No matter where you’re spending your Costa Rica vacation, you’ll be able to find some sort of nightlife. Costa Rica nightlife is almost as diverse as it’s flora and fauna. With laid-back neighborhood bars, comedy shows at the local theaters, thumping dance clubs, karaoke bars and live reggae nights, Costa Rica nightlife offers something for everyone. You also won’t have look very hard to find live music, festivals or unique events to fill your nights. Whatever kind of nightlife you’re seeking, you’re sure to find it in Costa Rica.
Keep reading to find out more about Costa Rica nightlife all over the country.
San Jose Nightlife:
Although you’ll find exciting nightlife all over the country, the most varied nightlife is in San Jose and the surrounding neighborhoods and suburbs. It’s truly one of the best places for nightlife in Costa Rica, and Central America. For example, in one night you can easily visit a reggae bar with live music, a gastropub with incredible food and wine, a sports bar showing soccer, American football and baseball and a dance club with three floors that’s open until 6am. You can also find many different concerts and shows at the National Theater and stadium.
Concerts and Shows:
The performing arts are alive and well in San Jose. At the National Theater (Teatro Nacional) in downtown San Jose there are often live shows that the whole family can enjoy. The National Symphony Orchestra plays regularly; there are also ballets, comedy shows and plays put on. The new stadium also draws in huge stars on a regular basic. Last year Bruno Mars, Ariana Grande and Luis Miguel all performed there. Cirque du Soleil also put on several shows.
There are hundreds of amazing places to eat all over San Jose. You can find pizza, sushi, chicken wings, Italian food, Chinese food, traditional Costa Rican food, upscale gourmet restaurants and more. The upscale suburb of Escazu has several incredible restaurants, bars and casinos to enjoy. Barrio Escalante, near downtown San Jose, also offers dozens of unique choices for bars, cafes and restaurants. You can find artisanal beer, traditional Mediterranean food, alcoholic ice cream, upscale Italian food and more! For more affordable options, visit the San Pedro/Los Yoses area (close to the University of Costa Rica). There you’ll find many fun bars that offer cheap and delicious Costa Rican food. Order and Imperial and a Chifrijo.
There are three popular bar neighborhoods in San Jose, and all of them are very close to each other. In San Pedro right next to the University of Costa Rica (UCR) is Calle de la Amargura. On Friday and Saturday nights the streets fill up with university students and younger travelers ready to party. There are several different kinds of bars there—dance clubs, karaoke bars, sports bars and even a bar called “The Frat House.” It’s definitely a young and wild crowd. Make sure to keep an eye on your belongings and don’t walk by yourself.
Only a few blocks La Calle de la Amargura is Barrio California. It’s another party scene, but you’ll find less students and more young adults. One poplar bar is called Mercado La California and there you’ll find various food and drink stands. There are also several crowded dance clubs like Bahamas and Antik (open until 6am). In Antik there are three floors, all of which offer a different atmosphere. One floor always plays electronic dance music; one floor has chairs and table for a more relaxed atmosphere; one floor plays poplar hits and Latin music.
Barrio Escalante is within walking distance from La Cali (California). There you can find more upscale gastropubs and unique bars. For example, ManQala has a wide selection of board games for rent; The Beer Factory has several artisanal beers for sale and there’s even an ice cream shop that serves late night alcoholic ice cream sundaes.
Costa Rica Nightlife: Central Pacific
For many years Jaco has been considered the best party towns in Costa Rica. There are many clubs and bars are located in this Central Pacific City. Just 90 minutes from the International Airport in San Jose, Jaco has always been the place to go in Costa Rica for those looking for nightlife on the beach. You’ll find dance clubs, live music and casinos lining the main street. You can enjoy music all night long with DJs that play well into the early morning hours. There are also lots of great restaurants to choose from.
Costa Rica Nightlife: Guanacaste
The Tamarindo Beach area of Guanacaste has grown from the sleepy surf beach to an active hub over the last decade or so. With the addition of the new International Airport in Liberia and the building of many new hotels and resorts, there is now a very active night scene in this area of Guanacaste. Gourmet and casual dining can be found all along the beach, as well as at many of the five-star hotels in the area. While you can still find laid local clubs with live music, there are also some new more upscale options. These cater to an eclectic mix of people including many celebrities that often are visiting the area! You can also find nightlife right in your own hotel or resort. Many hotels have bars and even small dance floors right on the property. Enjoy fresh cocktails and the party scene just steps away from your room!
Costa Rica Nightlife: Caribbean
Costa Rica’s southern Caribbean coast is undoubtedly a more laid back destination. It will not disappoint when it comes to the nightlife! The charming Afro-Caribbean vibe brings a unique flavor to Costa Rica. You’ll find plenty of places with live music right on the beach as well as open-air clubs and bars. There’s plenty of live music and DJs after the sun goes down and reggae music dominates. From Puerto Viejo to Limon you will easily be able to find great dining. Come and find someplace to dance the night away at one of the many local establishments. In October, the entire area is consumed with the week-long Carnival celebration. This lasts well into the evening and seems to become more elaborate and over the top every year. You’re sure to have a great time chilling out to reggae music while you enjoy a plate of rice and beans and cold Imperial.