Best San Jose Day Tours & Activities

Costa Rica’s capital city of San Jose and the surrounding Central Valley has the biggest urban developments of Costa Rica. This destination offers a variety of metropolitan activities and cultural experiences with adventurous thrills well within reach. Here, you will find many important museums and cultural centers such as the Pre-Columbian Gold Museum and the National Theater.

Located in the center of the country, this area is known of its cool, “spring” climate and fertile soils.  Visitors arriving at the Juan Santa Maria International Airport (SJO) can use San Jose’s privileged location as a hub to access the natural wonders of Costa Rica. Head east to the Pacuare River and enjoy the best rafting tours of the country. Or, travel less than 2 hours to visit one of the most popular family attractions, the La Paz Waterfall Gardens Nature Park. The variety of day tours also include visits to coffee plantations and great hikes to volcanoes and national parks.

Doka Coffee Plantation & La Paz Waterfall Gardens 

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La Paz Waterfall Gardens

Start by visiting a Costa Rican trademark, Doka Coffee Estate – an authentic Costa Rican coffee plantation. Enjoy a delicious typical breakfast and create some of the best coffee in the world from start to finish. Then, sample!

Later continue to La Paz Waterfall Gardens. Leisure explore and enjoy waterfalls, rainforest, hummingbirds, butterflies, orchids, and tropical flowers. Finish with a tasty lunch before returning to your San Jose hotel.

  • Minimum Age: 3 years
  • Duration: full day
  • Difficulty Level: easy
  • Includes: transfers, guide, entrance, breakfast and lunch
  • What to Bring: hat, jacket, walking shoes, camera
  • Tour Type: active, nature, cultural

Finca Rosa Blanca Coffee Plantation Tour

Best-San-Jose-Day-Tours-ActivitiesFinca Rosa Blanca Coffee Plantation has over 30 acres of hard bean Costa Rican coffee. Learn how organic coffee is grown, harvested, dried, and processed. During the harvest season – from October to January – you can even participate in the picking! Go through the steps in coffee preparation. Learn how the experts test and rate gourmet coffee. Check out the coffee bar and practice making e a few of your own java favorites. Finally, relax on the spacious deck. Enjoy views of the volcano and the taste of fresh pastries. *This tour is exclusively for guests staying at Finca Rosa Blanca Inn.

  • Duration: 2 ½ hours
  • Difficulty Level: easy
  • Includes: transfers, guide and entrance.
  • What to Bring: camera, comfortable shoes or sandals, sunscreen and a hat
  • Tour Type: cultural, family, food

Cultural Highlands Tour

Knowledgeable guides will take you on a journey through the colonial towns of Barva and Heredia. The famous mask makers of Barva still create their art for the community festivals and the giant puppets that dance through the streets. Visit the Iglesia of San Bartolome, which was completed in 1575.  Next up is Heredia, the provincial capital that was founded in 1706.  The Spanish colonial-style landmarks include the main cathedral, El Fortin, the Guard Tower, and the Casa de la Cultura.  The sights and smells of the bustling Central Market are always fun to check out.  On the way back, stop at the Museo de Cultura Popular to see a recreation of Spanish colonial Costa Rica in a century-old farmhouse. *This tour is exclusively for guests staying at Finca Rosa Blanca Inn.

  • Duration: 3 – 4 hours
  • Difficulty Level: easy
  • Includes: transfers, guide, and entrance.
  • What to Bring: camera, comfortable shoes or sandals, sunscreen and a hat
  • Tour Type: cultural, family

Irazu Volcano, Orosi Valley, & Lankester Gardens

Best-San-Jose-Day-Tours-Activities

Start your tour on the Panamerican Highway, a winding road that travels through cultivated fields.  As you wind upward, on a clear day you’ll get a view of both the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans. Upon your descent, explore the Virgin of the Angels Basilica in Cartago before heading on to the Lankester Gardens, a University of Costa Rica center. Here you’ll get to see 800 species of orchids, bromeliads, and hundreds of other plant species. Continue on to Orosi Valley to visit one of the few remaining colonial churches before stopping for lunch at a local restaurant. During your tour, you will be able to observe La Casa Del Donador, a wonderful example of Costa Rican Primitive Art.

  • Minimum Age: 3 years
  • Duration: 8 hours
  • Difficulty Level: moderate
  • Includes: transfers, guide, entrance and lunch.
  • What to Bring: rain jacket, comfortable shoes, light coat and camera
  • Tour Type: nature, active

Rainforest Adventure 3 in 1 Tour

Best-San-Jose-Costa-Rica-Tours-Activities

Aerial Tram

This morning, drive through the rainforest of Braulio Carrillo National Park, one of the most important reserves in Costa Rica. A relaxing cruise down the Sarapiqui River is the perfect opportunity to sit back, relax, and keep a keen eye out for wildlife! After this experience, hike through Selva Verde’s private trails, a heavenly experience for nature enthusiasts. After a delectable lunch, you’ll get to try out the famous Rainforest Aerial Tram and get a bird’s eye view of this eco-tourist and research park.

