San Ramon is a beautiful place surrounding by rolling hills, a small town with almost no tourists but full of friendly people.
This is the place that we call home and we’ve decided to create a San Ramon, Costa Rica travel guide.
So if you want a slow pace place with very welcoming people and a place to discover the local culture, here are all that you need to know about “Moncho” (how locals called the town).
Located one hour away from San José (well to be realistic add one hour of traffic to leave San José). The good news the airport is in Alajuela (not in San Jose as everyone thinks) from Alajuela to San Ramon, it’s about 40 minutes away.
We are in the middle of the country, 2 hours from La Fortuna (Arenal Volcano), 1 hour from Puntarenas (Pacific Side / beach).
It’s a very convenient city for travelers because it’s located in the middle of the country and not many people are aware of it.
Since it’s a conception in 1843, San Ramón has grown from a village to a laid-back city of 87,000 (Censo Nacional, 2011) people comfortably nested in Costa Rica’s coffee-growing Central Valley.
The name comes from the XIX century when Ramón Solís and Ramón Rodríguez placed the newly erected village under the protection of their patron saint, San Ramón; a name which was conserved until the canton was constituted, and the village became a town in 1856.
The relative isolation of the city helped foster a unique sense of culture that Ramonenses are very proud of.
With the reputation as the “city of presidents and poets”, San Ramón began this cultural revolution in 1870 when a young Julián Volio Llorente was exiled to the city for his political ideas.
Also names like Julio Acosta García, José Figueres Ferrer and Francisco José Orlich Bolmarcich, born in San Ramón Costa Rica. They are recognized as the most cultured men that leaded important events for our country politics.
Getting there and away
Here is some information about the distance from San Ramon to different destinations in Costa Rica. So you can have an idea of driving time as well:
- San Jose (downtown): 70 Kilometers (44 miles) – 1 hour and 20 min (with moderate morning traffic)
- Juan Santamaría International Airport (SJO): 45 Kilometers (28 miles) – 45 minutes
- Arenal Volcano in La Fortuna: 75 Kilometers (46 miles) – 1 hour and 45 minutes
- Puntarenas (where you take the ferry to Montezuma): 54 Kilometers (34 miles) – 1 hour
- Monteverde: 88 Kilometers (55 miles) – 2 hours
- Liberia Airport, Guanacaste: 171 Kilometers (106 miles) – 2,5/ 3 hours
San Ramon Weather
San Ramon Costa Rica has a mixture of different “microclimates” and different temperatures during the day.
We get usually around average temperature all year round is between 70-80 degrees Fahrenheit (21-26 Celsius).
During dry-season (Jan-Apr) is not more than 32 Celsius, some mornings are “hot” but usually cool down in the afternoon.
Our rainy season the days are sunny in the mornings and rainy in the afternoon. Chilly at nights!
Also, our grandparents remember that San Ramon weather used to be very misty and foggy.
Local culture and traditions
San Ramon can give the sense to some tourists that there is not much to see around. However, for people that are looking to connect with Costa Rican culture, it’s the perfect place to get that local taste.
People are very welcoming with foreigners, not by coincidence there is a growing community of expats that are approximately 500 foreigners living in the area.
Also, there are some people that come to study abroad since we have a campus of the University of Costa Rica… and a lot of volunteers organizations has picked San Ramon as their operation based as well.
Those facts, tell us that there are several reasons to visit besides the location, but for sure one of the main reason is that here you can get connect with locals and learn from Costa Rican culture.
Here you will see the other Costa Rica the Spanish-speaking with beautiful centuries-old traditions.
Things to do in San Ramon
Well, if you decided to give a try to San Ramon and stay for couple of nights the surrounded areas has some places to explore.
If you find yourself tight with time and want to visit the Cloud Forest, you don’t need to go all the way to Monteverde. San Ramon has a Cloud Forest that actually connects with the Monteverde one and you will find the same species from there including the Quetzal.
