San José, Costa Rica
Hiking & Trekking

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Our most recommended San José, Costa Rica Hiking & Trekking

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

2. 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: Guided Nature Walk With Biologists Seeking Sloths

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

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

5. 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

6. 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

7. 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

8. 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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Other Sightseeing Options in San José, Costa Rica

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What people are saying about San José, Costa Rica

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

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