San José Province
Day Trips

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Our most recommended San José Province Day Trips

San José: Arenal Volcano, Hot Springs, & Zip Lining w/ Meals

1. San José: Arenal Volcano, Hot Springs, & Zip Lining w/ Meals

Tour the best locations in Costa Rica and learn about local life and culture from those who live there. Visit a coffee plantation, zip line, and soak in the hot springs at the base of the Adrenal Volcano. Take the scenic route to the Arenal Volcano and visit a coffee plantation along the way. Gain an insight into the world of Costa Rican coffee and taste one of the best coffees in the world. Arrive at the "La Paz" and "San Fernando" waterfalls and admire the exotic tropical birds of Costa Rica, including many species of hummingbirds and rare emerald toucanets. Take in the views at the San Fernando Waterfall observation point before heading to the "Iguana Bridge", where you will have the chance to spot iguanas, sloths, monkeys, and toucans. Stop for an authentic Costa Rican lunch in a restaurant located in "La Fortuna." Then, prepare for a zip-lining adventure in the local rainforest jungles with 9 canopy cables and a 50 meter (150 feet) rappel on the Arenal River. Learn about the culture while listening to a "Maleku" Indigenous tribe presentation from locals. Relax for a couple of hours in the Paradise Hot Springs at the base of Arenal Volcano, surrounded by tropical gardens followed by dinner.

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San Jose: Tortuguero Park Day Tour with Breakfast & Lunch

2. San Jose: Tortuguero Park Day Tour with Breakfast & Lunch

The day begins with pickup from your accommodation in San Jose, Heredia, or Alajuela at 6:00 AM. On your way to breakfast, drive past rolling coffee plantations and admire the mountains of Braulio Carrillo National Park. At around 7:15 AM, stop for a traditional Costa Rican breakfast to set you up for the day's adventure. Enjoy fresh fruit juice, coffee, eggs, and the popular gallo pinto (a typical Central American rice and bean dish.) After breakfast visit a local banana plantation and learn about the process of growing and exporting fruit. At around 10:00 AM, leave the bus behind and hop onboard a boat as you cruise into the jungle of Tortuguero National Park. Surrounded by tropical rainforest, which covers over 29,000 hectares, soak up the magic of this luscious green landscape. As you sail along the jungle canals, see native green sea turtles, as well as other endangered animals such as sloths, monkeys, and manatees. There’s also countless colorful butterflies, toucans, herons, crocodiles, and more. Learn about each of the animals and their habitat in the jungle, as well as about local conservation efforts to protect them. Once you’ve worked up a bit of an appetite, enjoy a hearty buffet lunch. After lunch, take a relaxing stroll through Tortuguero Village where you’ll discover local life and learn about the history of the town and its residents. At the end of an unforgettable day, get back on the bus at around 3:30 PM and begin the return journey back to San Jose.

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From San José: Monteverde Hanging Bridges Day Trip

3. From San José: Monteverde Hanging Bridges Day Trip

Your tour begins in the morning with pickup in the San José area. Then travel towards the northern part of the country on a very scenic drive, with great views of beautiful mountain ranges, local towns and farms, and the Pacific coast. On the way to Monteverde, enjoy multiple stops. Learn about local fruits at the largest fruit stand of the country. Explore a place where several monkeys are normally observed in the wild at a very close range. Photograph amazing landscapes from a lookout point. Once in Monteverde, savor a delicious lunch and then proceed to do the amazing hanging bridges tour in the cloud forest. Hike with your guide for two to three hours, admiring the beauties of this rare ecosystem and searching for the local wildlife, including monkeys, emerald toucans, coatimundis, and the rare resplendent quetzal, the most beautiful bird of Costa Rica. This hike is approximately 3km (1.9 miles) long and is mostly on flat terrain with a few mild climbs.  Late in the afternoon, return to your accommodation in San José or to your accommodation in central Monteverde. 

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San José: Arenal Volcano, Waterfalls, Coffee and Hot Springs

