1. From San Jose: Orosi Valley & Lankester Garden Day Tour
Take a day trip out of San Jose and into the charms of the Orosi Valley with an experienced guide. Admire over 800 species of orchids and other flowers at the Lankester Gardens, check out a colonial-era church, and enjoy a tasty lunch at a countryside restaurant. Be picked up at your San Jose hotel and enjoy the winding ride into Costa Rica's hills. Cruise past coffee plantations and fields of waving sugar cane, and take in views of distant mountains. Reach the grounds of the Lankester Botanical Gardens, where botanists have cultivated some of the country's finest plants and flowers since 1973. Stroll gravel paths flanked by cacti and other succulents, look for sloths in treetop hideouts, and save plenty of time to examine the delicate petals of over 800 species of orchids spread out over the garden's 26-acre grounds. Head into the town of Orosi after your floral foray, and get up-close looks at the 18th-century Iglesia de San Jose de Orosi, whose white facade traces its origins back to Spanish colonialists. Chat about the area's history over lunch at a nearby restaurant, and then hop back on your shuttle for the scenic ride back to San Jose.