San José Tours - The City and Beyond

San José City Tours
San José City Tours
San José City Tours
San José City Tours
San José City Tours
San José City Tours
San José City Tours
San José City Tours
San José City Tours
San José City Tours
San José City Tours
San José City Tours
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About San José

The city of San José is the national capital and thriving economic center of Costa Rica. Today the easy-to-explore city is undergoing a renaissance with modern high-rise buildings emerging, like the Legislative Assembly Building and the Costa Rica Central Bank’s office, and the creation of the Torres River nature- urban walking path—a serene nature walk in the heart of the city. Yet it retains much of its past multicultural heritage evident in the meticulously restored elegant buildings, historical statues, and parks. Its many international restaurants offer excellent cuisine, and its theaters host numerous concerts and performances. Nightlife abounds in clubs with dancing to salsa, merengue, and even rock music! San José has several terrific museums, including The National Museum, Gold Museum, and Jade Museum. All have excellent exhibits, and the latter two feature artworks by prehistoric indigenous people.

With Costa Rica Sun Tours at the helm, travelers can gain a personal and private perspective on the area including the experiences listed in this booklet and so much more. Ask us to arrange for special access to museum exhibits, the best theatre seats, specialized wine tastings, or a private walk through Barrio Escalante Gastronomic neighborhood—sampling tasty treats and craft beer along the way! Add to this the selection of great hotels and we have a perfect pairing for a few immersive days in the San José.

 

Out and About: San José

San José City Tour

San José

San Jose City Tour

Spend a half day exploring San José with your private guide. Visit the “Jewel of San José,” the National Theatre—a masterpiece in art and architecture built by Costa Ricans and completed in 1897. Take your pick to peruse the Jade, Gold, or National Museum. Browse the aisles and select mementos at the Central Market, a city locale steeped in Costa Rican cultural heritage and traditions. Visit the Metropolitan Cathedral, the Old Train Station, the National Liquor Factory, the Legislative Assembly Building, and the Metallic Building. Beautiful parks and various other sites of interest will be interspersed on this tour—an excellent introduction to the capital city with focus on its economy, culture, politics, religion, and general current events.

Highlights: A fun and educational San José exploration featuring several of the city’s treasured locales and experiences.

Length: Half day with morning and afternoon departures.

Includes: Round trip transportation, guide, museum entrance fees.

Museums

Museo de Oro

San José

San Jose Gold Museum

Costa Rica’s Pre- Columbian Gold Museum boasts one of the largest collections of gold artifacts in Latin America. These ancient objects chronicle the history of the tribal peoples and civilizations that once inhabited the country. Some of these artifacts are more than 1,500 years old, and the collections on display at the museum reveal Costa Rica’s fascinating past. You will enjoy a fascinating variety of temporary and permanent exhibitions.

Hours: 9:15 am to 4:30 pm.
Monday to Sunday

Museo de Jade

San José

San Jose Jade Museum

The Jade Museum in downtown San José is a true definition of modern architecture, and a must-visit if you have extra time in the city. Home to the largest collection of pre-Columbian jade in the world, the museum’s four floors explore the history of jade as a weapon and trading tool. and finally adornment. In addition, you will find many objects made of clay, stone, and other materials used by Costa Rican native tribes.

Hours: 9 am to 4:30 pm.
Monday to Sunday

Museo Nacional

San José

San Jose National Museum

The National Museum was established at the end of the 19th century, in what was known as the Bellavista Barracks—a weapons warehouse and place of military instruction for recruits, to train in tactics and weapons. In 1948, Costa Rica abolished it´s army (one of the few countries in the world without one) and the museum was born. It harbors significant collections of natural history and archeology. This museum is an excellent introduction to Costa Rica’s ancient cultural legacy.