4. San José: Arenal Volcano, Waterfalls, Coffee and Hot Springs

Start your tour in the morning when you are picked up from your hotel in the San Jose area in an air-conditioned vehicle. Travel to Arenal on an alternative route that is more scenic than the regular highway to this popular destination. On the way, stop at a plantation where you will learn about the coffee of Costa Rica. Observe the coffee plants and see the workers picking the ripe cherries during the harvest season. Learn about this important product to the local economy and taste a freshly brewed cup of some of the best coffee in the world accompanied by traditional snacks. Continue the tour at the famous La Paz Waterfall. Stop at the San Fernando Waterfall look-out point and observe many exotic birds including toucans, hummingbirds, and many other colorful tropical species. Visit the iguana’s center, a place where you will see lots of iguanas at eye level resting on the top of numerous trees. Following this, arrive at the Town of La Fortuna, and enjoy a delicious Costa Rican lunch in a restaurant located at the base of the impressive Arenal Volcano. After lunch, visit various points around the volcano to take pictures of this amazing mountain on clear days. Next, participate in an indigenous presentation performed by native people from the Maleku Tribe, and learn about the native culture of Costa Ricans. Later, travel to the beautiful Paradise Hot Springs Resort and relax for a few hours in the multiple hot springs pools surrounded by lush tropical gardens. This hot springs facility is one of the best in the Arenal area and provides the perfect environment to relax in thermal mineral water pools, jacuzzis and cascading waterfalls. After this, go to a local typical restaurant to have a delicious Costa Rican dinner before you are taken back to your hotel in the San Jose area.

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San Jose: Monteverde Sky Tram & Hanging Bridges Day Tour

5. San Jose: Monteverde Sky Tram & Hanging Bridges Day Tour

Discover the lush Cloud Forests of Monteverde on this Sky Tram and Hanging Bridges trip from San Jose. Travel to the Northern Highlands of Costa Rica on a very scenic ride where you will get great views of mountains, farms, local towns and the Coast of the Puntarenas Province. See the largest fruit stand of the country, where you will see a large variety of tropical fruits. Visit the “Monkey Lady House” and several white-faced monkeys at very close range. Once in Monteverde, savor a delicious lunch and then proceed to ride on the Sky Tram, with great views of the whole Monteverde-Santa Elena area. Spend about 15-20 minutes at the highest look-out point, and then ride the Tram down for about 15 minutes.  Then, walk on the amazing Sky Walk Hanging Bridges in the Cloud Forest, where you will hike with your expert naturalist guide for about 2-3 hours, learning interesting aspects of the flora and fauna of this rare and endangered ecosystem.

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San José: Food and Culture Small-Group Night Tour

6. 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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Manuel Antonio National Park Combo Tour from San Jose

7. Manuel Antonio National Park Combo Tour from San Jose

On your way to Manuel Antonio, stop to have breakfast in a local restaurant located next to the biggest fruit market in the country where you'll be able to observe the large variety of tropical fruits in Costa Rica. Continue your journey with a stop at the popular crocodile bridge where you will have the chance to observe one of Costa Rica’s biggest crocodile’s populations.    Search for scarlet macaws in their natural habitat on Tarcoles Beach, a common sight in the area. Then, stop at the Jaco Bay lookout point and take pictures of Costa Rica’s most popular coastal town. Once in Manuel Antonio, hike the rainforest trails of the national park with your guide for about 1 hour and search for local wild animals commonly observed here, including monkeys, sloths, toucans, agoutis, and more.   After hiking, enjoy free time to relax on the pristine beaches of the Manuel Antonio National Park, swim in the warm waters of the Pacific Ocean, or continue hiking on the longer rainforest trails in the park. The longer trails are a little challenging, but they provide amazing lookout points with views of islands and coves along the beautiful coastline, as well as further opportunities to observe more of the local wildlife.   Next, savor a delicious typical lunch in a restaurant that provides great jungle and ocean views, the perfect environment to enjoy your meal. Lunch will be served in the early afternoon around 2 PM, after which you will be taken back to your hotel in San Jose.

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Rafting Class 3-4 "Jungle Run": Río Sarapiquí, Costa Rica

8. Rafting Class 3-4 "Jungle Run": Río Sarapiquí, Costa Rica

Take an exciting break during your travels to your new vacation destination! Bring on the adrenaline and enjoy the "Jungle Run" on the Sarapiqui River. This is the perfect rafting trip for adventurous paddlers! Get piked up from your hotel and travel through small Costa Rican villages to the quaint town of San Miguel de Sarapiquí. There, your professional rafting guide will give you the 101 on rafting including safety tips and technical instructions before heading on your 2 hour journey down one of Costa Rica’s most exuberant rivers! During your descent down the river, you will experience over 30 exciting rapids along 10 km of lush, vibrant rainforest. As you make your way through exciting rapids like "The Pipeline," "The Terminator," and "Dos Locos", you will get your adrenaline pumping! About half way down the river, you’ll stop and watch the rapids from the shore, while enjoying refreshing tropical fruit and relaxing with the rest of the group. Then, after the second leg of your rafting journey, you’ll finish the day with an unforgettable homemade lunch before heading to your next vacation destination!

