San Jose Tours
One Day Tours in San Jose Costa Rica
Plus Recommended San Jose Hotels and Booking Service
Flying in or out of San Jose Costa Rica? Have a little time to spare? Listed below are several great one day tour options you can opt for.
Need to find a hotel in San Jose either downtown or near the airport? Check out our recommended hotel choices and booking service, click here.
RECOMMENDED ONE DAY TOURS OUT OF SAN JOSE
1. Irazu Volcano National Park
Price: $49Duration: 5.5 hoursPick-up time approx 6.30am
The tour starts with a pick-up from your hotel. A bilingual guide will be with you as you travel south along a winding road up towards Irazu volcano. The scenic route passes through farms and small villages.
Irazu Volcano is Costa Rica’s highest active volcano although it is has been dormant since 1965. Earthquake studies still show that magma is moving beneath the volcano. In past times Irazú has erupted over 20 times since its first noted eruption in 1723. It’s most famous recent eruption was between 1963 and 1965 which covered the surrounding areas including the center of San Jose in ash for two years.
At the volcano (on a clear day!) you get a panoramic view of the city and see both the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. The volcano's summit has several craters, one of which contains a beautiful green crater lake. You will have a chance to spend some time at the massive crater and walk around the volcanic landscape, before we begin the beautiful descent to San Jose.
Along the way you will stop at historical Cartago City, the first capital of Costa Rica, founded in 1593. Cartago was severely damaged by major earthquakes in the 1900’s and still represents the oldest existing Spanish settlement in Costa Rica. We will visit the famous Church of Angels (Basílica de Nuestra Señora de Los Ángeles) which is home to the Virgin Shrine of Costa Rica.
Bring/wear: comfortable walking shoes/sports sandals, camera, hat, sunscreen and binoculars and rain coat.
- Roundtrip Transportation- Bilingual guide (English/Spanish)- Entrance fees to Irazú Volcano National Park
Price: $86ppPick-up time: approx. 6.30amDuration: 10 hours approx.
After visiting Irazu Volcano (see above) and Cartago we will continue on the way to the Lankester Gardens which is run by the University of Costa as a research center. Charles Lankester designed the gardens in the 1940’s and after his death they were eventually donated to the University of Costa Rica. Today the gardens cover around 11 hectares (27.2 acres) and are home to over 3000 species of plants including orchids and bromeliads.After visiting Lankester we will continue on to the stunningly beautiful Orosi Valley. The valley has the picturesque Reventazon river running though it and the valley sides are full of coffee plantations as the cultivation of coffee is the leading industry. We will stop in the village to see the Costa Rica’s oldest church built in 1743 and is still in use and then stop for lunch at one of the local restaurants.
Bring/wear: comfortable walking shoes/sports sandals, camera, hat, sunscreen and binoculars, rain coat and insect repellant
- Roundtrip Transportation from your hotel in San Jose- Bilingual guide (English/Spanish)- Entrance fees to Irazu Volcano National Park and Lankester Gardens- Lunch
Price: $49Pick-up time: approx. 7.30amDuration: 4.5 hours approx
Poas is a live volcano and has erupted over 35 times since 1828: It has the largest active crater in the world being 1.6km wides and 320m deep with frequent geyser-type eruptions: Near the crater there are lakes of molten sulfur thought to be unique examples of their kind in the world. Additionally there is an extinct crater filled by Lake Botos which is home to many tropical birds, including the famous resplendent quetzal.
This tour begins with a scenic drive through the local farms and beautiful coffee plantations in the area. On arrival at the nearly 10,000 hectare Poas Volcano National Park, you will have time to explore the area and the tour includes a guided hike through the surrounding forest and tropical lagoon.
Bring/wear: comfortable walking shoes/sports sandals, camera, hat, sunscreen and binoculars, rain coat, sweater and insect repellant
- Transportation- Bilingual guide (English/Spanish)- Entrance fee to Poás Volcano National Park
Price: $45ppPick-up time: approx. 10.00amDuration: 5.5 hours
Grecia is located in the province of Alajuela. The pretty approach to Grecia is due to the many fields of sugar cane which surround the area. It is a beautiful town considered one of the cleanest in Latin America and visited by tourists who come to see the unique, deep red Cathedral de la Mercedes. This gothic style church is made from metal pieces, imported from Belgium in the 1890s and the church is both impressive in the inside as well as the outside.
We continue to Sarchi, known as the ‘Cradle of Costa Rican Artisans’ because of its fine hand crafted furniture, located in wood workshops throughout the area. Sarchi is especially known for its colourful, decorative hand oxcarts which have become national symbols You will have time to watch the local artisans creating them. Also, spread though the entire town are shops selling hand-crafted wooden furniture, jewelery and souvenirs.
