A guide to clubbing in San Jose

photo by reservasdecoche.com on Flickr

Whenever half the population of a country lives in the same city, you can be almost 100% sure that that particular city has more than a few places where you can have fun. Many people need many venues to accommodate them, so obviously San Jose has no shortage when it comes to clubs, pubs and bars open for the night. The Costa Rican capital has a lively student population which single-handedly keeps entire clubs alive, and in general the inhabitants of San Jose are a friendly bunch who like dancing and going out at night. In any case, you won’t have to spend your evening in your hotel room when in this city, and to prove it to you here’s a guide to clubbing in San Jose.

El Cuartel

The main attraction of El Cartel, in addition to the pleasant atmosphere, is the huge drink menu that comprises over 150 selections of alcoholic and nonalcoholic drinks. The music ranges from Latin beats to covers of English language songs with a Costa Rican twist – it’s all very danceable. On Monday nights, the next-door club, La Esquina, pairs up with El Cuartel for a show of live music played by local bands.

El Pueblo

photo by Armando Maynez

El Pueblo is not a nightclubs, but a complex of nightlife entertainment where you can choose from among several bars, clubs, discos and restaurants, arranged to look like a small colonial village. The beauty of the complex is that you can choose your venue according to what type of music you want, and what kind of crowd you’d like to mingle with. One of the best places in El Pueblo is Discotheque Infinito, which features several bars and dancefloors.

San Pedro

San Pedro is the street where the students from the University of Costa Rica (as well as many of the professors) go for a spot of bar hopping. There are many affordable and relaxed clubs and bars in this area, but it might be a good idea to avoid the ones closest to the university, where things sometimes get a bit too rowdy. La Villa is a nice venue for the artistic and bohemian crowd, where you can dance as well as have deep conversations about the nature of art.


photo by Arturo Sotillo

If you like to dance the night away on the beats of electro and techno music, then Vertigo is the first place you should visit. Although from the outside it doesn’t look like much, Vertigo definitely deserves its place in a guide to clubbing in San Jose. The club has a huge dancefloor, delicious drink mixes and even a VIP area.


You can’t visit San Jose without dancing salsa, or at least watching on as the locals dance like there’s no tomorrow. The hottest salsa club in town is Tobogan, but other Latin dances like cumbia or merengue are also making feet move. Don’t worry if you can’t dance, because there will always be someone at El Tobogan who will offer to teach you a few moves.

Leave a Reply