Connection Hub

The capital city of Costa Rica is located in the Central Valley and is a great place to start or end your visit to this magical land. Stray Cat Hostel is located within 5 minutes of many bus terminals that can take you all across the country and Central America. Also 5 minutes from our front door is the central avenue of San José called Paseo Colón which connects you to the largest park in the city and several pedestrian avenues with many cultural attractions.

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Located near the southern edge of Barrio México, you’ll be situated just between busy urban life and a friendly neighborhood where many families have lived for generations. Within just a couple blocks you can enjoy a lively park, a fresh juice stand, local restaurants with typical food called sodas, pizzerias, convenience stores, and one of the oldest nightclubs in the city called Castro’s. There is something for everyone here!

Don’t forget to head across the street to try a fresh, cold coconut, too. Pura vida!


Five Places to Go in San José, Costa Rica

The city center of San José has transformed into the capital’s premier cultural and restaurant zone.

Apotecario, a bar with a small brewery, is one of the social spots infusing fresh life into San José’s central core.CreditCreditBrett Gundlock for The New York Time

In the last few years, the urban core of San José has undergone a revival. For decades, the city center has felt a bit abandoned and sometimes seedy as well-heeled locals gravitated toward modern suburbs like Escazú and Santa Ana, home to American-style malls and restaurant chains. But lately, expatriates and Costa Ricans have returned home after years abroad, infusing fresh life into neglected 19th-century buildings and old houses in the city center. These recent arrivals have opened creative businesses, including design shops and hostels with co-working spaces, turning a few adjoining neighborhoods east of the Parque Central into the city’s premier cultural and restaurant zone.

This bar with a small brewery, now two years old, specializes in brewing its own tropical varieties of Belgian sour beers, as well as other beers and kombucha. There’s a light menu of local charcuterie and other pub fare, in addition to a lineup of live jazz and blues several nights a week.

Calle 31 at Avenida 9, Barrio Escalante;

Bebedero, a chic speakeasy and raw bar, opened in late 2017.CreditBrett Gundlock for The New York Times

The Canadian-born mixologist Liz Furlong, who also runs the popular brunch spot Maza Bistro, opened this chic speakeasy and raw bar in late 2017 in the Edificio Steinvorth, a renovated 1907 storehouse that has helped kick off the city center’s revival. Ms. Furlong is known to prod clientele if they’re looking for something sweet, bitter, boozy or refreshing, then customizes cocktails on the spot, sometimes utilizing rain forest herbs, flowers or fruits, macerating in cacique, the local sugar cane spirit.

Edificio Steinvorth, Local #6, Calle 1 at Avenida 1

Pizza from a wood fire oven at Mercado Escalante, an open-air market built mostly out of recycled shipping containers.CreditBrett Gundlock for The New York Times

Built mostly out of recycled shipping containers, this lively open-air market opened at the end of 2017 in an abandoned parking lot beside the railroad tracks in Barrio Escalante. The market is the creation of José Gonzalez, the chef of the buzzy farm-to-table restaurant Al Mercat, and his partners. The mishmash of stalls features wood-fired pizzas, Costa Rican tacos called gallos and cocktails. There’s also a dog run and children’s play area.

100 meters south of Parque Francia, Barrio Escalante;

A fish caldosa plate is served at Silvestre, a year-old restaurant.CreditBrett Gundlock for The New York Times

Choose a six-course tasting or an a la carte meal sourced from small farmers and artisanal fishermen at this contemporary Costa Rican restaurant that opened one year ago in an elegant house with a plant-filled courtyard in Barrio Amón, a neighborhood full of late 19th- and early 20th-century houses mostly built for coffee barons. Dishes, with no more than a few ingredients, range from colorful (lamb loin spruced up with silvery slivers of sardines and orange squash ribbons) to playful (“cocada de coco con coco en coco,” a caramelized coconut with roasted coconut ice cream served in a coconut half).

Avenida 11 at Calle 3A — 955, Barrio Amón;

Franco is a year-old coffeehouse that has some of San José’s best baristas and coffee sourced from all over Costa Rica.CreditBrett Gundlock for The New York Times

This progressive coffeehouse opened in late 2017 and has some of San José’s best baristas and coffee sourced from top farms all over the country. Learn the difference between coffee varietals like Geisha and Typica, or how dried coffee cherries are turned into tea called cascara. Come early for fresh-baked pastries and biscuit sandwiches.

Avenida 7 #3166, Barrio Escalante

The Art of Travel

We take great pride in providing our guests with delicious breakfast to start the day off right, friendly advice about local life, and connections with real people and places that matter. Our goal is to provide an experience for every traveler that completely satisfies their unique way of exploring local culture, at Stray Cat there is no “one size fits all” hospitality.

The atmosphere at Stray Cat is designed to provide a place to relax and connect between adventures because we know how special it is to plug in and chill out among fellow nomads, trading stories and learning from each other. This is more than a place to sleep, we hope that together we can make it a joyful piece of your favorite adventure.

Our staff is always available for any need you might have and we are eager to provide advice about planning your trip, connections to real local tour guides, or help with anything else.

Inspired By Nature

Everything at Stray Cat is designed to extend your experience in the wild jungle into the relaxing calm of a hostel atmosphere. We think nature knows best, after all, she has quite a few years of experience designing beautiful spaces, and so all of our spaces have been curated with this in mind.

  • Workshops
  • Tours
  • Furniture
  • Amenities
  • Community

Our team is always working to prioritize sustainability whether it comes to social connections, local economic development, or ecologically friendly activities. Check out what workshops we have when you’re in town or maybe offer to host your own! Don’t forget that artists who contribute a performance or piece of work can stay one night for free. If you have something to share, please let us know, it would be an honor to have you participate in the Stray Cat experience.