Welcome to San José
Chances are San José wasn't the top destination on your list when you started planning your Costa Rica trip, but give this city a chance and you just might be pleasantly surprised. It's true that Chepe – as San José is affectionately known – doesn't make a great first impression, with its unremarkable concrete structures and honking traffic, but it's well worth digging deeper to discover the city's charms.Take your... Read More
Top experiences in San José
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San José activities
Costa Rica Day Trip from San Jose
Enjoy a drive by luxury air-conditioned coach from San Jose to begin your exciting Costa Rica adventure. Start your full-day trip with a complimentary breakfast and cup of authentic, delicious Costa Rican coffee. Embark on an exhilarating mountain hike with your local guide and enjoy the gorgeous scenery before making your way to Doka Estate, a 350-acre (141-hectare) coffee plantation. Tour the impressive estate and admire the surrounding rolling hills. Next, escape into a world of tropical wildlife and scenery at La Paz Waterfall Gardens. Journey through the Hummingbird Garden and admire colorful butterflies at the Butterfly Observatory – one of the largest in the world! Enjoy a picturesque riverside hike through the rainforest before indulging in a delicious lunch with your group. Then, sit back and relax on a scenic drive back to San Jose.
Arenal Volcano and Baldi Hot Springs Day Trip from San Jose
Combine adrenaline and relaxation as you view Arenal Volcano and soak in Baldi Hot Springs on this rejuvenating day trip from San Jose! Your expert local guide will pick you up at your hotel and take you to Arenal Volcano National Park. En route to La Fortuna, stop for approximately 30 minutes in the artisan town of Sarchi, where you’ll have an opportunity to admire the colorful oxcarts or shop for souvenirs. When you reach the park, experience the thundering Arenal Volcano from a safe viewing area. Since a major eruption in 1968, this stratovolcano has been one of the most active in Costa Rica, with mild and nearly continuous explosive activity from the conical crater, whose summit reaches an elevation of 5,436 feet (1,657 meters). As you watch for any lava flows, clouds of smoke or ash, your guide will share information about the park’s thermal features. After your thrilling show, enjoy a complimentary lunch at the Arenal Volcano Inn Resort or La Perla Restaurant. Spend your afternoon soaking in the region’s rejuvenating thermal baths and mineral pools at Baldi Hot Springs Hotel and Spa. This family-friendly spa consists of several therapeutic pools of varying temperature, allowing people of all ages to steep in relaxation. Later, enjoy a gourmet dinner under the stars at the hot springs and continue admiring one of the world's most active volcanoes!
Sarapiqui River Sightseeing Cruise and Zipline Canopy Tour from San Jose
After pickup from your San Jose hotel in the morning, begin your 1.5-hour journey to Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui with your naturalist guide and pass through one of the most famous national parks in Costa Rica.Once you arrive, discover Costa Rica's beautiful tropical wildlife on a riverboat trip. Enjoy views of the magnificent rainforest on a 2-hour boat ride along the water, and look out for forest inhabitants such as toucans, monkeys, sloths, crocodiles and more!Arrive at the private reserve, where you’ll have the choice to horseback ride or hike up to the canopy. After receiving a safety briefing from your naturalist guide, embark on your canopy adventure. Using a special system of steel cables and professional climbing gear, you’ll roam through the treetops and leap from platform to platform in the tropical rainforest. No experience required for this unique experience! After an adrenaline-packed two hours, enjoy a home-style lunch at the private reserve before relaxing on a scenic drive back to San Jose.
