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country Costa Rica
duration 2 nights
attribute Breakfast
attribute Hotel
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Begin your trip in San José

San José is where your holiday starts. The city is the capital of Costa Rica and is located in the Central Valley, surrounded by green mountains. It has a compact city center with narrow shopping streets and markets where you can buy almost everything, from exotic fruits and vegetables, to bikini’s and local rum. 

In recent years, many neighbourhoods in the centre of town received a facelift. Now Barrio Escalante is the place to be for a nice dinner in the evening. Here you find a great variety of nice restaurants and bars, offering local and international cuisine.

  • Perfect location to start or end your holiday
  • Vibrant city center
  • Nice parks
  • Covered markets
  • Great for day trips

City center San Jose

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City center San Jose

In the city center you can admire a few of historic buildings, including the Teatro Nacional from 1928 and the national post office from 1917. There are also several museums and nice parks to sit and relax and enjoy the busy street life. Of course you can explore the city center by yourself, but there’s also a free city tour that departs from the Teatro Nacional every day (except Sundays) at 10.00 am.

Day trips around San Jose

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Day trips around San Jose

If you want to escape the busy streets in the city centre, you can go to La Sabana park. Especially during the weekends, local families gather here to relax, play and eat/drink together. From San Jose, you can book various nice day trips. Visit for example the Irazú volcano, at 3400 meters the highest volcano in Costa Rica with a beautiful blue-green crater lake. If you want to know more about cacao or coffee, you can go on a nice guided excursions. Exploring the Orosi valley and the town of Cachi is another nice trip.

Excursions

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Excursions

You can also drive about an hour and a half through beautiful areas, an interesting coffee tour. A little further you will find the La Paz waterfall gardens. These gardens with impressive waterfalls, a butterfly garden, bird garden, snake garden and a humming garden are really worth a visit. These day trips can be done with your own rental car, you can also combine them in an organized day tour including transport and lunch.

First impression of San Jose

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Remco and Louise

Simple hotel with a good location in the centre of San José. Although it is not really a beautiful city, it is nice to spend a day there. Do you want to know what we did? Read our extensive travel blog.

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Tom and Liselotte

We did not think San Jose was such a nice city, based on everything we heard a read before coming to Costa Rica. Thanks to our city tour with Scott we got a very positive impression and had a great day. We also have a nice recommendation for a stop when you drive from the Pacific coast to San Jose: Restaurante Mi Finca, near the junction of route 18 to route 1. In addition to the delicious lunch and juices they serve, you can spot at least 20 beautiful macaw’s / macaws in all colours. Awesome to see them fly over a few times so we could see them from up close. What we also recommend to other travellers, is to go out for dinner to local restaurants, such as sodas. Saves a lot of money and it is (we thought) very tasty!

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Oldewarris family

Nice location, comfortable hotel and close to the center!

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Gierman family

The hotel in San Jose was a wonderful start of our trip and it was nice coming back here again before flying back home. We even got an upgrade to a nicer room for the last night. The dinner in the restaurant was also fantastic. San Jose is not a very special city, but the walk with the guide on the first day was a lot of fun and a nice introduction to a new country.

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Koos and Marian

From San Jose we visited the Poas volcano. We arrived early and we were rewarded with a great view of the crater and a fantastic view of the surrounding area.

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Gerard and Wendy

Upong arrival in San Jose, we felt good about having booked our trip with Edventure.  Our driver, despite a one hour delay, was very correct and gave us a pleasant ride to our hotel. The next day at our hotel in San Jose we received a detailed explanation of our trip from Renée. A great start!

Insider recommendations from Renee!

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Insider recommendations from Renee!

1. If you want to take home a nice souvenir from your vacation in Costa Rica, stop by Hola Lola shop in San José and get enchanted by the colorful work of local illustrator Priscilla Aguirre. No time? You can now buy her work in the shops at the airport and via www.holalolashop.com!

2. During the day you can make an interactive city walk with locals, for example via Free Walking Tour, Chepecletas or Scott’s Walking Tours. All tours are in English and can be fully adjusted to your interests.

3. Do not want to eat in your San Jose hotel in the evening? Then take a taxi and drive to the ‘Calle Gastronomico’, here you will find a variety of nice restaurants and bars offering both local and international cuisine.

The following destinations are close to this travel package:

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White water rafting in Orosi
The rivers near the Turrialba National Park are famous for their ferocious waters and offer a great white water rafting experience. In addition, you can hike beautiful trails, go horseback riding and of course climb the active volcano Turrialba. This region offers plenty to both nature lovers and adrenaline seekers, enjoy your stay here!
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Discover volcano Arenal from La Fortuna
The Arenal volcano is one of the seven active volcanoes in Costa Rica. The little town of La Fortuna at its foot has developed into an important travel destination and offers a wide variety of restaurant, shops and bars, but also great tours.
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Get inspired at this sustainable Ranch in El Castillo
Stay in a unique sustainable eco-lodge of Costa Rica! El Castillo is a small village at the foot of the Arenal volcano, the most famous volcano in Costa Rica. You stay at an inspiring location, literally at the end of the road. Here, you eat what the land, cows, pigs and chicken have to offer. Everything is grown and prepared in an organic way and super fresh! You can experience the farm life yourself as well by helping to collect eggs and milk cows. Later on, you can take a relaxing yoga class or dive into the natural pool. Enjoy!
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Stay at a real ‘finca’ in Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui
Finca Sura is a typical Costa Rican family run farm. Don Rodolfo, his wife Doña Rosa and their 8 adult children will warmly welcome you at the finca and will happily share their lives with you for a couple of days. You will stay in basic, but comfortable bungalows and the culinary skills of Doña Rosa will pamper your tastebuds and make these few days unforgettable. Experience the true Pura Vida of Costa Rica here at Finca Sura!
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The best chocolate in authentic Sarapiqui
Sarapiqui was originally a small town on the banks of the Sarapiqui River. In the region you find many cacao, coffee, pineapple and banana plantations. Join Jean-Pierre, the Belgian owner of the lodge you're staying, on his tour and learn more about the history of cacao and chocolate!
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One with nature in the lagoon of Barra Pacuare
If you want to enjoy the nature reserve of Tortuguero in its purest, natural form and don't mind staying at a basic accommodation in the middle of the jungle, then you will certainly like this trip to Barra Pacuare. Your lodge can only be reached by boat and you will explore the surrounding canals with a friendly, professional guide. Wifi and mobile networks do not work here, so go off the grid for a few days and immerse yourself in nature.
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Wildlife paradise Tortuguero: from green macaw to sea turtle
The Tortuguero National Park or the 'little Amazon' is a great place to start your holiday in Costa Rica. The region offers vibrant wildlife (you can easily spot monkeys, birds, caimans and iguanas), stunning jungle and it is the most important nesting spot for various species of sea turtles.
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End your trip relaxed in Ajaluela near the Poas volcano
Upon arrival in or departure from San Jose, you can also choose to stay in a hotel further away from the hustle and bustle of the city centre. In Alajuela, there's a nice family oriented hotel with a tropical garden and swimming pool. This invites you to either relax after a long journey by plane or enjoy a dive in the pool for the last time before departure! From here you can also go to Poas Volcano National Park.
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Off Road with a 4WD with rooftop tent
Are you up for adventure? Take a road trip in a 4WD rental car with a rooftop tent! Find a sunny beach or go off road into the jungle and park your car on a beautiful spot in the wild. There are also lots of campsites where you can stay for a small fee. A road trip can be perfectly combined with other destinations in a self-drive holiday. This way you can combine pure adventure with the comfort of hotels and lodges.

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