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Costa Rica Tours > Travel Guide > Nightlife > Nightlife in Downtown San Jose, Costa Rica

Nightlife in Downtown San Jose, Costa Rica
In a Nightclub

Nightlife in Downtown San Jose, Costa Rica

Most of the world-famous nightlife in San Jose, capital of Costa Rica, unfolds in the downtown area often called Gringo Gulch.


The following travel guide covers San Jose in greater detail than others we have seen.


This part of town, extending south from Parque Morazan to Avenida 2 and from Calle 9 to Calle 6, is frequented by ladies affectionately know the world over as working girls.

Nightlife in Downtown San Jose, Costa Rica

The country has become a highly popular travel destination for fun in the city. This overview reveals do and don't for such entertainment, if that's your cup of tea.


The best known nightlife scene in town for single fishermen is at the Blue Marlin Bar at the Hotel del Rey on Avenida 1.The best times to hang out are 8 PM and later. But there is often a lively afternoon crowd. (Rooms and restaurant are both overpriced, as are the drinks, and management seems to go out of their way to extract as much money as possible from their clients).


Kitty-corner from the del Rey, the Horseshoe is a two-story affair with Texas Hold'em Poker as well as tute, 21 and other games.


A half-block away down the hill, the New York Bar is more popular with expatriate North Americans than tourists. Weekends see the biggest crowds here, with best hours from 10 PM and on.


The Colonial, next door to the Blue Marlin, has all the gaming action you could want. The decor is reminiscent of Havana in the 50's. The food, though pricey, is better than at the Hotel del Rey.


The newest drinking spot is an Irish pub

It's a block east of the Horseshoe.

Cabbies will steer you to several nearby places that are worth checking out. Club Idem, open from 6 PM until midnight, is the most gringo-friendly.


VIPS #1 is mainly a Tico joint with very cheap prices, though the "ambiance" is as Third World as you can get. You definitely don't want to walk through this neighborhood after dark.


A five-minute drive to El Pueblo leads to a batch of discos, bars and some very good dining spots. See El Pueblo

Places to Avoid, and Other Tips

Stay away from any place that calls itself a night club. These are clip joints that rejoice in running up your tab faster than an Olympics sprinter. There are a few on the west and south sides of town, but none in Gringo Gulch.


Clubs we advise avoiding include Lipstick, Alcasar, Kamur, Elite and Hollywood.


Travel with a buddy or in a group. Don't carry more cash than you need when you go out, and leave credit cards and jewelry in your room's safe. Stay alert (and relatively sober) when walking at night, even along brightly lit streets in front of major hotels such as the Holiday Inn.



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