  • Minimum Age: 3 years
  • Duration: full day
  • Difficulty Level: moderate
  • Includes: transfers, guide, entrance, and lunch
  • What to Bring: hat, sunscreen, comfortable clothes and shoes, camera and bug repellent
  • Tour Type: nature, wildlife, active

Pacuare Whitewater Rafting Day Tour: Class III-IV

Best San Jose Day Tours & Activities

After being picked up early this morning at your hotel, enjoy a private and comfortable bus ride to the Operations Center where you can enjoy a delicious Costa Rican breakfast. After breakfast you will be driven to the put-in point on the Pacuare River. You’ll be given a complete safety and paddling talk before embarking on an adventure into the heart of one of  Costa Rica’s most impressive rainforests. Venture through the rainforest gorges, spot rushing waterfalls, and experience the adrenaline-rush of pounding rapids. Late this afternoon, head to your hotel.

  • Minimum Age: 14 years
  • Duration: full day
  • Difficulty Level: moderate to high
  • Includes: transfers, guide, rafting equipment, breakfast and lunch.
  • What to Bring: secure shoes, fast drying clothing and bathing suit, change of clothes for after the rafting portion, sunscreen, glasses strap and towel.
  • Tour Type: adventure, active

Pacuare River Whitewater Rafting Multi Day Trips

Best San Jose Day Tours & Activities

Spend two days enjoying adrenaline-packed Pacuare River rapids on one of the top whitewater rafting rivers in the world, plus a night at the award-winning Rios Tropicales Lodge or the Pacuare Lodge! Amid a 1,000-acre private reserve, this model of ecotourism depends on a hydro-powered generator system. Time at the lodge can be spent hiking, trying out the on-site zipline, or soaking in hidden waterfalls. If you’re looking for something more tranquil, relax on a hammock next to the river! Other activities include waterfall rappelling, horseback riding, and a hike to the Bajo Tigre community, where locals will talk about their sustainable farming and environmental responsibility. Experience a side of the Pacuare few people know!

  • Minimum Age: 14 years
  • Duration: 2 full days
  • Difficulty Level: moderate to high
  • Includes: transfers, guide, rafting equipment, meals for 2 days and 1 night lodging at the Rios Tropicales Lodge.
  • What to Bring: secure shoes, fast drying clothing and bathing suit, change of clothes for after the rafting portion, sunscreen, glasses strap and towel.
  • Tour Type: adventure, active

*Baggage maximum weight limit 25lbs per person. H22’’/ W8 ‘’/ L 6’.

Doka, Grecia & Sarchi Oxcart Factories

Best-San-Jose-Day-Tours-Activities

Start with a visit to Doka Estate Coffee Plantation, learn about the history and process of coffee and sugar and its significance to the Costa Rican economy. Next, visit the town of Grecia. Take a walk around the park, and its famous metal Catholic church, showcasing its classical architecture. On your last stop, immerse in the local culture at Sarchi, admire the beautiful oxcart designs at one of the main oxcart factories in the country. Enjoy a traditional Costa Rican lunch before returning to your hotel.

  • Minimum Age: 3 years
  • Duration: 6 hours
  • Difficulty Level: easy
  • Includes: transfers, guide, entrance and lunch
  • What to Bring: hat, comfortable tennis shoes, camera and rain jacket
  • Tour Type: cultural

San Jose City Tour

Best-San-Jose-Day-Tours-Activities

Today you will visit the main landmarks and historical sites of the capital city of San Jose. Start with a visit to modern educational centers. Your next stop is the impressive Pre-Columbian Gold Museum located underground. The Gold Museum’s collection includes artifacts from the different tribes that once dominated the different parts of Costa Rica. Next, you will take a guide visit through the National Theater. On your way back to your hotel you will have the chance to shop for arts and crafts at a local souvenir store.

  • Minimum Age: 3 years
  • Duration: 5-6 hours
  • Difficulty Level: easy
  • Includes: transfers, guide and entrance to the National Theater and Gold Museum.
  • What to Bring: camera and comfortable shoes
  • Tour Type: cultural

Arenal Volcano & Tabacon Hot Springs

Best-San-Jose-Day-Tours-Activities

This morning you will head north to the Arenal Volcano area. Drive through the central mountain range and the northern region farms. Arrive at La Fortuna for a delicious lunch. Located near the base of the impressive Arenal Volcano, this small town enjoys amazing views. Get your camera ready for a perfect postcard picture!

Next stop, you will soak and relax in all natural volcanic-fed hot spring at Tabacon, considered the best in the region. Here you will enjoy a full dinner before your return drive to San Jose.

  • Minimum Age: 3 years
  • Duration: full day
  • Difficulty Level: easy
  • Includes: transfers, guide, entrance, lunch and dinner
  • What to Bring: sandals, towel, extra change of clothes, bathing suit, sunscreen, camera and bug repellent
  • Tour Type: relaxation, sightseeing

 

San Luis Hanging Bridges

Best-San-Jose-Day-Tours-Activities

This is a great way to learn about the different ecosystems of the tropics from the forest canopy. Start at the humming bird garden and continue for a walk through 6 hanging bridges ranging from 95 – 250 ft. long (about 1.2 miles total). Your guide will point out the different species of animals and the diverse plants that inhabit the microclimates of the primary and secondary rainforest. At the end of the tail, you will have the opportunity to stop at the butterfly farm located inside the San Luis Adventure Park.

  • Minimum Age: 3
  • Duration: 6 – 7 hours
  • Difficulty Level: easy
  • Includes: transfers, guide, equipment, entrance and lunch
  • What to Bring: comfortable clothing, rain jacket, closed toe shoes, sunscreen, camera, hat and bug repellent
  • Tour Type: nature, active
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