San José is the capital and largest city of Costa Rica. The undisputed cultural and economic center of Costa Rica's central valley, where most of the population lives, San José is also the most important transportation hub for domestic travel even though the international airport is in Alajuela.
Many international visitors bypass San José altogether or spend only the time it takes to change from one bus to another, but its museums, cultural output and the opportunity to meet the "real Costa Rica" make it well worth staying a few days.
San José is on a plateau in the Central Valley. It is ringed by lush green mountains and valleys. The main downtown area is a bustling collection of well-laid out streets filled with bustling traffic and lined with eclectic, historic architecture.