SAN JOSÉ & CENTRAL VALLEY

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San José is home to various sights which are described in most travel guides. The gold museum on the Plaza de la Cultura, the national theater on the same square, the jade museum, and the sheltered central market are definitely worth visiting. The city has a lot more to offer though; the people.

 

We highly recommend people staying in San Jose for one or more days to go for a stroll through the city and experience the vibe. This can be by relaxing on a park bench and watching people living their day to day lives, having lunch in a soda (local, small restaurant), listening to the cheerful music coming from the stores, and daring to venture off the beaten track.

 

THINGS TO DO IN sAN JOSÉ

The three main attractions we definitely recommend travellers to visit are

- The Central Market; A sheltered market with tiny shops where you can buy all sorts of things, from healing herbs

   and souvenirs to underwear and meat. You can also eat very delicious, cheap, traditional food!

- The Gold Museum; This museum has a beautiful collection of golden objects from the pre-Columbian time. It

   will take you about an hour to look at everything. Worth a visit!

- The National Museum; Located in the old city barracks where the army was once abolished, this small museum

   tells the different phases of the history of Costa Rica supported by many historical objects.

There are many activities and sights to see outside of the city as well, such as the Poas volcano, daytrips to other places for diving trips, hikes, national parks, etc.

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San Jose Bites and Sights Tour

Unmask the beauty and culture of contemporary Costa Rican life on this San Jose walking tour that takes you through the busy streets, bustling markets, and tranquil parks. Discover a side to this city only heard from the mouths of locals, while indulging in typical cuisine and one of Costa Rica’s most delectable exports – coffee.

Highlights:

  • Discover the secrets behind handicrafts, herbal remedies, and fresh produce at Borbon and San Jose Central Market

  • Become a mixologist of natural Costa Rican drinks and an expert on more than 30 local exotic fruits and vegetables

  • Savor several tasty seasonal samplings of Costa Rica as well as its famous organic coffee

  • See a side of San Jose known only by locals and not found in guidebooks

Included: Local English speaking guide, food samples.

Excluded: Transportation, food and drink other than specified above, souvenirs,

items of a personal nature, tips / gratuities for your guide.

Duration: 3 hours, starts at 9:30 AM

Price: $36 p.p.

 

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Costa Rica Pura Vida Experience

Unmask the beauty of contemporary Costa Rican life on this walking tour of San Jose and Escazu. Get hooked up with some of Costa Rica's local legends, freshest food (make your own tortillas anyone?) and rustic restaurants on this San Jose tour that has you walking in holy footsteps and riding public transport for the ultimate insider’s experience!

 

Highlights:

  • Discover a tale of two cities, exploring the real Costa Rica in San Jose and Escazu, the “City of Witches”

  • Walk the spiritual route of churches and learn the rich local history of Catholicism  

  • Experience the lively atmosphere of the Central Market, and ride like a local with public transportation

  • Visit a legendary masquerade family, renowned for their traditional Costa Rican masks

  • Feast on authentic local cuisine in a 100-year-old restaurant

  • Enjoy a sample of traditional chicha as well as a coffee tasting

Included: Local English speaking guides, traditional Costa Rican Tapas, Transportation from meeting point, Mazquarade Show, chicha drink, cup of organic coffee.

Excluded: Transportation to and from the meeting point, food and drink other than specified above, souvenirs and items of a personal nature, beverages and alcoholic drinks, tips / gratuities for the guide.

Duration: 4 hours, starts at 10 AM

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Price: $65 p.p.

 

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Cartago Bike & Train Tour 

Wave goodbye to the dizzying crowds on this San Jose tour that takes you out of the city and into Costa Rican rural life. Hop on a train and journey to Cartago, where you’ll take a bike ride with a local guide through this fascinating town steeped in local history. Top it all off with a visit to Cartago Central Market to taste the local cuisine, and you’ve got yourself the perfect day away from San Jose.

Highlights:

  • Discover Cartago, a historical town just outside San Jose

  • Bike through the streets of Cartago with a local guide

  • Learn all about the colonial history of the area and daily local life

  • Experience Cartago Central Market and try the local cuisine

  • Travel by railroad through the mountains and coffee plantations outside San Jose.

Included: Local English speaking guide, food samples, transport tickets, bikes and helmets.

Excluded: Transportation from your hotel to the meeting point, and from the drop off location to your hotel, food and drink other than specified above, souvenirs and items of a personal nature, tips / gratuities for your guide.

Duration: 5 hours, starting at 7 AM

Price: $63 p.p.

 

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The Art of Craft Beer in San Jose

Did you get the memo? There’s a beer revolution going down in Costa Rica! Craft beer is here in a big way, and this San Jose beer tour is out to prove that by showing you just how crazy locals are over their beer,  and playing you with samples so you understand the phenomenon on a first-hand basis

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Highlights:

  • Explore San Jose’s Barrio Escalante and its collection of awesome local pubs

  • Experience the Costa Rica craft beer revolution first-hand

  • Sample some of San Jose’s best local craft beers in the microbreweries where they’re made

  • Dive head first into local pub culture, discovering which watering holes are most beloved by locals

  • Indulge in perfectly paired Costa Rican tapas dishes

Included: Local English speaking guide, ten small beer samples (approx. 4 oz each), Costa Rican tapas pairings.