Poas Volcano, Doka Coffee Estate and Sarchi Arts and Craft
Situated in the middle of Poas Volcano National Park (Parque Nacional Volcán Poás) is the still-smoking and gurgling Poas Volcano. This majestic and imposing crater, which stands at an elevation of 8,900 feet (2,713 meters), allows you to enjoy a magnificent view of the park’s 16,000 acres (6,474 hectares) and the central valley beyond. Your guide will take you to a lookout platform near the edge of the 950-foot-deep (290-meter-deep) main volcanic crater, which remains active with small geyser and lava eruptions. After watching the fumarole activity, head to Botos Lake to see the beautiful green lake that now fills the inactive Botos crater.After the steamy sights of Poas Volcano National Park, visit the Doka Estate, located in the coffee capital of Costa Rica. You’ll be guided through all the stages of making some of Costa Rica’s best quality coffee at this estate where coffee production has been passed down in the Vargas Ruiz family for more than 70 years. As you tour the roasting plant, learn about the ideal climate and rich soil of the fertile volcanic slopes that cultivate the grains. You will have the opportunity to closely observe and understand how a first-choice bean turns into a fabulous cup of coffee.After lunch at a local restaurant, continue to the town of Sarchi, the artisan center of Costa Rica. The charming town boasts more than 200 shops and family-operated factories that produce a variety of wooden goods. Don’t miss out on the construction and elaborate painting of the carretas, oxcarts traditionally used to carry coffee down from the highlands.
Tortuguero National Park
Meet your guide upon pickup from your San Jose hotel and stop for breakfast at Rancho Roberto's in Guapiles. After your meal, you'll travel through the Braulio Carrillo National Park, one of Costa Rica’s largest national parks. Pass numerous rivers, waterfalls and mountains covered in dense forests on your drive, until you reach a banana plantation. Here, board a boat and set sail for Tortuguero National Park. Since there are no roads to the park from Tortuguero village, access to the vast network of freshwater lagoons and creeks is by boat. Ride for approximately one hour to reach the canals and keep an eye out for all kind of birds in the lush vegetation along the way.Tortuguero, meaning ‘turtle catcher,’ formed from an archipelago of volcanic islands where high rainfall eventually created the bio-diverse wetlands – great for nature lovers! During your 3-hour boat tour of Tortuguero National Park, your expert guide will be on hand to teach you about the history and wildlife as you cruise between the marshy isles. Midday, you’ll have time for a lunch break at Evergreen Lodge, located just five minutes by boat from the entrance to the park. Under the high ceilings of the lovely main dining room, enjoy the ambiance that complements the surrounding jungle landscape.Get an up-close look at the park's great variety of flora and fauna as you ride among the canals. If you’re lucky, you might spot such wildlife as the spectacled caiman, southern river otter and possibly even the endangered West Indian manatee. The park is also home to sloths, howler and capuchin monkeys, tiny frogs and green iguanas.The secluded, black-sand beaches of Tortuguero National Park are some of the most important breeding grounds for the green sea turtle. These ancient reptiles once neared extinction as adults were hunted for their meat and their eggs were taken. You'll get the chance to see the sites where the green sea turtles nest and learn from your guide about the park’s efforts to protect this important species.After exploring the national park, enjoy a return 1-hour boat ride to dry land and then board your coach for the trip back to San Jose, where you’ll be dropped off at your hotel in the evening.
Irazu Volcano, Orosi Valley and Lankester
See the best of Costa Rica on this full-day tour from San Jose. Travel by luxury, air-conditioned coach and visit the city of Cartago at the foot of the Irazu Volcano. Home to the Basilica of Los Angeles (Basilica de Nuestra Semora de Los Angeles), this area is the focal point for pilgrims throughout Central America. Inside, find an exquisite collection of small gold and silver images of human body parts, a holy offering in hope of healing.Next, discover the Irazu Volcano. Rising 11,000 feet (3.4 km) above sea level, Irazu is the highest volcano in Costa Rica! You will be amazed at the impressive grey earth surrounding the crater, stretching half a mile wide and resembling the moon’s surface.Descend the mountain and arrive at the historic and colorful Orosi Valley. Here, visit one of the oldest churches in Costa Rica, the colonial church of Orosi, and discover its rich history. Then, head to Lankester and explore the sunning botanical gardens before enjoying a relaxing drive back to your San Jose hotel.