Getting Around San José
San José, during the day, is a fairly walkable city. Downtown has a number of walkable pedestrian boulevards and sights to see in a fairly small radius. Many homestays, especially in the Zapote neighborhood, are located within walking distance to the university and various restaurants and cafes. The city is fairly hilly, so get ready for a good workout. It is important to remember when navigating San José, that Costa Ricans do not use addresses as we know them in the United States. Locations are known by landmarks and by distance to that place from various landmarks. So be prepared to locate places based on this. To learn more about different ways to navigate San José please read the descriptions below.
Types of Transportation
-Be aware of independent drivers, called Piratas, who may offer you a ride. All official taxis in San José are orange/red and have a yellow triangle on the side.
-Some taxi drivers, realizing that you are not a local, will try to overcharge you (just as with anywhere in the world). It is easy to avoid this. All official taxis should have a meter inside, called a "maría". When you get in, simply ask the taxi driver "¿Tiene maría?" o "¿puede poner la maría?", and he will turn on the meter, which will calculate a correct and fair charge for your trip.
-Before you get into the cab, you should tell the driver where you want to go to make sure they know how to get there.
-If you find a taxi driver that you like, ask for his card. The next time you need a taxi, call ahead and request him/her.
-If at any time you feel unsafe in a taxi do not hesitate to ask the driver to stop, pay him, and then get out of the taxi.