Hours: 9 am to 4:30 pm.
Tuesday to Sunday

Downtown Restaurants

Grano de Oro

Downtown

Restaurante Grano de Oro uses only the freshest ingredients to prepare French Mediterranean cuisine with a tropical influence. Priority is given to natural, sustainable, and local ingredients whenever possible. Under the expertise of a French chef, Francis Canal, this haute cuisine restaurant is a trendy place for locals and tourists alike.

Food Type: French Mediterranean with tropical influence

Contact: 2255-3322

La Esquina de Buenos Aires

Downtown

Tucked into a small corner of San José, La Esquina de Buenos Aires is faithfully committed to serving local Argentinean cuisine. The vibe here is a cheerful, relaxed, warm, cosmopolitan, sensual atmosphere amid the limited nightlife scene in San José.

Food Type: Steakhouse, Latin, Argentinean

Contact: 2223-1909

Tin Jo

Downtown

Traditional cuisine converges with Asian cuisine at the Tin Jo Restaurant. Tin Jo Restaurant serves myriad flavors including Chinese, Japanese, Indian, Indonesian, Vietnamese, and other regions of Asia. Enjoy some of the tastiest meals at Tin Jo!

Food Type: Japanese, Indian, Asian.

Contact: 2221-7605

Barrio Escalante Restaurants

Il Volpino Pizzería

Barrio Escalante

Artisanal pizza at its best! Il Volpino is an informal and cozy eatery known for their creative and oh-so-tasty pizzas and homemade sangria. Additional menu items include tapas, salads, and other beverages. A great spot in a trendy neighborhood.

Food Type: Italian, Pizza, Healthy

Contact: 4702-6367

El Mosaico Coffee & Garden

Barrio Escalante

El Mosaico is ideally located in the Escalante neighborhood. Its owners and partners, Mario Madriz, a dentist, and Elías Aguilar a chef, welcome visitors to enjoy their excellent fusion food restaurant. Delicious meals and a wide range of cocktails with a welcoming ambiance.

Food Type: Pizza, Fusion

Contact: 2101-6967

Alma de Árbol

Barrio Escalante

Alma de Árbol offers a fresh menu full of flavor and choice with consideration for all diners including options that fit vegetarian, vegan, lactose-free, and gluten-free diets. The atmosphere is cozy, every detail has been taken care of, and you will feel welcome every time you visit.

Food Type: Italian, American, Fusion, South and Central American.

Contact: 2223-1909

Sofía Mediterraneo

Barrio Escalante

An extensive menu with influence from the culinary and cultural wealth of the 22 Mediterranean countries: European, African, and Asian. The concept is to cook from tradition, with elements of innovation, in a healthy, responsible, and sustainable way, ecologically and socially. For Sofía´s restaurant, serving, cooking, and talking about food is the most natural thing in the world. It is an integral part of their lives.

Food Type: Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, Vegetarian

Contact: 2224-5050

Garden Bistro

Barrio Escalante

Garden Bistro is casual and contemporary featuring local artwork with daytime focus on great coffee, tea and gourmet meals. As evening comes, expect delicious and dimly lit dinners fusing traditional techniques with a modern twist, and good wines, craft cocktails, and music that delights the soul.

Food Type: Latin, Brew Pub, Costa Rican Fusion.

Contact: 6119-8938

Costa Rica Beer Factory

Barrio Escalante

A mandatory stop in San José! The team at Costa Rica Beer Factory are experts in cuisine and craft beer. Located in Barrio Escalante, this is a place you must visit. Their passion and love for good food and excellent beer translate into dining experiences and an atmosphere that only Beer Factory can give.

Food Type: Italian, American, Fusion, South and Central American

Contact: 2223-1909

Beyond San José: Day Tours

Toucan Rescue Ranch + Sanctuary

San Josecito

San Jose Tourcan Rescue Ranch

Located near San José, the Toucan Rescue Ranch Sanctuary is a nonprofit organization that provides top-notch treatment and care while it rescues and rehabilitates a variety of wildlife in need of a second chance. During an educational walk, the knowledgeable and personable guides will share fun facts about each species. This is a great activity to learn how to spot animals in the wild— perfect to add to the start of your Costa Rica adventure.

