The capital and largest city of Costa Rica, San José is the cultural, economic, and transportation hub of the country. It’s also a great place for tourists, with myriad museums, parks, and other attractions to explore and enjoy. If you’re ready to discover the center of Costa Rica, read on. But let’s first discover why San José travel medical insurance or travel insurance is so important.

Travel Medical Insurance for Travelers visiting San José – FAQs

While San José is undoubtedly one of the safest cities to visit in Central America, all locations have risks; and sometimes, those risks are things you bring upon yourself. You get in a hurry, step wrong, or eat something you perhaps shouldn’t have, and you’re suddenly in a doctor’s office or hospital bed. You can get excellent healthcare in San José, but the question is how to pay for it. The answer? Travel medical insurance.

Do I need travel medical insurance for San José?

There isn’t a legal requirement that mandates you to buy travel medical insurance before visiting San José or any other part of Costa Rica. That mandate ended in 2022. But you should still absolutely purchase insurance.

There’s no guarantee that your domestic health insurance will be accepted in San José, and private hospitals and clinics can be very expensive. Without valid insurance coverage, any unexpected medical treatment will be something you’ll have to pay for out of your own pocket. This could potentially cost you tens of thousands of dollars. If you aren’t comfortable shouldering that financial burden yourself, buy travel medical insurance.

Why buy travel medical insurance before visiting San José?

There’s no way you can guarantee that you won’t get sick or injured while visiting San José. You’re just as likely to have a medical problem abroad as you are at home. The difference is your regular health insurance won’t cover you here. You need a way to get the best available care for a price you can afford. Travel medical insurance can provide the coverage you need. 

Trip Cancellation Insurance for Travelers visiting San José – FAQs

Everyone has to cancel plans from time to time. Whether it’s dinner with friends or an international trip, it’s disappointing. But traveling abroad can add a whole new level of disappointment if you have to cancel your trip. You could end up being forced to pay for it even if you can’t go. Read on to learn how trip cancellation insurance can help.

Why should I get trip cancellation insurance before traveling to San José?

Let’s say you get seriously ill or a family emergency pops up right before your long-awaited trip to San José. There’s no way you can travel now, so you have to cancel your plans. The trouble is your airline tickets and hotel reservations are nonrefundable. That’s thousands of dollars down the drain. 

You can avoid this happening to you if you have trip cancellation insurance. It can help you get reimbursed for your nonrefundable, prepaid travel expenses if you have to cancel your trip for a covered reason.

What can be covered by trip cancellation insurance for San José?

In addition to covering trip cancellation, most travel insurance plans can cover other mishaps such as trip interruption, lost luggage, travel delay, and emergency medical care. You can even elect to purchase cancel for any reason travel insurance to give yourself more options for cancellation.

Regardless of what plan you choose, be sure you read the policy certificate so you understand the coverage. Different plans offer different types and levels of coverage, and it pays to be informed.

San José’s Most Popular Activities

Walk Down Avenida Central

This is the perfect place to start your San José adventure. Avenida Central runs right though the heart of the city, and is lined with shops, cafes, and attractions. Plus, this is a pedestrian street, so you don’t have to worry about car traffic. Grab a cup of coffee here and plan your day. You can even take a food and walking tour to get a tasty sample of San José.

Tour Teatro Nacional De Costa Rica

Built in 1867 of imported Italian marble with ornate frescoes, the National Theatre of Costa Rica is a centerpiece attraction of San José. Though the neoclassical architecture is undeniably beautiful from the outside, you really need to step inside its doors to get the full experience, view the theatre’s original statues, and admire historical works of art. You can enjoy a 45-minute tour of the building, or just stop by the theatre’s coffee shop and enjoy the ambiance.

Experience History at Museo Nacional De Costa

Known in English as the National Museum, this is Costa Rica’s premier showcase of history, with everything from pre-Colombian artifacts and famous ancient stone spheres to remnants of the 1948 Civil War. You can even see actual bullet holes in the watchtowers outside the museum. It was originally an army barracks building and was directly involved in the 1948 war.

Shop Mercado Central

Mercado Central is more than just a market; it’s a historical destination. The market has been in operation since 1821, and is one of the best places in San José to shop. Here, you can find souvenirs from a variety of vendors, authentic Costa Rican cuisine to sample, and just about any other ware you can imagine, all at very good prices. 

Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth at Sa Casa Del Cacao

Chocolate is an integral part of Costa Rica’s history, and was once valued as highly as gold. The Costa Rican House of Chocolate is the perfect place to experience this country’s rich (and delicious) relationship with chocolate. Sign up for a workshop and learn a thing or two about chocolate making. And of course, be sure to pick up plenty of the genuine product to enjoy yourself. 

Decompress at the National Park of San José

This isn’t a big park, but it’s green and peaceful; the perfect place to relax and enjoy a cup of coffee, and perhaps some of that chocolate you just picked up. There are shaded walkways and lush trees and shrubs, plus a view of the historic rail line. 

Key Guidelines for Travelers visiting San José

San José is not considered overly dangerous to visit. It’s known as the safest large city in Central America. But despite this, there absolutely are risks, just as in any large city. Follow these guidelines to make you time in San José safe and enjoyable.

Beware of Pickpockets

San José has a relatively low violent crime rate, but opportunistic theft such as bag-snatching and pickpocketing is common. Protect yourself by keeping nonessential valuables locked in your hotel room, avoid wearing expensive jewelry, and keep your cash and cards securely hidden in a money belt instead of your wallet or purse.

Taxi Tips

Taxicabs are the most reliable way to get around San José. You can certainly use rideshare services, but they’re currently banned at the international airport, so their usage is more limited. Just be sure to only take licensed taxis. They can be identified by their red color and the yellow triangle on their doors. They’re known locally as “rojos” due to their color. Unlicensed taxis may be cheaper, but can be unsafe, so it’s not worth the risk. 

Be Mindful About Tap Water

Unlike many locations, the tap water in San José is generally considered safe to drink and wash with so long as you do not have existing digestive issues or a sensitive stomach. However, many tourists elect to err on the safe side and drink bottled water. A cheaper option may be to bring along a portable water filtration device, or a UV water treatment pen to kill any remaining bacteria. 

Utilize Local Knowledge

You can only learn so much about a place from an internet travel guide. The best source of knowledge is the people who live and work in San José. Talk to the staff at your hotel or your tour guide about places to visit and places to avoid. Costa Rica depends a lot on tourism for its economy, so they want to do everything they can to keep guests safe and happy. 

Knowing Some Spanish is Suggested

Costa Rica is a popular destination for English speakers because it has such a large tourism industry, and the majority of employees in that industry speak English. However, if you get outside of tourist areas, the primary language spoken will always be Spanish. It certainly won’t hurt to brush up on your Spanish a bit, and the locals are sure to appreciate the effort.

Before You Visit San José – Do This

  • Keep an eye on the weather forecast – Like all countries in Central America, Costa Rica can be impacted by tropical storms and hurricanes.
  • Buy a money belt – Don’t walk around with cash in your wallet, as pickpockets can be a problem. 
  • Purchase insurance – Compare plans on this website, and buy the best travel medical insurance or travel insurance for your needs.

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You could lose your non-refundable trip costs if you had to cancel your trip.

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