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San Jose: Sarapiqui Class 2&3 Rafting Adventure

9. San Jose: Sarapiqui Class 2&3 Rafting Adventure

The Sarapiqui River is famous for its lush rainforest scenery. Enjoy it up close rafting down the Jungle Run – a section of river that is home to monkeys, iguanas, and other amazing Costa Rican wildlife. Start with pickup from select hotels and travel to El Roble de Sarapiquí, where the adventure begins. Your guide will fit you with the proper gear and go over safety instructions before hitting the river. Duck, dodge, paddle, and laugh your way down the river. Along the way, the "paparrazzi" photographer will be around to catch the best action shots as your Costa Rican river adventure unfolds. About halfway down the river, stop to enjoy a refreshing tropical fruit snack, take a swim, and relax. This area is known for its variety of birdlife, so keep an eye out for interesting tropical species.  Finish the rafting adventure at the Red-Eyed Frog Restaurant, located right next to the river. Savor a traditional Costa Rican meal before heading back to your hotel in a comfortable, air-conditioned van with free WiFi. Photos are available for purchase from the local provider after the tour.

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La Fortuna: Jungle Safari Float Sarapiqui to San Jose

10. La Fortuna: Jungle Safari Float Sarapiqui to San Jose

Turn your day of travel into an action-packed adventure with the Safari Float Adventure Connection! Come see the abundance of nature and wildlife that Costa Rica has to offer! This Costa Rica Safari Float is a smooth, two-hour paddle down the quiet, lower section of the Sarapiqui River. Your bilingual nature guide will paddle and steer your boat as you float down the river and point out all of the exotic wildlife such as birds, frogs, insects, and monkeys in the Costa Rican rainforest! You'll be picked up at your hotel in La Fortuna's Area and travel to a beautiful waterfall on the Pozo Azul River of Sarapiqui. Here you and your family can enjoy nature and the cool crystal clear water that the waterfall offers you. Then, head towards the Red Eye Frog restaurant located in El Roble of Sarapiqui while getting yourself ready to fall deeply in love with the 2-hour Jungle Safari float. Your eagle-eyed guide will show off Costa Rica's amazing wildlife as he points out a wide array of plant and animal species. You’ll float next to the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor (San Juan La Selva Biological Corridor) where there is a good possibility of seeing sloths, howler monkeys, lizards, and even black river otters. This area is also famous for the incredible amount of tropical birds such as ospreys, boat-billed herons, parrots, kingfishers and the great green macaw which is on the endangered species list. For those who want to be even closer to nature, you will have the chance to get out of the raft and into the river and refresh yourself. The Jungle Safari Float is great for nature lovers of all ages! To finish your day, return to the Red Eye Frog Restaurant to have a delicious traditional Costa Rican lunch called a “Casado” along with some amazing Costa Rican gourmet coffee. Following this, drive to your next vacation destination in a comfortable air-conditioned van with free WiFi.

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Other Sightseeing Options in San José Province

Want to discover all there is to do in San José Province? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about San José Province

Overall rating

4.4 / 5

based on 158 reviews

Animal lovers rejoice! Oscar was an outstanding guide. Our small group saw all three kinds of monkeys, countless reptiles, SLOTHS galore, and some of the coolest spiders, butterflies, and other insects I've ever seen. That's just the wildlife. The meals included with the trip are perfect. Begins with a desayuna tipica, then after you work up a real appetite in the national park, a protein-of-choice lunch, also in typical style, but served on the top floor of a gorgeous resort overlooking the beaches and the park you just enjoyed. Lovely to revisit all the animals from above while enjoying a hearty meal. Frequent stops along the way to see crocodiles and macaws and whenever the guide notices something worth checking out. Great way to see the central West Coast of Costa Rica and still make it back to your hotel by sunset.

This was the absolute highlight of our trip to Costa Rica! The tour guides were hilarious and helpful and the rivers were the perfect amount of thrilling without being utterly terrifying. And we didn't fall in! Definitely pay for the picture package because those pictures are both awesome and hilarious. You get delicious fruit when you take your first break and a very tasty lunch when you get back to their staging area. We will absolutely be doing a tour with this company again!

The guide, Álvar, very attentive, entertained the trip with explanations and stops. The experience was great and the day was well spent. Perhaps half an hour more in Tortuguero to visit with more pause. I recommend it.

Fernando Moos was a wonderful and excellent guide, full of heart and passion for the nature of the country, simply highly recommended

It was amazing. My wife and I really enjoyed ourselves. We're looking forward to coming back. Yordan was an awesome guide.