A bustling metropolis, the city of San Jose has grown much since its founding nearly 300 years ago. A sprawling urban jungle, San Jose is now divided into many barrios or neighborhoods. As you head around 2 km east out of Downtown San Jose
, you will come across the three main residential suburbs of Los Yoses, Barrio Dent, and San Pedro. Well-to-do areas, these neighborhoods offer more quiet surroundings and a better quality of life. This part of San Jose also attracts a huge number of young people, mainly because the University of Costa Rica lies in San Pedro. The nightlife here is very active especially for those under 30, and the environs are also much safer compared to downtown.
Situated on the eastern end of the city, San Pedro is one of the most popular neighborhoods of San Jose. Attracting a number of young people because of the presence of the largest public university in the country, this area has a different feel to it when compared to the other neighborhoods in the area. A more youthful part of town, there are a number of good restaurants and bars surrounding the university campus as well as several affordable hotels. The bar scene here is probably the best in the city as you can mingle with freely Ticos’, thus you will find a lot of tourists here as well. San Pedro sits just 10 minutes from downtown San Jose
and has one of the first and most popular malls in the city, the Mall San Pedro.
The quiet residential district of Los Yoses has a number of foreign embassies and diplomatic enclaves in its vicinity. An upper-middle-class area, it is the most upscale part of Eastern San Jose. Situated very close to downtown it takes only 5 to 10 minutes to get here by taxi or bus. The hotels in the area are also quite economical, with several small bed and breakfast options on hand. This part of the city is a great place to reside in, if you wish to avoid the noise, yet stay close to the heart of downtown.
Barrio California & Barrio Dent
Essentially residential areas, both these neighborhoods have a number of old beautiful homes that have been converted into restaurants and language schools. With quite a few Spanish learning institutes in these areas, you will find plenty of tourists and expats in Barrio California and Barrio Dent. Students both young and old mostly come to these areas to learn Spanish or brush up on their vocabulary. Most of the language learning institutes here offer between 3 and 5 hours a day of intensive Spanish study with home stay options. This way you can live with a host family who provide you with a room and daily meals, while you learn the language and immerse yourself in the Tico culture.