San José, Costa Rica
Photography Tours

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Our most recommended San José, Costa Rica Photography Tours

Poás Volcano, Coffee Plantation & La Paz Waterfall Gardens

1. Poás Volcano, Coffee Plantation & La Paz Waterfall Gardens

Experience Costa Rica's nature and culture on this full-day tour San José. Your first destination is the Doka Estate coffee plantation, where you'll learn all about the ancient techniques of producing some of the best coffee in Costa Rica and around the world. Experience the careful process involved in the cultivation, harvesting and roasting of the Golden Bean before tasting the delectable product. After your coffee tour, continue to Poás Volcano National Park, where there is a noticeable change in temperature and beautiful scenery in a cloud forest. Climb up Poás Volcano, an active stratovolcano that most recently erupted in 2017. The crater of the volcano is over a mile across and 1,050 feet deep, making for breathtaking views. Hike on a trail to the beautiful Botos Lagoon as you learn about the different ecosystems in the park. Then, continue to La Paz Waterfall Gardens and enjoy a buffet lunch of traditional Costa Rican dishes. After lunch, explore the lush tropical rainforest. See the flowing white rivers, spectacular waterfalls, birds, butterflies, monkeys, and hummingbirds before returning to San José.

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San Jose: Guided Nature Walk With Biologists Seeking Sloths

2. San Jose: Guided Nature Walk With Biologists Seeking Sloths

Departing from the nearby meeting point, visit the University of Costa Rica campus, home to some of the largest patches of forest in San Jose. Guided by young biologists, discover the nature hiding in the middle of Costa Rica's largest city. Experience wildlife you wouldn't have imagined existed minutes away from downtown.   On the first stop, you’ll look for resident and migratory birds, lots of incredible insects and amazing flowers. Then, see the largest indigenous stone sphere in San Jose, thought to derive from the extinct Diquis culture. Lastly, visit the main campus to seek out the friendly sloths climbing freely. The goal of this tour is to change the way tourism is done in Costa Rica, while supporting young scientists, researchers, and local entrepreneurs.

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From San Jose: 3-Day Tortuguero National Park Excursion

3. From San Jose: 3-Day Tortuguero National Park Excursion

Explore the protected Tortuguero National Park in the Limón Province, reachable only by airplane or boat. Take in the wealth of biodiversity in its eleven different habitats, including rainforest, mangrove forests, swamps, beaches, and lagoons. Trip itinerary: Day 1: After an early morning hotel pickup, admire the biodiversity of a primary forest through the window as you drive past Braulio Carrillo National Park. Sample a delicious Costa Rican breakfast during the drive. Mid-morning, board a comfortable boat and travel along the Tortuguero Canals. Be enchanted by the surrounding paradise and its varied flora and fauna. Then, enjoy a refreshing cocktail and a delicious lunch at the hotel. After lunch, tour the canals and take incredible photos for the rest of the afternoon. Arrive at Pachira Lodge (or similar) for a delightful dinner and a restful night's sleep. Day 2: Discover the flavors of Costa Rica with breakfast at the Lodge. Then, hike along the Lodge's private trail and work up an appetite for lunch. After lunch at the Lodge, visit the Sea Turtle Museum, the beach, and the picturesque village of Tortuguero. In the evening, enjoy dinner at the Lodge again. Day 3: After breakfast at the Lodge, head back to San José, stopping for lunch at El Ceibo in Guápiles on the way. Arrive back in San José in the afternoon.

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San Jose: City Tour by Night

4. 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 Jose: Arenal Hanging Bridges & Baldi Hot Springs Tour

5. San Jose: Arenal Hanging Bridges & Baldi Hot Springs Tour

The day begins with pickup from San Jose, Alajuela, or Heredia and travels to the artistic town of Sarchi. Spend some time exploring and begin to appreciate the many arts and crafts that Costa Rica has to offer. You’ll also see the world’s largest ox cart, according the Guinness Book of World Records. Continue the tour towards La Fortuna, passing through colorful pineapple and plantain plantations, mango groves, and cattle ranches along the way. Arrive in La Fortuna and enjoy a lunch break at a cozy restaurant with magnificent views of Arenal Volcano. Learn about how the volcano was assumed to be dormant until 1968 when it experienced a major eruption. Visit the stunning Mistico Park next which boasts a dense biodiversity with luscious forests and an abundance of wildlife. Take a stroll amongst the treetops on the hanging bridges that line the jungle canopy, and admire the array of plants that surround you. Finally, it’s time to relax in the gorgeous waters of Baldi. Slide into the bubbling hot springs and unwind as the thermal waters cleanse and rejuvenate your mind, body, and soul. At the end of a magical day, chill out on the return journey to San Jose where a delicious dinner will be served against the backdrop of the volcano.

