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Things to do in

San José Province

Our most recommended things to do in San José Province

La Fortuna: Waterfall, Arenal Volcano and Hot Springs Tour

1. La Fortuna: Waterfall, Arenal Volcano and Hot Springs Tour

Escape into the nature of the La Fortuna on a guided hike. Walk by the river and follow a trail to a panoramic viewpoint. Have a delicious lunch at a Maluku Indian village and trek through forest, lava fields, and farmlands before relaxing at a natural hot spring resort with a drink. Be collected at your accommodation and be driven to the beginning of the forest walk. Trek on the easy track along the crystal clear La Fortuna river. En route, hop on a tractor cart uphill to a panoramic viewpoint. Spot the next location from a distance then begin the return walk down a jungle staircase. Halfway down is a high suspension bridge to cross. The trail leads further down the huge canyon, which was shaped by a volcanic mega-eruption. Encounter the spectacular La Fortuna waterfall. Be amazed by the lush vegetation on its 70-meter high walls, the huge volcanic rocks at its foot, and the water splashing down in its massive pool. Bask in its beauty or even take a refreshing dip. Return to the viewpoint then walk down to the little village of the Maluku Indians. Seated in their Palenke (main house), enjoy a rest while listening to an interesting story about their culture, art, and history.  After being active for a few hours, the time has come to relax and enjoy a typical hot lunch. Next to the restaurant is a butterfly garden and frog pond that you can explore until your food is served.  Reenergized, take a 15-minute ride to the park at the foot of the Arenal volcano. Being the trek through the primary forest where you can see huge trees with giant roots. Besides a variety of birds, the forest is host to monkeys, sloths, and coati. Leave the forest and each the highest viewpoint that exists around the volcano and absorb the most spectacular panoramic views of Lake Arenal, the jungle, the valley, the lava fields, and most of all the Arenal that towers over you.  Conclude your tour at the natural hot spring resort. Relax in its soothing warm water for about an hour and enjoy a volcanic mud facial and a complimentary cocktail. Afterward, you will be taken back to your accommodation.

La Fortuna Waterfall, Volcano and Hanging Bridges Combo

2. La Fortuna Waterfall, Volcano and Hanging Bridges Combo

Benefit from pick-up at your hotel in the La Fortuna area, and travel to Arenal Volcano to hike the paths surrounding the mighty mountain. Get back to nature in Arenal Volcano National Park, where most of the 850 species of bird identified in Costa Rica can be found. Look out for other wildlife, such as white-faced capuchin monkeys, jaguars and deer. Marvel at the stunning landscapes of a secondary rainforest at the base of the park, and a primary rainforest with amazing biodiversity amongst the hanging bridges. Walk through the rainforest on a network of 15 suspension bridges of various levels of difficulty in Mistico Park. Then, cool down with a swim in a natural pool at La Fortuna waterfall.

From La Fortuna: Zip-Line and Rafting Adventure

3. From La Fortuna: Zip-Line and Rafting Adventure

Feel the rush of whitewater rafting and zip-lining on this full day tour from La Fortuna. Keep your energy up during your action-packed day with complimentary snacks and drinks. Savor authentic flavors with a fresh lunch at a rural farmhouse.  Be picked up from your accommodation in and relax on the drive to the zipline. Put on your high-quality gear and soar through the the rainforest canopy with exceptional views of local birdlife.  Get your heart-pumping as you cruise through the class 2-3 rapids on the beautiful Balsa river on a guided rafting tour. Stop at a community farmhouse for an organic meal prepared by a local family on a wood stove. Soak up the atmosphere rural lifestyle in Costa Rica before returning to your accommodation in La Fortuna. 

San José: Guided Volcano, Waterfall & Coffee Farm Day Trip

4. San José: Guided Volcano, Waterfall & Coffee Farm Day Trip

Visit the Poás Volcano, the picturesque La Paz Waterfall (outside), and the one-and-only Starbucks coffee farm on a day trip from San José, Costa Rica. A wonderful choice for coffee aficionados and nature lovers alike, this tour includes a hotel pickup and lunch at a local restaurant. Enjoy a convenient pickup directly from your accommodation in San Jose and make your way to your first stop for the day, the Poás Volcano. Travel in an air-conditioned van and admire coffee plantations as well as flower and strawberry farms along the way. Poás is one of Costa Rica's most active volcanoes and last erupted in April 2017. The volcano and the surrounding park were closed for close to 17 months and a safety perimeter of nearly 2.5 kilometers was established around the erupting crater. At the volcano, you'll have time to enjoy the impressive main crater with its sulfur fumaroles. Then, follow a trail to the Botos Lagoon, a crater lake located inside the Poás Volcano National Park. As you hike, learn about the different ecosystems in the park. After your trek, refuel with a delicious lunch of local fare at one of the restaurants in the area. Then, head out to your next destination, the La Paz Waterfall. Discover La Paz waterfall(outside) as you stroll along paved trails through cloud forests and rainforests. Make the most of excellent photo opportunities as you visit this falls and see them from different vantage points Then, head to your final stop for the day, the Hacienda Alsacia coffee farm, the first and only Starbucks coffee farm. See the visitor center and learn what Starbucks is doing to empower farmers, promote sustainable practices, and develop the next generation of coffee. At the end of your Costa Rica adventure, enjoy a convenient transfer back to your hotel in San José.

