San José, Costa Rica
Hiking

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Our most recommended San José, Costa Rica Hiking

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: Irazú Volcano, Cartago City & Orosi Valley Tour

2. San Jose: Irazú Volcano, Cartago City & Orosi Valley Tour

Start with pickup from your hotel and travel by minibus along the Panamerican Highway until you reach the base of the Irazú Volcano. Travel up the winding road through fertile farmlands where many types of fruit and vegetables are cultivated. Enjoy spectacular panoramic views of the surrounding hills and valleys. At the summit of the volcano, on a clear day, marvel at the spectacular view of both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Next, descend to the city of Cartago and stop at the Virgin of the Angels Basilica. Discover this local pilgrimage site which has large vaulted ceilings and exquisite examples of stained glass windows.  Continue the tour through the Orosi Valley, an area of magnificent natural beauty. Visit one of the few remaining colonial churches in the region and stop for a tasty typical lunch at one of the local restaurants. Finally, be returned to your hotel to complete the tour.

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San José: La Paz Waterfall Gardens Private Day Tour

3. San José: La Paz Waterfall Gardens Private Day Tour

Embark on a full-day private tour of the La Paz Waterfall Gardens, the top nature park and wildlife refuge attraction in Costa Rica. Take in the fresh air of the mountain rainforest. Hike through its beautiful waterfalls and spot rare animals on this day trip. The tour begins at your hotel where your guide will meet you. Hop on a luxury air-conditioned vehicle for a 1-hour drive along scenic roads. Pass quaint villages on your way to the beautiful complex of La Paz Waterfall Gardens. La Paz Waterfall Gardens is the most-visited private ecological attraction in Costa Rica. It features the best hiking trails near San José. The eco-park houses a rescued wildlife preserve with over 100 animal species. Enjoy 5 waterfalls, cloud and rain forests, and hiking trails accompanied by your naturalist tour guide. Make the most of their environmental education program. Spot numerous species of birds in the aviary. Partake in toucan feeding, insect exhibit, butterfly observatory, and hummingbird hand-feeding. You can also visit the serpentarium and a traditional house with a petting zoo and ox cart. Give your feet a break by stopping for a delicious buffet lunch. Feast on traditional Costa Rican dishes, complete with a salad bar, pizza, garlic bread, French fries, fresh fruits, and rice pudding. Make this food experience perfect with an unlimited serving of fresh fruit juice, coffee, and tea. After exploring all the unique attractions of the eco-park, return to your hotel in San José by the middle of the afternoon.

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San Jose: Cartago Highlights, Irazu Volcano & Hot Springs

4. San Jose: Cartago Highlights, Irazu Volcano & Hot Springs

Ascend to the top of the Irazu Volcano at 11,260 ft, learn about the history of Costa Rica at the Ujarras Ruins, Orosi Valley, church & museum. Relax and Explore the beautiful gardens at the Rio Perlas Hotel, and enjoy the thermal pool. Begin your tour with a one-hour minivan transfer to the summit of Irazu, which is still an active volcano. Don't worry though, the volcano has only experienced occasional minor eruptions and some small lava flows in the last 50 years. Gaze at the Main Crater lake which has an unusual greenish yellow coloring caused by rainfall dissolving the minerals along the walls of the crater. Visit the four other craters including the Diego de la Haya crater. Admire panoramic views from the top, which on a rare clear day looks out onto both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Explore the national park which is home to local wildlife including armadillos, owls, rabbits, foxes, woodpeckers, and hummingbirds. After, head to the beautiful Orosi Valley and town. See the iconic Orosi Church and some of the country's most historic landmarks, including the Iglesia de San Jose de Orosi, the oldest church in the country. Get an insight into the rich culture and history of classic Spanish-colonial architecture and the area from your expert local guide. Finally, complete your journey by traveling to Rio Perlas, a beautiful hotel and hot springs complex where you can have a tasty lunch and enjoy the thermal pool, gardens, and rainforest.

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Braulio Carrillo: Rainforest Tram & Nature Walk Private Tour

5. 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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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: Crocodile Safari Expedition and Nature Walk

7. San Jose: Crocodile Safari Expedition and Nature Walk

Head out into the river on an exclusive and unique boat tour in the river with a naturalist guide. Get up close to American crocodiles and observe a variety of exotic birds. Take a walk in the Carara National Park, see the rich wildlife, and learn more about biodiversity in this fascinating region of the Central Pacific Coast. Your breathtaking adventure begins with a relaxing 90-minute private drive from San Jose, through the wonderful Costa Rican countryside with air-conditioned transportation. Arrive at Tarcoles River, home to one of the world’s largest crocodile populations in the wild. Get up-close with American crocodiles of all sizes, and observe an abundance of beautiful exotic birds on a 90-minute boat tour. Enjoy spectacular rainforest scenery and cruise through dense mangrove forest canals. Spot jungle wildlife such as iguanas, lizards, and monkeys. Tuck into a delicious lunch and explore the souvenir store, before continuing to the Carara National Park. Go deep inside the rainforest in this rich and unique ecosystem, where many beautiful wildlife species are common to see such as the Scarlet macaw, monkeys, snakes, armadillos, and over 1,400 species of plants. After this great safari, return to your hotel in San Jose.

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San Jose: Doka Estate Coffee & La Paz Waterfalls Garden Tour

8. San Jose: Doka Estate Coffee & La Paz Waterfalls Garden Tour

Immerse yourself in Costa Rican coffee, nature, and wildlife on a guided tour to Doka Estate coffee plantation and La Paz Waterfall Gardens. Begin your adventure with a hotel pickup and a relaxing private drive through the Costa Rican countryside. Pass by coffee plantations, sugar cane and citrus plantations, diverse fruit stands, and rural farming communities. Your guide will point out these sights of interest to you. After a 45-minute drive to Alajuela Province, enter the grand Doka Estate. Explore the lush surroundings before commencing the coffee tour. Learn about the step-by-step development process of plants up to the final point of grain collection. Find out about the estate’s history, its owners, the plant varieties, and the area’s geography. Get an insight into the ancient techniques used by the experts to produce some of the best-tasting coffee. Continue to your next destination, the La Paz Waterfall Gardens, which is a short drive away. This scenic nature park is home to more than 100 species of animals. Your naturalist tour guide will take you through trails that lead to 5 waterfalls. Appreciate the flowing white rivers, birds, butterflies, monkeys, and hummingbirds. Stop at educational animal exhibits. Visit a traditional house with a petting zoo and ox cart. Admire the flora and fauna of the tropical rainforest, complete with an orchid and heliconia exhibit. After building up an appetite in the ecological park, make a stop for a delicious buffet lunch. The spread includes multiple selections of traditional Costa Rican dishes, salad bar, pizza, french fries, fresh fruits, rice pudding. Enjoy this gastronomic experience with unlimited fresh fruit juice, coffee, and tea. Conclude your trip by mid-afternoon with a full belly. Take in the picturesque landscape before heading back to your hotel in San José.

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What people are saying about San José, Costa Rica

Overall rating

4.0 / 5

based on 23 reviews

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!

An excellent tour, very good information, very entertaining, we were very lucky and we were able to see the Poas volcano totally clear and the guide, Daniel, showed a great willingness to make the trip more enjoyable and complete.

Excellent tour. The guide Óscar is very knowledgeable about all the topics, very willing and very good vibes. It was a very good experience, it completely met my expectations. Fully recommended, we really enjoyed it.

The views were amazing, the coffee was excellent, and our guide Will was so funny and kind. The perfect last day in Costa Rica!

Wonderful nature, unique and fantastically beautiful, highly recommended