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San José, Costa Rica Culinary & nightlife

Our most recommended San José, Costa Rica Culinary & nightlife

San Jose Bites and Sights Walking Tour

1. San Jose Bites and Sights Walking Tour

Get up close and personal with Costa Rican life, through local food, history, and even the herbal remedies of folk medicine. Enjoy a hands-on lesson on exotic plants, fruits, and vegetables, and enjoy several local food samples on this guided tour. Stroll through the streets with a local as they show you the ins-and-outs of daily life. Start with a morning pick-me-up coffee in a café located in the Central Market. Then, take a stroll through the vibrant market, tasting local fresh fruits. Next, sample empanadas and continue along local roads towards the Borbon Market. Seeing diverse sites the Cathedral, National Theater, and the beautiful parks will help you get to know the country and its rich history. Finally, visit a special coffee store where you will find coffee and chocolates produced by women. Learn to prepare coffee, enjoy a tamal, and make plantain empanadas before concluding your tour.

Poás Volcano, Coffee Plantation & La Paz Waterfall Gardens

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

Experience Costa Rica's nature and culture on this full-day tour from 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.

San José: Night Food and Culture Tour with Dinner

3. San José: Night Food and Culture Tour with Dinner

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.

San Jose By Night: Culture, Gourmet Dinner, Wine & Cocktails

4. San Jose By Night: Culture, Gourmet Dinner, Wine & Cocktails

Immerse yourself in the culture and history of the city. Explore San Jose by Night, complete with local markets, cultural icons, and a tasty dinner with wine! Starting with the Central Market, which, is the only way to learn about the city’s food. Stroll the market with your local guide and get to know the secrets, uses of the roots, herbs, and fruit common in local cuisines, including ingredients that will play a role in your authentic Costa Rican dinner later. The locals say that you can get anything you need at the Central Market, even love potions for attracting a boyfriend or girlfriend. After the market, we’ll make our way down Central Avenue, learning about the city’s history and anecdotes, as well as visiting one of the most architecturally beautiful buildings in San Jose, the National Theatre. From there, our appreciation for San Jose’s historical architecture continues, with a walk through Morazán Park and we will visit Mr. Sloth Coffee Shop to make el "Morenito" one delicious coffee cocktail and try "Golden Rush" cocktail. We’ll continue to charm Barrio Amon, one the oldest neighborhoods we’ll be spending the rest of the evening at a favorite restaurant that specializes in wine and gourmet food. This cozy establishment offers the best in Costa Rican cuisine a unique space that offers art, culture, history as well as fine dining.

San Jose: Central Market Tour with Food and Coffee Tasting

5. San Jose: Central Market Tour with Food and Coffee Tasting

Explore the biggest and oldest market in San Jose City on a guided tour. Founded in 1880, stroll through a site that offers a glimpse into the true Costa Rican way of living, their customs, and traditions. Browse through the intricate aisles and taste unique snacks and sweets. Join your professional guide for a trip into the heart of Costa Rican culture. Dive into the busy Central Market for an authentic experience of the local lifestyle. Hear about the history of this ancient market and learn about each of the traditional products sold. Observe and shop for typical handcrafts as you walk around. Sample exotic fruits and dishes that may include empanadas, cheese tortillas, 'chicharrones' (pork rind), and tamales. Sip on artisanal coffee and taste the emblematic 'sorbetera' ice cream.

San Jose: City Tour by Night

6. 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.

San Jose: Discover Sights and Delights with a Local

7. San Jose: Discover Sights and Delights with a Local

Join your guide for a morning pick-me-up coffee at a café in Borbon Market, where you'll get to know your guide. From here, stroll through the vibrant market and taste the local fruits. Learn the agricultural history of the area as you stop at stands such as a coffee stall. Hear all about the Costa Rican chorreado method of brewing coffee. Go to a stand that sells folk medicine and learn about cures for everything from a hangover to a broken heart.  Next, visit Central Market and immerse yourself in the life of the 120-year-old building. Sample local delicacies from Costa Rica at a market full to the brim with food and drinks. Learn more about the herbs used in local medicines or sip on your second coffee of the day. With a local guide by your side, you’ll unearth all the secrets behind this San Jose treasure. By the time you end your tour at Central Market, you will be full of local knowledge. Perhaps you will have even picked up some of the local lingo along the way!

