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Party, Drink and Dance at Costa Rica's Best Night Clubs



 Disco balls and DIs light up the dance floor in Costa Rica, where some of the world's finest international talents may be found spinning beats or playing a live set. In the capital city of San José, a dress code is usually enforced, so ditch the jeans for a night at Club Twister at El Pueblo, a hacienda-style string of more than a hundred establishments under a red tiled roof. A diverse set of DJs spin everything danceable under the sun at Club Vertigo. On the other side of the city, Miraflores Disco Club has been the place to dance for more than forty years; its doors are only open after 9pm and on weekends- dance to the beats of two different DJs until the sun comes up in picturesque Heredia. For live music, the Jazz Cafe in Escazu boasts an impressive roster of international performers in a hip new venue. On the Caribbean coast, wear your flip-flops for taking in Puerto Viejo de Limon's most happening nightlife. Drink up happy hour cocktails at the Cafe Mango, find fellow night birds on the dance floor at Johnny's Place, and practice your ping-pong game at the Lazy Mon at Stanford's, where two for one tequila shots at happy hour and live jams on Sundays are highlights.


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Located downtown in the building that was formerly the nation's National Library, Risas reflects history and tradition on its walls and a modern ambience that permeate the clubs three floors, each filled with energy and excitement, some more low key than others. The top floor houses a disco that's generally filled to capacity with a young, trendy crowd gyrating to the sounds of salsa and Latin music. A slight cover also buys a couple drinks or a tequila. For a more intimate location than the dance floor, opt for a seat at one of the multiple bars. Burger and snacks are available from the bar as are beer, liquor and cocktails.

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The Lazy Mon at Stanford's
Photo courtesy of Sophia LaMonica


If you've made it to Puerto Viejo, you must visit The Lazy Mon at Stanford's, day or night, before you leave town, and in which case, you may decide to extend your stay. The Lazy Mon is a casual beachfront- as in you can go for a dip in between drinks- bar with a laid-back nightlife that's inviting to all walks of life. Live music is on Sundays and whenever local reggae and calypso bands pass through town, and otherwise there's plenty to look at if ping pong's not your cup of tea. Two for one cocktails at happy hour are a nice way to spend the sunset, and if you stay, you never know what kind of harmless trouble you may get yourself into, but it's all in the name of la pura vida.

Recommended for Night Clubs because: Good vibes and good music makes for good times at this local favorite.

Sophia's expert tip: Live music at sunset on Sundays, Lazy Mon at Stanford's is the place to be.

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One of Puerto Viejo's most popular spots to party after dark, Cafe Mango, formerly called the Sunset Bar, has maintained its old-school vibe and infused new life into this open-to-the- ocean-front beach shack. Inexpensive drink specials such as $1 Tequila and Guaro shots, rotating DJs, and free cocktail hours for ladies have kept Cafe Mango on the local nightlife map. This is a fun and very casual place to have a few drinks, mingle with locals and tourists, and dance. Flip flops are de riguer, costumes are encouraged, and pretentions don't exist at Cafe Mango; expect to make friends and have fun, if not fall in love.

Recommended for Night Clubs because: Live music and DJs make Mango Sunset lots of fun.

Sophia's expert tip: Be on the lookout for Mango Sunset's Ladies Night drink specials.

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El Cuartel de la Boca del Monte


What was once a modest establishment for artsy types has become one of San Jose's trendiest spots for all walks of life, especially the young and hip set, who flock to El Cuartel de la Boca del Monte for the scene, the bar, and the live music, which is on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. One section of the old Costa Rican style house that was remodeled back in 1985 has been fashioned into its own little bar, called La Esquina, which is a nice place to tuck into an appetizer like green plantain ceviche or the Cuartel salad, and sip on one of the 200+ cocktails on the menu.

Recommended for Night Clubs because: Excellent cuisine and an upscale dance club are highlights of this historical establishment.

Sophia's expert tip: Don't forget the dress code, El Cuartel de la Boca del Monte is a hip place to see and be seen, and jeans and flip flops will not be tolerated. Get there early to nab a seat at the little bar, La Esquina.

