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San José, Costa Rica
Family-friendly activities

Family-friendly activities

Our most recommended San José, Costa Rica Family-friendly activities

San Jose: Central Market Bites and Sights Walking Tour

1. San Jose: Central Market Bites and Sights Walking Tour

Get up close and personal with Costa Rican life, through local food, history, and even the herbal remedies of folk medicine. Enjoy a hands-on lesson on exotic plants, fruits, and vegetables, and enjoy several local food samples on this guided tour. Stroll through the streets with a local as they show you the ins-and-outs of daily life. Start with a morning pick-me-up coffee in a café located in the Central Market. Then, take a stroll through the vibrant market, tasting local fresh fruits. Next, sample empanadas and continue along local roads towards the Borbon Market. Seeing diverse sites the Cathedral, National Theater, and the beautiful parks will help you get to know the country and its rich history. Finally, visit a special coffee store where you will find coffee and chocolates produced by women. Learn to prepare coffee, enjoy a tamal, and make plantain empanadas before concluding your tour.

San José: Full-Day Tortuga Island Tour with Lunch

2. San José: Full-Day Tortuga Island Tour with Lunch

Explore Tortuga Island on a guided tour, Go on a quick tour of the other islands in a boat, then arrive at Tortuga Island. Go snorkeling or swimming, and eat breakfast on the beach. Opt to do other activities, such as renting a jet ski. Tuck into lunch. Begin your tour by getting picked up in an air-conditioned vehicle directly from your hotel in either Heredia, San José, or Alajuela. Once you arrive at the harbor, hop into your speedboat and set sail on your adventure. Listen to your guide tell you about the local area and take in the views. Go on a tour of the Gulf of Nicoya, and see islands such as San Lucas, Isla Cedros, and Jesusita. Use the opportunity to take photos. Along the way, keep an eye out for bottlenose dolphins that are residents of Puntarenas. See if you can spot whales or turtles, and stop to observe them. Upon arrival at the island, be provided with equipment to go snorkeling, as well as instructions on how to use them. Go searching for exotic and colorful fish underwater. Spend time relaxing on the white sand in the shade of palm trees. Opt to participate in other activities at an extra cost. Rent a jet ski or a kayak, or go paddleboarding. After you have explored the island, head back for lunch on the beach. Enjoy cold drinks and a coffee along with it. Hop back in the boat to be taken back to your hotel at the end of the day.

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

3. 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. We'll be talking about art, history, indigenous culture, and most of all, nature. 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.

From San José: Poas Volcano and Coffe Farm

4. From San José: Poas Volcano and Coffe Farm

On this tour we will spend picking up at specific points in San José to make a quick and efficient collection so that you have a good time when visiting the Poás Volcano. The Poás Volcano is one of the favorite places for many tourists when visiting Costa Rica, in this place you can safely see the volcano's character and also be able to see its beautiful lagoon. The National Park will mention if there are volcanic eruptions and give a talk if necessary about safety. The park has a lagoon called Botos, this will be visited only if the national park has enabled the trail and if the guide mentions that it is possible to visit it due to the time to be met in the itinerary. After this visit, we will make a stop for lunch at Freddo Fresas, a typical restaurant in the area with local food, the approximate time is 45 minutes to 1 hour. Our guide will talk a little about the history of Coffee in Costa Rica while we move to a coffee farm, he will comment on why it is one of our most important sources of income for our producers and the reason for the global prestige of our coffee planted in conditions suitable for a special seed that produces delicious coffee. The coffee tour is not included when you arrive at the Cafetalera farm, however you can purchase it for an additional price. At this Cafetarelera farm you can have a delicious coffee with a view of the central valley and waterfall, bring souvenirs or take photos in the plantations. We will do everything possible to make your trip the best.

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 Arenal 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.

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

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

Visit the Poás Volcano, the picturesque La Paz outdoor waterfall, and a 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. Gaze at La Paz waterfall as you stroll along paved trails through cloud forests and rainforests. Make the most of excellent photo opportunitiesand see the falls from different vantage points on the outside. Then, head to your final stop for the day, the Hacienda coffee farm, the first and only Coffee farm. See the visitor center and learn what Coffee 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, Waterfalls, Coffee and Hot Springs