Highlights: Enjoy sloths, toucans, parrots, macaws, and other animals at this premier wildlife center.

Length: Half day, morning and afternoon departures.

Includes: Local guide, entrance fees.

Doka Coffee Farm + Poás Volcano

Poás Volcano National Park

Start your day with a morning visit to Doka Coffee Estate— one of the most famous coffee farms in Costa Rica. Enjoy a tasty breakfast with a cup of high-quality coffee then join your expert guide to learn about harvesting and best practices to process the golden bean! After, visit the Poás Volcano National Park. With a summit of 2,708 meters, Poás has an active crater (one of the largest in the world!) with steam and fumaroles visible on clear days from a specially made refuge. The park is home to resident birds like the Resplendent Quetzal, the Fiery-throated Hummingbird and the Sooty Thrush.

Highlights: One of the best coffee learning and tasting experiences and an active volcano to discover! Makes the perfect combination of cultural and nature activities in Costa Rica

Length: Full day with morning departures.

Includes: Transport, local guide, entrance fees, breakfast.

Doka Coffee Farm

Sarapiquí White Water Rafting

Sarapiquí

Sarapiquí White Water Rafting

The Sarapiquí River descends from the central mountains into the Caribbean lowlands passing through lush rainforests and farmlands. Just an hour away from La Fortuna, enjoy over 2 hours of rafting along a 15 km section of exciting white-water Class II-III rapid—a guaranteed fun experience! The rafts fit 4 to 6 passengers and guide and are followed by safety kayakers. Lower sections of the river are suitable for families and an upper section of the river is suitable for those looking for more challenging rapids.

Highlights: Best Class III River near San José. Great for wildlife. Perfect combination of nature and adventure! Certified guides. Tropical fruit snacks.

Length: Full day with morning departures.

Includes: Round trip transportation, local guide, entrance fees, lunch, gear as needed.

Irazú Volcano National Park

Irazú Volcano National Park

The Irazú Volcano National Park has several craters, two of which are the principal attractions. The larger crater is 275- meters deep with a blue/green lake, providing visitors an amazing sight. On a clear day, the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea are visible. At the 3,432-meter summit of Irazú, the landscape flourishes with paramo like vegetation comprised of small flowering shrubs and dwarf trees. Nearby, an immaculate montane oak forest dominates the landscape. Animals like coatis are seen on occasion, and regularly you will find birds like the volcano junco and the volcano hummingbird—one of the smallest bird species in Costa Rica! There are several trails to explore, the most popular one leads to the top of the volcano.

Highlights: Spectacular views on clear days of the crater and nearby cordilleras. Great habitat for hummingbirds and other endemic bird species.

Length: Half day, morning departures.

Includes: Transportation, local guide, entrance fees.

Irazú Volcano National Park

La Paz Waterfalls + Gardens

Sarapiquí

La Paz Waterfalls + Gardens

Only an hour’s drive from San José, La Paz Waterfall Gardens hosts many exhibits including hummingbird gardens, a butterfly garden, and a frog exhibit—it is the largest animal sanctuary in Costa Rica. An excellent trail system will lead you up close to view five spectacular waterfalls in the rainforest. Their mission is to preserve and protect the natural environment of the area for the education, entertainment, and enjoyment of all ages.

Highlights: Enjoy nature activities and wildlife at the famous La Paz Waterfall Gardens Nature Park! An excellent trail system brings you up close to five spectacular waterfalls in the cloud forest!

Length: Full day with morning departures.

Includes: Transport, local guide, entrance fees.

Artisan Coffee Tour

San Marco De Tarrazú

Tierra Amiga is a beautiful coffee farm in San Marco de Tarrazú, just an hour and a half from San José. Owned and operated by Lucidia, Minor, and their young daughter Ruth, this is an ecological farm where everything is produced organically. The 80-year-old wooden home on the property is where Minor was born and now Ruth is following in her father’s footsteps. This lovely family will share the coffee process from seed to cup—ending with tasting the delicious fresh brew! Lunch will be enjoyed on the patio of a beautiful ranch. An experience to immerse yourself in the culture— 100% Costa Rican!