San Jose One Day: Sarapiqui Class 2&3 Rafting Adventure

8. San Jose One Day: 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.

Monteverde: Coffee, Chocolate, and Sugar Cane Day Trip

9. Monteverde: Coffee, Chocolate, and Sugar Cane Day Trip

Discover the flavors of Monteverde on this day trip from Monteverde or Santa Elena. Enjoy a day in the countryside and have the opportunity to taste local coffee, chocolate, and sugar cane on this tour to Costa Rican plantations. Enjoy the convenience of being picked up by a comfortable and spacious bus at your hotel in Monteverde or Santa Elena. Soak up the lush countryside on the way to a coffee plantation, which is situated in one of Costa Rica's top 8 coffee-producing regions. Learn about how this area has the ideal weather, required altitude, and volcanic soils to produce a fine cup of gourmet coffee. Sip on some coffee that is grown on site before hopping back on the bus and heading to chocolate farm. Complement your coffee tasting with a visit to the chocolate farm. Find out how to produce high-quality chocolate products. Indulge your sweet tooth as you try some fine Costa Rican chocolate. Continue to the sugar cane plantation to learn about its history, growing conditions, and processing. Have the opportunity to sip on some handcrafted sugar cane juice. Return to your accommodation at the end of your day trip.

San Jose Rafting Class 3-4 with Connection to La Fortuna

10. San Jose Rafting Class 3-4 with Connection to La Fortuna

Bring on the adrenaline and enjoy the “Jungle Run” on the Sarapiqui River, the perfect rafting trip for adventurous paddlers. Join the tour on your way from San Jose to La Fortuna or from La Fortuna to San Jose and spend the day taking on challenging rapids and admiring jungle wildlife.  The day beings with pickup from select locations in San Jose or La Fortuna. Travel through small Costa Rican villages to the quaint town of San Miguel to start your rafting experience, passing La Virgen and finishing up in El Roble de Sarapiquí. Here, your professional guide will give you the 101 on rafting, including safety tips and technical instructions before starting your 3.5-hour journey down the Sarapiqui River on a full-day rafting adventure. Experience over 40 exciting rapids along nearly 22 kilometers of lush, vibrant rainforest. Make your way through exciting rapids like “The Pipeline”, “The Terminator”, and “Dos Locos”, that will be sure to get your adrenaline pumping.  About halfway down the Sarapiqui River, you’ll stop and watch the rapids from the shore, while enjoying tropical fruit and relaxing with the rest of the group. Then, after the second leg of your journey, take out right at the Red-Eyed Frog Restaurant, located on the Sarapiqui River. Savor a typical Costa Rican casado (rice with beans, plantain, and meat) and some gourmet coffee. After lunch, take advantage of the showers and changing rooms on-site before continuing on your journey.

  • Guided tours
  • Water activities
  • Day trips
  • Workshops & classes
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Frequently asked questions about San José, Costa Rica

What are the best day trips and excursions from San José, Costa Rica?

The best day trips and excursions from San José, Costa Rica are:

La Fortuna

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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

The tour was just perfect!!! Marco our guide had absurd knowledge about the whole country and filled us with valuable information. We learned a lot and saw breathtaking landscapes! Everything from the beginning, from the coffee plantations, to the waterfalls and the volcano, everything was impeccable! 10/10! Marco is in our hearts ❤️❤️❤️

We had such a great tour with Amaral - he is a lovely guy and a great guide, really knowledgeable and passionate about all things San Jose. We loved learning about the city and trying all sorts of amazing foods, the Granadilla fruit was unbelievable - I would definitely recommend this tour!

Our guide Dino was so charming and full of interesting facts and knowledge about San Jose. Overall the tour was FANTASTIC. I highly recommend it. Filled with delicious food and great places to visit and see San Jose in a different way.

excellent historical and cultural tour as well as about the food. the meal at the end was superb. Angel, our guide, could not have been any better, knowledgeable, helpful and considerate. A wonderful start to our holuday

Excellent tour, very informative, highly recommend.