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This is the second- but no less popular- location of the Jazz Cafe, the first is across town in San Pedro, San Jose. The newer Jazz Cafe was opened in 2009 and carries on the tradition of presenting high quality shows, consistent restaurant quality and a relaxing atmosphere- in addition to a lively bar scene. Performances by well-known international artists has turned the Jazz Cafe into an active part of the international jazz circuit; past artists have included Mike Stern, Julien Lourau, Diego Urcola, Dennis Chambers, Frank Gambale, Steve Smith, and Scott Henderson, to name a few. You'll find tourists, expats, Costa Ricans, and an international crowd at the Jazz Cafe, so it's a nice place to socialize with musically like-minded folks in the city.

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Johnny's Place
Photo courtesy of Sophia LaMonica


Johnny's Place is Puerto Viejo's longstanding, landmark dance club, and has been the place to sway, bump, and grind for more than a decade. The digs are the epitome of non-descript, and by day it's hard to imagine the scene that unfolds in the beachfront establishment after dark. Johnny's Place is right next to Puerto Viejo's little police station, but that doesn't stop it from being a hot spot of debauchery. Roots, reggae, and dancehall beats make for good times, decent drink prices keep the party hopping into the wee hours. Sometimes there are special acts, like fire dancers, performing on the sand.

Recommended for Night Clubs because: Snag a table on the sand and watch the lights twinkle on the water before you step inside and and sway to the music.

Sophia's expert tip: Look for special live performances with a bonfire on the beach.

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Miraflores Disco Club has been the hottest spot to dance and party in the rolling green suburb of Heredia for more than forty years. A short ride from the capital city of San Jose, this legendary dance club is open on the weekends from Friday to Sunday, from 9pm to 6am. Hi-tech lasers, plasma screens, and state of the art sound system enhance the experience, and two DJs spinning dancable electronic and Latin mixes keep everyone at Miraflores Disco Club on his toes. Two bars serve drinks all night, and a newly installed kitchen means you can satisfy cravings for a midnight snack and have breakfast on your way out.

Recommended for Night Clubs because: Dancing and DJs until sunrise at 6am, and a restaurant that serves breakfast.

Sophia's expert tip: Ladies Night once a week (usually Wednesdays) means females get in free from 9pm to 12pm.

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Club Vertigo will have your head spinning and your feet moving in no time. With expansive dance floor and high ceilings, Vertigo is the ultimate party spot in San Jos�. This popular dance club features special events throughout the year with skilled DJs spinning the hottest house, techno, and hip hop music. Although it's located in San Jose's business district, Vertigo's modern rave atmosphere makes for an out of this world party experience. As one of the leading clubs in Central America, Club Vertigo has hosted some of the best parties with the world's top DJs and has recently undergone a major makeover including a brand new state-of-the-art sound system.

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Club Twister


For a serious dose of dancing and nightlife head to Club Twister, where the DJs really know how to keep things live by mixing it up with an ever upbeat line up of hot contemporary Latin and international music. A large dance floor draws trendy locals and plenty of tourists and the bartenders keep a steady rhythm of drinks flowing 'til the wee hours of dawn. Club Twister lies at the heart of El Pueblo, known for its intense conglomeration of more than 100 bars, clubs and restaurants under distinct red tile roofs and Colonial-style architecture, few minutes north of downtown.

Recommended for Night Clubs because: Smack dab in the center of El Pueblo, Club Twister is a sure bet for nonstop nightlife.

Sophia's expert tip: Skip straight to Club Twister for the most fun dancing at El Pueblo.

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El Pueblo is one of those quintessential Costa Rican tourist destinations that fits many attractions under one red adobe roof; there are restuarants, shops, and dance clubs within this Spanish Colonial style complex, and any time of day or night there is bound to be some hustle and bustle, and the crowd is mixed. Young and old, Tico and tourist come to El Pueblo to dine, dance, and shop for souvenirs of Costa Rica. It's not until after 10pm that the dance clubs really get started, and then there is a wide variety of music to choose from, and sometimes live DJs.

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Meet Sophia LaMonica

On Sophia's first trip to Costa Rica, she came face to face with white-faced monkeys, gasped at the sight of giant purple crabs, and rode horseback through plunging waterfalls. Costa Rica...  More About Sophia

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