Highlights: Learn about coffee, take in spectacular views of the surrounding mountains, and meet local people!

Length: Half day, morning departures.

Includes: Transportation, local guide, lunch.

Artisan Coffee Tour

Doña Flory Local Lunch

San Ramón

Doña Flory Local Lunch

Doña Flory and Don Emilio are lifelong residents of La Paz. On any given weekend, just follow the aroma to their home and you’ll be treated to a delicious and typically tico meal by Doña Flory. In addition to working his farm growing coffee and sugar cane, Don Emilio runs the renowned Trapiche Los Hermanos Arias—a traditional sugar cane mill where he and his brothers have been producing juices, natural sugar, and sweets for more than three decades! The property is also home to nature trails and beautiful birding gardens. We love to include this lunch stop en-route north from San José—delicioso!

Highlights: Learn about sugar cane processing while meeting a friendly Costa Rican family and taste the local cuisine!

Length: Half day, morning departures.

Includes: Transport, local guide, lunch.

Arenal Volcano + Hot Springs

La Fortuna

In north-central Costa Rica, near the town of La Fortuna, the picture-perfect Arenal Volcano rises majestically above the surrounding lowland plains. The area offers natural beauty and fantastic wildlife. En route to Arenal, you will stop at the famous town of Sarchí, known as the birthplace of Costa Rica’s Artisans—a great chance to appreciate many of the arts, crafts, and souvenirs. Also, you will see the world’s largest oxcart, according to the Guinness Book. Continue through a diverse agricultural landscape, including pineapple, mango, and plantain farms, ornamental plants, fields, and even cattle ranches before arriving in the small town of La Fortuna. Enjoy lunch at a cozy restaurant with a magnificent view of the volcano before a chance to relax at one of the best hot springs in the area. To top off a great day, a wonderful dinner will be served with a great view of the volcano before returning to San José. If the weather permits, you will have one more opportunity to look at the classically shaped volcano.

Highlights: Enjoy a scenic drive to La Fortuna. An excellent chance to see a classically shaped volcano. Discover the world’s largest oxcart! Soak in hot springs.

Length: Full day with morning departures

Includes: Transportation, entrance fees, local guide and hot springs (spa at extra cost).

Arenal Volcano and Hot Springs Tour

An Authentic Rainforest Experience

Sarapiquí

An Authentic Rainforest Experience

On this boat tour, you observe the exuberant tropical flora and fauna of the majestic and historic Sarapiquí River. You can spot monkeys, iguanas, crocodiles, lazy sloths, river otters, and caimans, among other creatures in their natural habitat, as well as a great diversity of colorful birds. The boats are comfortable and equipped with quiet motors and the experienced captains will be on the look-out for wildlife sightings for you! Continue with a walk on the private trails of Selva Verde Eco Lodge—heaven for nature enthusiasts. Following a tasty lunch, stop for a gondola ride through the tree canopy on the famous Rainforest Aerial Tram. For adventure seekers, a zip line is available if you prefer.

Highlights: A boat safari through tropical rainforest, walk private trails, and take an aerial tram ride through the treetops to enjoy nature and abundant wildlife.

Length: Full day, morning departures.

Includes: Transportation, local guide, entrance fees, lunch, gear as needed.

Rainforest Chocolate Tour In Sarapiquí

Sarapiquí

This sweet chocolate tour is designed as a fun and educational activity. You will learn many interesting aspects about the cocoa pods, cacao’s native origin, an introduction to its history, and the production process— from the harvesting of the fruit, drying and grinding of the seed to a handmade organic chocolate! Of course, there is the chance to taste it through all the stages of this marvelous chocolate process. A great tour for families, children love it!