Tour includes a stop at Doka Coffee Plantation
Bring/wear: comfortable walking shoes/sports sandals, camera, hat, sunscreen and binoculars and rain coat
- Roundtrip Transportation frpm your hotel in San Jose- Bilingual Guide - Lunch
Price: $73Pick-up time: approx. 7.30amDuration: 10 hour
A great day out on this fun filled combo package. Your first stop will be to Poas Volcano (more about the Poas Tour) and then to the Doka coffee plantations which is an interesting tour of a working coffee farm, to learn about the process of making some of the best coffee in Costa Rica, including the cultivation, harvesting and roasting of the Golden Bean . And of course you will be able to taste the final product!At Doka we will have lunch before setting off to Grecia to see the metal church and finally to the heart of the artisans´ workshops in Sarchi (more information about Grecia and Sarchi).
Bring/wear: comfortable walking shoes/sports sandals, camera, hat, sunscreen and binoculars, insect repellant and rain coat
- Round Trip Transportation- Bilingual guide (English/Spanish)- Entrance fee to Poás Volcano National Park- Entrance fee to Coffee Tour- Lunch
Price: $100Pick-up time: approx. 7.30amDuration: 10 hours
This is a combination of Poas Volcano (described above), Doka Coffee and La Paz Waterfalls.
On the way to visiting Poas Volcano we will visit the Doka Coffee Plantation. At the plantation, a delicious breakfast will be waiting before you go on an interesting tour of a working coffee farm, to learn about the process of making some of the best coffee in Costa Rica, including the cultivation, harvesting and roasting of the Golden Bean . And of course you will be able to taste the final product!
After the coffee tour we will continue to the Poás Volcano (as described in the tour above) before going on to La Paz Waterfalls. The River Paz (which means ‘peace’) forms the waterfalls after traversing 8 km of volcano terrain before crossing rainforests on the eastern side of Poas Volcano. La Paz Waterfall Gardens has a trail system that follows a series of beautiful waterfalls, including the ‘White Magic Waterfall’, the most spectacular one in the area.. Inside the park we will also visit the largest butterfly observatory in the country, an impressive hummingbird gallery, serpentarium, a bird house and an exhibition of frogs.
Once we have finished our tour we will have a delicious lunch buffet and then begin our return trip to San Jose.
Bring/wear: comfortable walking shoes/sports sandals, camera, hat, sunscreen and binoculars, insect repellant and rain coat
•Roundtrip Transportation from your hotel•Bilingual guide (English/Spanish)•Entrance fee to Poás Volcano National Park, La Paz Waterfall Gardens and Doka Coffee Tour•Breakfast•Lunch
Price: $44Pick-up time: approx. 1.00pmDuration: 4.5 hours approx
A bilingual guided tour in an a/c bus which will take you to see: the Democracy Plaza, the National Museum, the National Court, Los Yoses, San Pedro Mall, Hispanidad Fountain and the Rodrigo Facio Campus on the University of Costa Rica. Our first stops where we can walk around to further explore will be the impressive Pre-Columbian Gold Museum and the beautiful National Theater (note that on Sundays, the National Theater is closed so we will only be able to see it from the outside).
After our visit, we continues through the western section of San Jose: La Sabana Metropolitan Park (which was the first International Airport in Costa Rica), Costa Rican Contemporary Art Museum , the National Gymnasium, the wealthy residential area of Rohrmoser, the Nunciatura, the Nobel Peace Prize Winner and Republic President Oscar Arias Sanchez’s home, the Rohrmoser Boulevard and Pavas areas.
At the end of the tour, you will have the opportunity of visiting an interesting souvenir shop.
Bring/wear: comfortable walking shoes/sports sandals, camera and rain jacket
- Round trip transportation- Bilingual guide (English/Spanish)- Entrance fees to Gold Museum and National Theater
Price: $124Pick-up time: approx. 6.00amDuration: 11.5 hours
Please check which days this runs on
We depart from San Jose towards the Pacific coast via the Old Spanish Road with a briefly stop along the way for breakfast. Our first destination will be a boat ride along the Tarcoles River – famous for its enormous crocodiles! Our guides will also point out the many water and migratory birds.
After our boat ride we will carry onto Punta Leona, one of the most beautiful protected areas of the region. Punta Leona Resort is an exotic paradise surrounded by 750 hectares of transitional tropical wet forest. You will have all day free to explore this beautiful place, use the resort’s pools, walk along the white-sanded beaches and swim in the deep blue pacific ocean. You will also be able to participate in the various optional activities such as water sports. The tour includes a delicious lunch served in one of the local restaurants.
