San José, Costa Rica
History & Heritage

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Our most recommended San José, Costa Rica History & Heritage

San Jose: City Tour by Night

1. San Jose: City Tour by Night

Learn about the rich culture and history of Costa Rica on a guided tour of the city of San Jose by night. Start the tour with pickup from your hotel and travel to La Sabana Park where you will meet your guide. Here, get an overview of the history of Costa Rica's capital city. Learn about the history and current political climate of Costa Rica as you wander through the city with your guide. Stop outside sites of historical interest such as the National Theater, a monument built in 1897 known as "the Jewel of San Jose." See the Costa Rican Gold Museum, several national embassies, the National Stadium, and the University of Costa Rica. At the end of the tour, enjoy a delicious traditional dinner in one of the most fashionable areas of the city.

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San José: Food and Culture Small-Group Night Tour

2. San José: Food and Culture Small-Group Night Tour

Follow an expert local guide and explore San José at night on a small-group, food-themed walking tour. See important cultural sites and feast on a traditional dinner with wine or beer pairings. Get up close and personal with the nightlife in San José, starting with Morazán Park where we will learn post-colonial Costa Rican history. From there, the appreciation for San José’s historical architecture continues, with a walk by the Metallic Building, then on to Spain Park for a fantastic view of the Yellow House (now the Ministry of Foreign Affairs). Continue to the harming Barrio Escalante, one of the oldest residential areas neighborhoods in San José. Nowadays, Barrio Escalante has reinvented itself and is now home to many up-and-coming restaurants and at night is a favorite meeting spot for locals and visitors alike. The evening will end with a contemporary traditional meal with wine or beer tastings at a hip local restaurant that is very popular with locals and offers a sampler of traditional Costa Rican pub fare.

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From San José: Irazú and Turrialba Volcanoes Full-Day Trip

3. From San José: Irazú and Turrialba Volcanoes Full-Day Trip

After getting picked up at your hotel, head to the Irazú Volcano National Park where you can admire and even enter the crater of the highest volcano in the country. You will also be able to experience the unique miniature fauna and flora of Paramo, a tropical dwarf forest nestled in the highlands. Afterward, take the back road to Turrialba Volcano. Here, visit the "Central Town" located at the foot of the volcano. On weekdays, pay a visit to the one-teacher school in the town. Enjoy some time to explore the eerily abandoned town, still filled with farmhouses and buildings. Next, stop for dinner at a family-run grill house for a traditional Costa Rican lunch. Finally, before beginning the drive back to San José visit the Archaeological Site of Guayabo, declared a Civil Engineering World Heritage landmark and the most important milestone of pre-Hispanic culture in the country.

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From San José: Sarchi Souvenir Shopping Private Guided Tour

4. From San José: Sarchi Souvenir Shopping Private Guided Tour

Explore Costa Rican arts and crafts on a private guided tour of the quaint little town of Sarchi. This place is most widely recognized for its decorative oxcarts. Begin your day trip with a hotel pickup in a comfortable air-conditioned ride through the scenic countryside of Costa Rica. Visit the birthplace of Costa Rican oxcart handicrafts, Sarchi. A national symbol of Costa Rica, the oxcart plays a key role in the country’s history. Oxarts were used to transport coffee beans & other goods to markets and ports, and continue to be a part of local celebrations and parades to date. See the ornate and elegantly carved oxcarts in Sarchi. The painting of the ox cart is a Costa Rican tradition that has been passed down from generation to generation. Sarchi is home to the largest and oldest oxcart factory, the Joaquin Chaverri Oxcart Factory was built in 1902. Walk around town to explore dozens of wooden furniture and souvenir stores. These items reflect Costa Rica’s diverse culture and traditions. Stop for a delicious lunch on the way. Shop for authentic souvenirs to take home memories of your trip with you.