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San Jose: Sarapiqui River & La Paz Gardens Tour with Lunch

6. San Jose: Sarapiqui River & La Paz Gardens Tour with Lunch

The day begins with pickup from your hotel in San Jose and heads to the stunning La Paz Waterfall Gardens. This private nature reserve has been designed to educate visitors and provide sanctuary for rescued wildlife through a variety of gardens and exhibits. Enjoy a stroll through the park's luscious green landscapes and see rescued jaguars, colorful butterflies, exotic birds, and unique plants. Theres's also plenty of tropical cascades to admire and snap photos of for your vacation album. Later, discover the wonders of the Sarapiqui River on a relaxing boat cruise. Soak up the tranquility of the river and surrounding rainforest as you listen to the sound of bird’s chirping and trickling water. At the end of an unforgettable adventure, be dropped off back to your accommodation.

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

7. 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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Braulio Carrillo: Rainforest Tram & Nature Walk Private Tour

8. Braulio Carrillo: Rainforest Tram & Nature Walk Private Tour

Visit Costa Rica’s most adventurous and nature-rich spots on this private guided trip, including lunch. Get a unique perspective of the local flora and fauna on a guided walking tour and tram ride through the rainforest at the Braulio Carrillo National Park.  Begin your adventure with pickup followed by a drive through the Costa Rican countryside. Head to the Caribbean Slope, crossing the Braulio Carrillo National Park. Arrive at a private property in the Guapiles Region, about a 75-minute drive from San José. Enjoy some free time before boarding a gondola (traditional rowing boat) for your rainforest exploration. Hop on open-sided vehicles from the parking area to the Visitor's Center while getting an introduction to the forest. Pass a small river and numerous tree snags. After a quick briefing on canopy exploration and the construction of the tram, take a short nature walk with a trained naturalist guide. Walk along trails that are well-groomed and provide an excellent introduction to the rainforest. Next, board the aerial tram for an approximately 1 hour and 15 minute ride. During your ride, listen as your guide points out orchids and different species of trees and identifies the calls of the birds that inhabit this unique environment.  Skim over hilltops and in and out of the sub-canopy, a dark world of overburdened tree limbs dripping with mosses, ferns, and orchids. See lianas and vines draped over branches and across forest spaces acting as highways for birds and insects. On the return route, witness the most dramatic portion of the trip as the cars glide on a breath-taking journey through and above the airy canopy. After the ride, enjoy a Costa Rican lunch before drop-off back at your hotel.

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From San José: Carara National Park and Tárcoles River Tour

9. From San José: Carara National Park and Tárcoles River Tour

Begin your journey by being picked up from your hotel, and going on a scenic 1.5-hour drive along Route 27, making your way to your first stop at Carara National Park. Head straight out onto some flat walking trails suitable for all fitness levels and wheelchair users, and admire the biological reserve's abundant jungle life in person. Look up to the 40-meter high canopy, and keep an eye out for bright scarlet macaws, agouti rodents, stunning poison dart frogs, spider monkeys, dozens of birds, fantastic fungi, and huge wild cashew trees. Next, enjoy lunch like a local and eat at a traditional soda diner, where you have the option of eating fresh fish or seafood. Re-energized, lower your gears and enjoy a relaxing optional boat ride for some birdwatching on the Tárcoles River. Admire the river's mangroves, which are some of the most unique and scarce ecosystems of the world, and considered to be biodiversity hotspots. Keep a lookout for the 6-meter-long American crocodiles — the largest of the continent. Finally, dig your toes into the white sand of a peaceful beach at your last stop, where you will taste some delicious seasonal fruits and relax with the sound of the waves before heading back to your accommodation.

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Other Sightseeing Options in San José, Costa Rica

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What people are saying about San José, Costa Rica

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 19 reviews

Our guide Gladys is a Biology Student working on finishing her degree at UCR, and she was fantastic during our tour of the nature reserve and campus. She was very knowledgeable about many of the local plants, birds, and insects. We definitely got some interesting stories about the unique habits of local animals and how they interact with each other. There are no guarantees of seeing any specific types of animals on this tour except the farmer ants, but you are pretty likely to see at least a handful of unique birds and insects around the campus. Although we didnt get to see a sloth on campus, we did get to see and learn a lot that we didnt expect. Definitely a great time and a very informational tour.

highly recommended day trip! a fantastic tour of a coffee plantation, poas volcano & la paz waterfalls. the volcano crater was super cool to see and the series of waterfalls were beautiful. always great to do this type of tour in a small group to have the opportunity to interact with others in the group...and especially the tour leader. in our case, Erick had a great interactive personality, was super knowledgeable and shared info about Costa Rica and the sites we visited. what a great experience!

This was a relaxing yet highly informative tour! Our guide Luis graduated from the University of Costa Rica and was very knowledgeable and passionate about the biodiversity in the area. He explained so many cool facts about fungi, flowers and birds with unmatched enthusiasm. We were all surprised at just how much wildlife we were able to see in the middle of the city. We had such a wonderful time and would love to visit again!

Wonderful experience our guide was sensational great personality great attitude great knowledge of the ecological environment around us. She was amazing and I enjoyed our group very much. There’s no way I could see it going any better than it did. Thank you

Our tour guide Gladys was excellent!! Her. Enthusiasm and happiness is contagious. We had the opportunity to see four sloths and many birds. I recomend i