Lush jungle landscape tapering off at the coast into white sand beaches lapped by turquoise waves and baked in endless sun – this is reason enough to visit, or get lost in, Costa Rica. Travellers do not often wander off the beaches into the cities of Costa Rica, but those in the know are beginning to flock to many of the country’s flourishing cities including capital city of San José to experience the Costa Rica’s increasing urban sophistication.

So what is it about Costa Rica that is suddenly drawing travellers off the beach and to the streets? Costa Rica is home to a rich Latin culture, like many other Central American countries, and with that come a passionate people and a vibrant history. San José in particular is undergoing a modernization that only enhances the beauty and the rich culture. In the centre of San José's lively atmosphere, on the main street of Paseo Colon, is the Hotel Grano d Oro. Hotel Grano de Oro combines all the great modern amenities while preserving the Latin culture of the city.

goldKenneth Lu/Flickr

Surrounding this beautiful Victorian-style mansion turned hotel are some of the most fascinating museums, authentic and flavourful restaurants and entertaining theatres the city has to offer. One of the most interesting museums is the Pre-Columbian Gold Museum, which guides visitors through Costa Rica's history between 500 and 1500. With more than 1,000 artifacts documenting the way of life of local ancient people it is a chance to learn about a piece of history rarely ever discussed in textbooks. If you thirst for a more modern history, Pueblo Antiguo recreates a traditional village giving a unique glimpse on life in Costa Rica between 1880 and 1930 spread over almost five hectares.

hotelCoral Blanche Hummer/Flickr

While the urban activities in San José are enough to keep even the most curious and active explorers busy, just outside the city is a whole other world to explore. San José is uniquely able to combine the energy of the city while situated only a short distance away from the serenity of nature. Outside of the city, avid coffee lovers can tour the scenic Finca Rosa Blanca Coffee Plantation and experience their organic and shade-grown coffee plantations. There is also have an inn for those wanting to rest in nature but still want to be able to wander into the city.

The urban sophistication is not limited to Costa Rica's capital of San José. All over the country there is a boom in culture and technology that complements the overwhelming life and beauty of the natural jungles and beaches.