7. San José: Arenal Volcano, Waterfalls, Coffee and Hot Springs

Start your tour in the morning when you are picked up from your hotel in the San Jose area in an air-conditioned vehicle. Travel to Arenal on an alternative route that is more scenic than the regular highway to this popular destination. On the way, stop at a plantation where you will learn about the coffee of Costa Rica. Observe the coffee plants and see the workers picking the ripe cherries during the harvest season. Learn about this important product to the local economy and taste a freshly brewed cup of some of the best coffee in the world accompanied by traditional snacks. Continue the tour at the famous La Paz Waterfall. Stop at the San Fernando Waterfall look-out point and observe many exotic birds including toucans, hummingbirds, and many other colorful tropical species. Visit the iguana’s center, a place where you will see lots of iguanas at eye level resting on the top of numerous trees. Following this, arrive at the Town of La Fortuna, and enjoy a delicious Costa Rican lunch in a restaurant located at the base of the impressive Arenal Volcano. After lunch, visit various points around the volcano to take pictures of this amazing mountain on clear days. Next, participate in an indigenous presentation performed by native people from the Maleku Tribe, and learn about the native culture of Costa Ricans. Later, travel to the beautiful Paradise Hot Springs Resort and relax for a few hours in the multiple hot springs pools surrounded by lush tropical gardens. This hot springs facility is one of the best in the Arenal area and provides the perfect environment to relax in thermal mineral water pools, jacuzzis and cascading waterfalls. After this, go to a local typical restaurant to have a delicious Costa Rican dinner before you are taken back to your hotel in the San Jose area.

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

8. 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.

San José: Nighttime Food Culture Tour with Cocktail Class

9. San José: Nighttime Food Culture Tour with Cocktail Class

Immerse yourself in the culture and history of the city. Explore San Jose by Night, complete with local markets, cultural icons, and a tasty dinner with wine! Starting with the Central Market, which, is the only way to learn about the city’s food. Stroll the market with your local guide and get to know the secrets, uses of the roots, herbs, and fruit common in local cuisines, including ingredients that will play a role in your authentic Costa Rican dinner later. The locals say that you can get anything you need at the Central Market, even love potions for attracting a boyfriend or girlfriend. After the market, we’ll make our way down Central Avenue, learning about the city’s history and anecdotes, as well as visiting one of the most architecturally beautiful buildings in San Jose, the National Theatre. From there, our appreciation for San Jose’s historical architecture continues, with a walk through Morazán Park and we will visit Mr. Sloth Coffee Shop to make el "Morenito" one delicious coffee cocktail and try "Golden Rush" cocktail. We’ll continue to charm Barrio Amon, one the oldest neighborhoods we’ll be spending the rest of the evening at a favorite Farm to table concept private home dinning that specializes in wine and gourmet food like Caribbean pre-Hispanic food and drinks such as craft beers based on products such as corn and honey combined with ginger, basil, blackberry, watermelon, vanilla, cocoa and coffee and also in sangrias. This cozy establishment offers the best in Costa Rican cuisine a unique space that offers art, culture, history as well as fine dining.

San José: Manuel Antonio National Park Day Trip

10. San José: Manuel Antonio National Park Day Trip

Admire the unique flora and fauna of the Manuel Antonio National Park on this guided day trip. Stop purchase a local lunch and take in ocean views on the ride in a spacious and climate-controlled bus from San José. Take a guided walk to a breathtaking beach and have free time to swim or explore.  Enjoy the convenience of pickup in the morning from select hotels. Relax aboard a comfortable bus on the drive through the mountains that surround the central valley. Pass along the main road that connects the capital with the coastal area. Stop at a restaurant where you can purchase a delicious typical Costa Rican breakfast in the Pacific area. Take the Costanera Sur highway into the park, enjoying beautiful views of the ocean, African palm plantations, and picturesque towns. Reach the Port of Quepos and from there continue to the National Park. Go for a walk in the rainforest along a nature trail of the national park until you reach the beach. Have free time to swim or go on a hike on one of the trails where you can spy monkeys, raccoons, iguanas, birds, and sloths. Spend some free hiking to Punta Catedral to capture pictures of the spectacular view. After having enjoyed the national park, walk back to the restaurant where a delectable lunch awaits your before taking bus back to the city.

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San José, Costa Rica

San José, Costa Rica

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What people are saying about San José, Costa Rica

Oscar was a great guide - he was friendly, didn’t rush us and shared lots of interesting facts. Really great value for money as not only do you go to the main markets & try some food there, you also visit some sights and then have a tamale, empanada & coffee tasting at their office. Personally I would have loved to stay a bit longer at the markets and try more food there instead of the sights but overall it was great.

It was a really great tour, more than we expected and definitely worth the price! Our guide Oscar had plenty of knowledge about the city, and he kept the whole group engaged and feeling fun. Especially the tour in the market where we were able to try various fruits wouldn’t be possible without joining this tour.

The tour and guide exceeded my expectations. Highly recommend tour. Guide was truly knowledgeable, courteous, kind and accommodating to everyone. Will definitely book with this company again. Thank you for making my first visit to costa rica awesome!!!

The tour was so much fun. The guide was really passionate and explained a lot, you could see her love for and knowledge about nature. We were lucky to sport four sloths, beautiful butterflies and learned about different plants.

Guide was exceptionally knowledgeable and excited to share the birds, sloths, butterflies, plants and fungi that we encountered. I wish the tour was longer. I was amazing to find all this nature in the center if the city.