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

5. 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.

La Fortuna: Arenal Volcano, Lunch, & Hotsprings Morning Tour

6. La Fortuna: Arenal Volcano, Lunch, & Hotsprings Morning Tour

Explore the Arenal National Park on a guided morning tour, see the Arenal Volcano, swim in an emerald lake, and enjoy a local lunch before relaxing in natural hot springs. See all the stunning beauty of the Arenal area on this day tour. Explore narrow jungle trails and conquer huge lava rocks as you explore the natural beauty and landscape of the area. Admire the impressive Arenal Volcano looming as you explore the area at the base of the volcano, and take in the immensity of this now silent giant. Make your way down as a bilingual guide teaches the group about the ecosystem and the wildlife that may be encountered. Reach the bottom part of the trek and take the opportunity to swim in an emerald green clean lake. Jump in with a Tarzan swing and take time for a refreshing swim in this magnificently beautiful place. Enjoy a typical local lunch after swimming, and finish the experience with a visit to a small resort, and relax in natural hot water pools for about an hour.

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

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

Start with a 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.

La Fortuna: Arenal Rafting Upper Balsa Class 3 and 4 Rapids

8. La Fortuna: Arenal Rafting Upper Balsa Class 3 and 4 Rapids

After being collected from your hotel, you will make your way to the rafting site. Once there you will undergo a brief orientation session, before taking to the river to experience class III and IV white water rafting on the beautiful Balsa River. You will navigate 10 kilometers of white water rapids, stopping along the way to rest a bit. You can also indulge in a little swimming, and enjoy some fresh Costa Rica fruit. Following your white water rafting, you will receive a clean towel and cold complimentary water. You will then be taken to a local restaurant to have a Costa Rica style lunch and coffee, before eventually being returned back to your accommodation.

San Jose: Tortuguero Park Day Tour with Breakfast & Lunch

9. San Jose: Tortuguero Park Day Tour with Breakfast & Lunch

The day begins with pickup from your accommodation in San Jose, Heredia, or Alajuela at 6:00 AM. On your way to breakfast, drive past rolling coffee plantations and admire the mountains of Braulio Carrillo National Park. At around 7:15 AM, stop for a traditional Costa Rican breakfast to set you up for the day's adventure. Enjoy fresh fruit juice, coffee, eggs, and the popular gallo pinto (a typical Central American rice and bean dish.) After breakfast, visit a local banana plantation and learn about the process of growing and exporting fruit. At around 10:00 AM, leave the bus behind and hop onboard a boat as you cruise into the jungle of Tortuguero National Park. Surrounded by tropical rainforest, which covers over 29,000 hectares, soak up the magic of this luscious green landscape. As you sail along the jungle canals, see native green sea turtles, as well as other endangered animals such as sloths, monkeys, and manatees. There are also countless colorful butterflies, toucans, herons, crocodiles, and more. Learn about each of the animals and their habitat in the jungle, as well as about local conservation efforts to protect them. Once you’ve worked up a bit of an appetite, enjoy a hearty buffet lunch. After lunch, take a relaxing stroll through Tortuguero Village where you’ll discover local life and learn about the history of the town and its residents. At the end of an unforgettable day, get back on the bus at around 3:30 PM and begin the return journey back to San Jose.

San Jose: Walking Nature Tour with Sloths, Birds, and Trees

10. San Jose: Walking Nature Tour with Sloths, Birds, and Trees

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.

Other Sightseeing Options in San José Province

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What people are saying about San José Province

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 1,912 reviews

Great trip! Our guide, Marvin, really knew his stuff. We were barely on the trail when he spotted a tiny pit viper just a couple feet from the trail. We never would have seen it. The day continued just like that, ending with him spotting a poisonous Fer-de-Lance below us -- from the tram!we learned about the rainforest. Wildlife spotting is always a gamble and this day the birds were not there, but the spider monkeys were! We learned about ecology, plants and how they survive in the Rainforest, bugs, even a bullet ant. Beautiful Butterflies were everywhere including Blue Morpho. I'd recommend this trip to anyone. We are 75, in good health; it was not difficult. Oh! Lunch was delicious!

Had a wonderful time exploring Rio Celeste on this tour! The hike was a good workout (3.5+ mi with a lot of stairs down/up to the waterfall), which I really enjoyed. Mario was an awesome, energetic guide who made the experience fun. Rio Celeste is a must-see in Costa Rica - would highly recommend this tour esp if you’re a solo traveler!

I had the most amazing day on this tour! Our guide Eric was incredible and went above and beyond to point out interesting plants/animals and highlight historical/scientific facts along the way. It’s a long day but 100% worth it - the waterfall, views of volcano, and hot springs were all immaculate. Highly recommend for solo travelers!

Jordan y el conductor son excelentes! El city tour es puravida!!

Great tour, well packed! Our guide Aizek is excelent tour guide!