Check these ideas to explore in the area:
- Cloud forest & Danta Waterfall: Located in La Paz, a rural area 40 minutes away from downtown. You will find a beautiful mountains scenery. Inside of those mountains there is a lot of fun: hiking through the cloud forest in muddy trails, chasing a waterfall hidden in the heart of the mountains. Recommended for hikers and explorers!
Danta waterfall in San Ramon, Costa Rica
- Self-Guided City Tour at San Ramon Costa Rica: If you want to learn more about culture and history our town has 2 museums and a lot history, you can see the central market also and near the park there are several options to have an ice cream and enjoy it in the bench of the park like locals do.
- Traditional Sugar cane process: If you like sweet stuff this place is for you. Learn more about this traditional process and where you can taste products made from sugarcane.
- Coffee Tour in an organic farm: A unique place that even George Clooney has been here believe it or not. A local family that has a passion not only for coffee also for a sustainable lifestyle where companies like Nespresso sell their coffee. They will welcome you like no other coffee tour in Costa Rica because they will be opening literally the doors of their house.
We have visited the community of Bajo La Paz since 2010.
This community is located 25 minutes away from downtown and definitely, this is the best spot to watching many birds and other animals.
However, bird watchers and nature photography lovers should visit this community of San Ramon during the months of February through June/July.
During those months you will be able to see birds like the Resplendent Quetzal and Three-Wattled Bellbird.
Sleep and eating
Where to stay?
You will find some AirB&B in the area, also from hostels, Bed and Breakfast up to a sustainable Boutique Hotel.
Here is a list of ideas that if we have to recommend to a friend we feel comfortable doing it:
- Hostel La Sabana: Owned by a “gringo-tico” family their service is great and is not like the uncomfortable bunk beds that most hostel are famous of. They have private rooms and common kitchen. Price range: $10 – $40 at night
- Hotel La Posada: Located in downtown, a family business that has grown and has what is necessary for a family or couple to stay. Price range: $50 – $90 at night
- Villa Blanca Hotel: 40 minutes away from downtown this place is good to get disconnected from the world and be surrounded just by nature in the beautiful cloudforest. It’s not close to downtown but if you are going to La Fortuna is a good option. Price range: $200 – $350 at night
- Eco-residencias: It’s a new option in downtown where they follow more the concept of a wellness center with small condos with private bathroom and common areas.
- Homestays: Well if you want to step out the traditional hosting. We know several families that are happy to welcome people since Ligia used to work with them in the volunteer organization that she used to work.
Where to eat?
The restaurants’ scene in town is growing, not a lot of variety to be honest for an international taste or foreign delicacies but for sure you will find something.
Some here again are some ideas for places that you can go that we have taken our friends and we had a good experience:
- Aromas – For coffee time and fast food
- Delicias del Mar – Seafood
- Merak – Fusion style
- October 29 Gastro Bar – Best tapas and pizza along with sangria!
- and our favorite and most typical an authentic place Soda Doña Flory
Some others tips
- We recommended spending the first or last night in Costa Rica if you are looking to avoid the traffic in San José. Also could be an option for people that are traveling to La Fortuna (Arenal) to stop and do some of the activities.
- If you need to exchange money there is several banks and ATM.
- If you want to go for some drinks at night San Ramon has near the park an area with bars.
- If you are lucky and are here on a Friday (12 MD – 8 PM) or Saturday morning (7AM – 12MD). Go to the “Farmers Market” local vegetables, fruits, flowers, and food LOCAL, FRESH, DELICIOUS FOOD. Try the tortillas and the sugar cane juice!
- For backpackers, there are buses that go from San Ramon to Puntarenas or La Fortuna directly. Also, people that are going to Guanacaste or Monteverde can take also from “La Pista” (a little bus stop in the highway).
San Ramon, Costa Rica summary:
We consider that San Ramon is Explore Tikizia base since we live here.
So we would love those people come and visit our hometown and see beautiful landscapes, numerous lush green coffee farms and why not the ocean views from the mountains.
If you want to give a chance to the other Costa Rica you can click here for more planning advice to help you organize your itinerary.
When considering where to spend your first/last night write down San Ramon, Costa Rica at the top of your list!