Excluded: Transportation to and from the meeting point/end point, food and drink other than specified above, souvenirs and items of a personal nature, tips / gratuities for the guide.

Duration: 3 hours, starts at 4:30 PM

Price: $75 p.p.

 

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San José By Night

Wine.  

     

Oh, we need to say more?

Alright, well, there’s also a ton of culture and history, a tasty local dinner, and the chance to experience San Jose’s nightlife with a local. Best. Night. Ever.

Highlights:

  • Experience San Jose by night with a local to guide the way

  • Explore markets, significant city buildings, and local neighborhoods

  • Immerse yourself in the culture and history of the city

  • Indulge in a tasty local menu filled with authentic local ingredients

  • Sip expertly selected wine pairings as you dine

Included: Local English speaking guide, transportation from San Jose to the restaurant, three glasses of wine, dinner.

Excluded: Transportation to and from the meeting point and end point is not included. Also not included are additional food and drink beyond what is specified above, items of a personal nature, tips / gratuities for your guide.

Duration: 4 hours, starts at 4 PM

Price: $79 p.p.

 

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Made In San Jose: With Waterfalls, Coffee & Colonial Towns

You don't know what to do with a full day in San Jose? We’ve got you covered with an adventurous shopping tour that does it all! Visit waterfalls, tour a coffee plantation, wander through colonial towns, browse street markets for one-of-a-kind souvenirs, and finish your day with an authentic Costa Rican dinner. It’s a bit of everything!

Highlights:

  • Experience three different bustling street markets

  • Escape the city limits to visit waterfalls and a coffee plantation

  • Go across the continental divide and come face-to-face with butterflies, monkeys and more

  • Visit the colonial towns of Barva, Grecia and Sarchi, plus the oldest oxcart factory in the country

  • Enjoy a gourmet dinner with wine in Escazu, the famous city of witches

Included: Local English-speaking guide, transportation during the tour, entrance fees to waterfalls, frog pond, and butterfly farm, coffee tour, lunch, dinner with wine.

Excluded: Additional food and drinks, souvenirs and personal shopping, tips/gratuities for your guide.

Duration: 7 hours, starts at 8 AM

Price: $190 p.p.

 

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Total San Jose Tour: Cartago, Irazu Volcano & Nightlife

Escape the city for a bike ride through the mountains and a trip up a volcano, wander local markets, take in a local history lesson, then indulge in a dinner to remember. This jam-packed San Jose tour includes culture, history, nature, nightlife and adventure, plus a tasty three-course meal (with wine, naturally). It’s the best way to experience the best of San Jose!

Highlights:

  • Bike through the streets of Cartago, a historic town just outside San Jose

  • Explore two local markets and shop for goods alongside locals

  • Travel by railroad through mountains and coffee plantations

  • Visit the craters of the impressive Irazu volcano, where on a clear day you can see the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea

  • Indulge in a tasty dinner with authentic local ingredients and expertly selected wine pairings

  • Combine two great tours into one epic full-day adventure

Included: Local English-speaking guide, transportation during the tour, entrance fees, bike and helmet rental, dinner with 3 glasses of wine.

Excluded: Additional food and drinks, transportation to/from the meeting and end points, souvenirs

Duration: 13 hours, starts at 7 AM

Price: $168 p.p.

 

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Poas Volcano (Half Day)

As we ascend the mountain, we will see coffee plantations as well as fern, flower and strawberry farms along the way, creating a beautiful array of colors and visuals.

There is a noticeable change in temperature and vegetation, preparing us for the pleasure of the exuberant cloud forest of the Poas Volcano.

The Poás Volcano, is an active 2,708-metre (8,885 ft) stratovolcano. The crater of the volcano is over a mile across and 1050 feet deep.  It has erupted 40 times since 1828, including April, 2017.

At the Volcano we will have time to enjoy the impressive main crater with its sulfur fumaroles, and hike on a trail to the beautiful Botos Lagoon as we learn about the different ecosystems in the park.

Included: Transportation, professional guide and entrance fee.

Price: $78 p.p.

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La Paz Waterfall Gardens

At La Paz Waterfall Gardens we will go through walking trails surrounded by lush tropical rain forest. Here we will appreciate flowing white rivers, spectacular waterfalls, birds, butterflies, monkeys, and hummingbirds. There are also educational animal exhibits to enjoy such as the Aviary, the Butterfly Observatory, Hummingbird Garden, Serpentarium, Jungle Cats Exhibit, and the Frog Exhibit. This is definitely a tour enjoyed by nature lovers from all ages.

After the tour, we will enjoy a buffet lunch (rated 4 Forks by the Costa Rican Tourism Council) that includes multiple selections of Traditional Costa Rican dishes and much more. 

Included: Transportation, professional guide, entrance fee and lunch.

Price: $111 p.p.