Highlights: Great for families! Enjoy the sweetest rainforest experience, discovering the ancient secrets of chocolate!

Length: Half day, morning and afternoon departures.

Includes: Transport, local guide, chocolate tasting.

Rainforest Chocolate Tour In Sarapiquí

San Luis Canopy Tour

Central Valley

San Luis Canopy Tour

Set in the serene cloud forests of Costa Rica’s Central Valley region, the San Luis Canopy Tour will take you on an exhilarating and safe adventure through lush, green canopy and across the majestic Cataratitas River. Carried securely by a system of zip lines, you will soar weightlessly through the expanse of virgin forest grounds and find yourself up-close-and- personal with the habitats of Costa Rica’s unique cloud forest wildlife. The San Luis Canopy Tour also presents the Elevator, an exciting feature that securely lifts visitors high above the forest canopy, granting a paramount view of the surrounding area. San Luis Canopy Tour ensures safety as a keystone principle: they take pride in their credentials and confidently guarantee that this tour is among the most professional, informative, and enjoyable in Costa Rica. San Luis Canopy has 12 different zip lines and 18 platforms, plus their famous “Tarzan Swing Trails” and “Fly like Superman.”

Highlights: Some of the best views while zipping through the cloud forest canopy! Adrenaline guaranteed! With luck, you will have an eye-level view of monkeys, flocks of colorful birds, orchids, and butterflies. Fly like Superman!

Length: Full day with morning departures

Includes: Transportation, entrance fees, local guide and gear as needed.

Wine Tasting In The Cloud Forest

Copey De Dota

Copey Estate Winery is the first and only commercial winery in Costa Rica and Central America and the first and only liqueur producer from the famous Golden Berry (considered a superfood). It is located in a unique place (Copey de Dota), practically in the center of Costa Rica, at an altitude of 2300 meters—an area that enjoys a temperate climate and high solar radiation during most of the year, which is a perfect combination that enhances incredible flavors in the fruits. This “Wine + Golden Rush” experience gives you a tour around the terroir that lends the wines an unparalleled flavor, ending with a tasting of four wines and two different ways to drink the Golden Rush liqueur with its pairing.

Highlights: One of the first Costa Rican wines produced in the cloud forest belt as well as the Golden Rush, a drink made of the famous uchuva or goldenberry. Beautiful views!

Length: Full day, morning departures

Includes: Transportation, local guide, entrance fees, lunch, gear as needed.

Wine Tasting In The Cloud Forest

Coffee Tour At Coopedota

Santa María De Dota

Coffee Tour At Coopedota

This one-day tour seeks to give all the historical context and traceability of one the most famous coffee regions in the world with focus on quality and making the visitor part of a genuine and educational experience. This tour includes visiting the coffee plantations and learning about the milling process, the roasting, and the national and international marketing of the Costa Rican coffee, see the process through from the crop to the cup, ending the tour with a beverage at the coffee shop.

Highlights: From seed to coffee cup—arouse your senses with the aroma, texture, and taste of each coffee variety at one of the coffee mills in Costa Rica!

Length: Half day, morning and afternoon departures.

Includes: Transport, local guide, coffee tasting.

Tortuga Island Cruise

Puntarenas

Take the route to Puntarenas, where you will board a yacht to Turtle Island, located in the Gulf of Nicoya. At Tortuga Island, you will experience a day full of beautiful skies, great ocean views, and live music. On board the yacht, savory tropical fruits and refreshing natural drinks will be served. There is plenty of time to explore the island, immersing yourself in the calm, clear waters, and lush landscape, where you can swim, sunbathe, or take an optional tour like kayaking or canopy. The crew will prepare a delicious lunch.

Highlights: Beautiful views of the Archipelago of Nicoya. Time to relax and have fun at the beach on this unique Island.

Length: Full day with morning departures.

Includes: Transportation, local guide, box breakfast, maritime transport on board Bay’s Princess Yacht, tropical fruits, natural drinks and snacks.

Tortuga Island Cruise