before heading into the nearby Museo de Oro Precolombino y Numismática to peruse its trove of pre-Columbian gold treasures.
Take lunch within the city's gastronomic hub Barrio Escalante, either on the terrace of Kalú Café & Food Shop or in a comfy booth at Rávi Gastropub. Wander historic Barrio Amón, with stops at Galería Namu and eÑe, then end your afternoon sampling Costa Rican microbrews at Stiefel or sipping a cocktail at the fabulous Café de los Deseos.
Start your second day in town with a primer on Costa Rican history at the Museo Nacional de Costa Rica, then cross Plaza de la Democracia to the newly relocated and expanded Museo de Jade. After a stroll through the neighboring Mercado Artesanal for handicrafts, head northwest to the Mercado Central to shop for Costa Rican coffee, cigars and cheap snacks.
In the evening, grab dinner at the city's top restaurant, Park Café, then venture east for a drink at the new rooftop bar at Hotel Presidente, en route to catching a local band at either Jazz Café or Mundoloco El Chante.