In the afternoon you have the opportunity to enjoy an optional 1.5 hour guided walk through the surrounding lush jungle.
After watching (the usually!) spectacular sunset in Punta Leona we will return to San Jose.
Bring/wear: For the river: hat, sun block, insect repellent, binoculars and camera.For the resort: shorts, sandals, towel and swimsuit.For the jungle (optional) walking shoes.
- Transportation- Bilingual guide (English/Spanish)- Boat tour on the Tárcoles River- Entrance fee to Punta Leona Resort- Lunch
Price: $115 Pick-up time: approx. 6.00amDuration: 14 hours
If have a day to spare and you still want more beach time, you can't go wrong with the Tortuga Island. This truly is paradise with perfect white sand beaches, coconut palms and the beautiful pacific ocean, all located in the Golf of Nicoya on the Central Pacific Coast of Costa Rica.
The drive to the dock is about 1.5 hours from San José. We will stop for breakfast before boarding the 71-foot Catamaran Manta Raya for an unforgettable trip to Tortuga Island (Turtle Island). The Manta Raya has a lrage deck area where you can relax, as well as take fresh water showers As you calmly cruise to Tortuga, you might be lucky and spot dolphins, sea turtles and aquatic birds. The Manta Raya has a bow ramp allowing easy disembarkation onto the beach.Once at Tortuga Island you are free to indulge yourselves ..... plenty of time to relax on the beaches, swim, or walk on the adventurous island trails before enjoying delicious freshly prepared lunch served. Until the end of Nov 2011, the tour also includes an optional tour on a banana boat and snorkeling (check to see if this special offer still applies after Nov).
- Swimsuit- Sunblock- Sandals- Cool comfortable clothes- Towel- Camera
• Bus (equipped with A/C) Transportation to Calypso´s private dock and coffee shop from San José, Jacó, Quepos/Manuel Antonio and Monteverde • Multilingual Guide• Typical Costa Rican breakfast(Served on the way to Puntarenas) • Complimentary service onboard Manta Raya- Freshly brewed, hot Costa Rican coffee - A selection of fresh tropical fruits- Ice cold fruit juice and soft drinks• Elegant dining at Tortuga Island (Four course meal featured in Gourmet Magazine)- Appetizer :- Calypso’s famous, prize winning Ceviche- Salad Bar :- Mixed green salad with Italian vinaigrette dressing- Fresh carrot salad with raisins and orange juice- Creamy pasta primavera salad- Refreshing cucumber dill & sour cream salad- Entree :- Freshly grated coconut encrusted breast of chicken cooked to perfection and covered in a delightful tropical sauce- Steamed rice and hot garlic bread- Ice cold white wine - Dessert :- Piña Colada Cake- Savory Costa Rican coffee• Live Music• Snorkeling Excursion• Banana Boat
Price: $106Pick-up time: approx. 6.00am and 12.00pmDuration: 7 hours
The Aerial Tram is a great option to see the rain forest from a unique view point. A relaxing guided tour through the canopy of a primary rainforest. Great for all the family!
Our tour sets off from San Jose and within twenty minutes you will cross the Continental Divide and enter the stunningly beautiful Braulio Carrillo National Park. After a 30 minute through the park, your transport will arrive at the 1000 acre private reserve of virgin forest. Here an open-sided shuttle bus will transport you to the Visitor Center, along the way you will pass a small river and numerous nesting holes of various birds - such as the White Hawk and Pale-billed Woodpecker.
First there is a brief talk on exploring the canopy and the construction of the tram, and then there is an optional hike. This is an excellent introduction to the rain forest and takes 45 to 90 minutes along well tended trails with a naturalist guide. After the hike you will board the Aerial Tram. The cable cars are Open-sided and hold 5 passengers and a nature guide, who will point out birds, orchids and different species of trees. The tram ride lasts about an hour and fifteen minutes with some stops to allow passengers to board.
The first part of the ride you will skim over hilltops and go in and out of the sub-canopy, a dark world of trees and branches with mosses, ferns, lianas, vines and orchids. The dramatic return leg is over the breath airy canopy.
Bring/wear: - Cool comfortable clothes- Walking shoes- Insect repellent- Rain poncho- Camera- Binoculars
- Round trip transportation from/to San Jose downtown hotels- One meal (breakfast or lunch depending on departure time)- Introductory video- Guided walking tour- Tram Ride accompanied by an experienced-bilingual guide (Spanish/English).