From chilled out bars on the beach to clubs featuring world class DJs in San Jose, Costa Rica offers up a huge variety of nightlife activity. Most people go out on Fridays and Saturdays, but there are exceptions when the club or bar hosts a discount night, or especially popular, a ladies night. Costa Ricans love to party!
For example, Monday nights in San Jose, Cuartel de la Boca del Monte is a hot spot. Ladies nights are always guaranteed to be popular because ladies get in for free and are treated to free drinks. Monday night at Casino Fiesta in Alajuela and Wednesday night at the Backyard Bar in Playa Hermosa are always packed with party-goers. Times vary. Some bars and clubs offer discounted drinks and entrance fees for showing up before 9pm, but the crowd usually doesn’t come out in full until 10 or 11. Closing time varies a lot, too. Some places close around midnight while others stay open until 2am, 4am, or very rarely until dawn.
In Costa Rica, the climate of the city you are in and the type of bar or club you are going to will dictate your nightly attire. In the hot and humid coastal towns, you will see tourists relaxing at the beach bars in flip flops, tank tops, and shorts, or even bathing suits from their day on the beach. In San Jose and most of the Central Valley, it gets a lot colder at night, so you will want to put on more clothes. Plus the atmosphere of the bar and clubs are more sophisticated, lending to more formal attire than flip flops and bathing suits. To fit in with the locals in any town, you will want to dress a lot sharper with a nice top or dress, nice jeans or skirt, and shoes or high heels. Some clubs require a dress code: usually no hats, no shorts, no tank tops (for men), no pants with holes, and/or no tennis shoes. This is mainly in San Jose where you will find the majority of the upscale bars and clubs. Costa Ricans mainly go out with groups of friends. The exception is ladies night when a large majority of people go out on their own. The other exception is when Ticos go out with their families to Fiestas Patronales. Costa Ricans dress in their cowboy best and go to these festivals with their families where they enjoy a tope (horse parade) during the day, and toros (Costa Rica’s bull-friendly version of bull fighting), delicious food, games, rides, and a variety of lively Latino music and dancing during the night.