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San Jose: Casa Hacienda La Esperanza Coffee Experience

5. San Jose: Casa Hacienda La Esperanza Coffee Experience

Begin your journey with a warm welcome to Casa Hacienda La Esperanza at 8:30 AM, where you will be able to enjoy a selection of pastries with coffee. Then, move on to visit the Ceibo Lookout and experience the vibrant community in the local church. After the church, go to plant your own coffee tree and experience picking coffee. After that, view for yourself the mighty waterfall and benefit from the option to take a swim in the flowing water. Return to La Esperanza and indulge with a delicious, traditional lunch. Next, learn about the production of coffee during a tour at the beneficio and see the roasting of coffee beans. End your day at the cafeteria, where refreshments can be purchased.  

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San Jose: Irazu Volcano Half Day Private Tour

6. San Jose: Irazu Volcano Half Day Private Tour

Start with a pick-up at your hotel and a 1-hour transfer to the summit of the spectacular volcano. See the Crater Principal Lake with its unique greenish yellow coloring caused by rainfall dissolving the minerals along the walls of the crater. It has also been known to change color to rust-red depending on the minerals present. From the top of the summit, it is possible for you to see both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans on a clear day. However, such clear days are rare, and the volcano's summit is usually cloud-covered. Enjoy the beauty of the Orosi Valley and Town and Ujarras Ruins, one of the first churches build in CR back in 1575. See Cachi Lake, with its impressive Hydroelectric Dam. Eat a delicious lunch in a beautiful local restaurant, before descending to the historical city of Cartago. Visit the mysterious ruins of the old Parish and view the beautiful Basilica of the "Virgen de Los Angeles" with rich displays of carvings, statues, and art. Return to your hotel at the end of the day.

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San Jose: Private Bus and Walking Tour with Lunch

7. San Jose: Private Bus and Walking Tour with Lunch

Be picked up at your accommodation at 9:00 AM and begin your tour of the main streets and avenues. Along the way, your guide will provide information on the culture, architecture, and history of the city. See Parque Metropolitano La Sabana, the largest park in the middle of the city. Originally the main international airport for Costa Rica, this park is now a green space located in the heart of the city. Visit key residential areas of San Jose, including those that prominent citizens, a former President, and a Nobel Peace Prize winner called home. While traveling through the residential areas, you’ll listen to narration on the city’s history and iconic places. Drive down Central and Second Avenue and witness how San Jose has transformed from Victorian and Art deco houses to modern buildings and contemporary architecture. Visit a local restaurant for lunch and have a chance to recharge and relax. After lunch, head to Barrio Otoya and Barrio Amon, two of the most traditional neighborhoods in San Jose. The last stop on the tour is the Central Market, which occupies an entire block on Avenida Central.

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What people are saying about San José, Costa Rica

Overall rating

4.1 / 5

based on 38 reviews

I started out with this experience realizing it was going to take some expense and time to get to Aquiares' La Esperanza. I even considered cancelling when I realized this. I am glad I didn't! Well worth the time and expense to get to the location. We arrived in the morning to La Esperanza and we were absolutely awestruck by this home. It's over 100 years old and has been recently updated while keeping all the charm. We enjoyed a light breakfast outside overlooking the volcano and gardens. Then our education of the town, people, company and plantation commenced. At every turn, we were enamored by the people and the educational aspect of the tour. This is what tourism should be all about. We loved it. We were a private group of four of us, and we felt like we received the VIP treatment the entire time. We saw how coffee starts out from seed, learned the educational aspects of the whole process, learned how the plantation operates, visited a national historic monument church located

Informative tour!

Estabon was our guide. He was able to explain a lot of the history of Costa Rica and it's landmarks to us. He also knew a lot about the culture and was able to answer any questions we had. The dinner was wonderful. Every single item they brought took the table was tasty, including the Sangria. It was a great way to get to know the city. The only downside was it was difficult to find the exact location to meet. Perhaps there should be a flag or something.

We had a wonderful time with our guide Eric. He gave us fantastic insights into the cultural and historical background of Costa Rica and the capital. the tour opens your eyes and was one of our highlights during our tour through Panama and Costa Rica. The restaurant is outstanding. It is not the typical and simple tourist food, but very good and refined cuisine.

Eric is a great tour guide ! I had an awesome time and the dinner was amazing! A tour you should definitely do if your visiting San Jose.

We had a very nice afternoon / evening with our guide. The food was very good!