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San José, Costa Rica Family-friendly activities

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

San Jose Bites and Sights Walking Tour

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

2. 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.

Manuel Antonio National Park Combo Tour from San Jose

3. Manuel Antonio National Park Combo Tour from San Jose

Expereince the stunning beauty of the Manuel Antonio National Park on this day trip from San Jose. Visit Crocodile Bridge and Tarcoles Beach. Discover the abundant wildlife on the park’s rainforest trails and eat breakfast and lunch at local restaurants.  Enjoy being picked up from the comfort of your accommodation in the San Jose area. Travel aboard an airconditioned coach on the way to have breakfast in a local restaurant located next to the biggest fruit market in the country.  Visit the market to observe a large variety of tropical fruits. Continue your journey with a stop at the popular crocodile bridge where you will have the chance to observe one of Costa Rica’s biggest crocodile’s populations.  Search for scarlet macaws in their natural habitat on Tarcoles Beach where they like to gather. Stop at the Jaco Bay lookout point and take pictures of Costa Rica’s most popular coastal town.  Travel to the Manuel Antonio National Park, hike the rainforest trails with your guide for about and hour and search for monkeys, sloths, toucans, and agoutis. Spend some free time relaxing on the park's pristine beaches or hiking to along rainforest trails. Savor a delicious lunch of local cuisine in a restaurant that provides great jungle and ocean views. Lunch is served in the early afternoon around 2 PM, after which you will be taken back to your hotel in San Jose.

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 outdoor waterfall, 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 as you stroll along paved trails through cloud forests and rainforests. Make the most of excellent photo opportunities as you visit these 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.

From San Jose: La Paz Waterfall Garden & Rainforest Tour

5. From San Jose: La Paz Waterfall Garden & Rainforest Tour

Travel from San Jose to the La Paz Waterfall Gardens, and enjoy a walking tour on rainforest trails. See flowing white rivers, spectacular waterfalls, bird, butterflies, and other species and enjoy educational animal exhibits for all ages. Be picked up from your hotel or accommodation in San Jose, and depart for the La Paz Waterfall Gardens. Enjoy wandering walking trails in the local rainforest and admire the natural beauty of the area. Watch as white rivers flow and see spectacular waterfalls. Spot local wildlife while wandering through the rainforest, like birds, butterflies, monkeys, and hummingbirds, and see them in their natural habitats. Stop at different exhibits for local wildlife like the Aviary, Butterfly Observatory, Hummingbird Garden, Serpoentarium, Jungle Cats Exhibit, and Frog Exhibit. Enjoy a buffet lunch after the tour, rated 4 Forks by the Costa Rican Tourism Council, that includes multiple selections of Traditional Costa Rican dishes and much more. Finish the tour after lunch and be returned to your accommodations in San Jose.

From San Jose: Irazu Volcano & Hacienda Orosi Hot Springs

6. From San Jose: Irazu Volcano & Hacienda Orosi Hot Springs

Visit a variety of Costa Rican highlights on a single tour leaving from San Jose. Travel to Irazu Volcano National Park, Orosi Basilica, Orosi Valley, and Hacienda Orosi Hot Springs. Make the most of a single day by visiting multiple stops and seeing several iconic Costa Rican sites. Embark from San Jose along the South Panamerican Highway, to start ascending the large Irazu Volcano. Zip along the winding road as it travels through fertile lands cultivated with all kinds of vegetables and observe lovely panoramic views of the farmland. Travel to the top of the volcano, where a number of its volcanic craters can be seen if the weather is clear, and see the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. Descend the volcano and move on to the city of Cartago, and enjoy a stop at the Virgin of the Angels Basilica, a peregrination site for many believers. Move on to La Hacienda Orosi, surrounded by beautiful rainforest and lush vegetation, and visit the hot springs, where the land has been gifted with hypothermal mineral water, filtered between layers of the earth, and warmed to nearly 65 degrees Celsius, with properties to stimulate the senses and enrich the skin.

Rafting Class 3-4 "Jungle Run": Río Sarapiquí, Costa Rica

7. Rafting Class 3-4 "Jungle Run": Río Sarapiquí, Costa Rica

Take an exciting break during your travels to your new vacation destination! Bring on the adrenaline and enjoy the "Jungle Run" on the Sarapiqui River. This is the perfect rafting trip for adventurous paddlers! Get piked up from your hotel and travel through small Costa Rican villages to the quaint town of San Miguel de Sarapiquí. There, your professional rafting guide will give you the 101 on rafting including safety tips and technical instructions before heading on your 2 hour journey down one of Costa Rica’s most exuberant rivers! During your descent down the river, you will experience over 30 exciting rapids along 10 km of lush, vibrant rainforest. As you make your way through exciting rapids like "The Pipeline," "The Terminator," and "Dos Locos", you will get your adrenaline pumping! About half way down the river, you’ll stop and watch the rapids from the shore, while enjoying refreshing tropical fruit and relaxing with the rest of the group. Then, after the second leg of your rafting journey, you’ll finish the day with an unforgettable homemade lunch before heading to your next vacation destination!

San Jose: Sloth and Wildlife Rescue Center Tour

8. San Jose: Sloth and Wildlife Rescue Center Tour

This private tour is rich with the individual stories of rescued wildlife, including those of a large variety of parrots, macaws, owls, sloths, spider monkeys, and more. The experience offers guests insight into the significance of conservation, as well as facts about rainforest wildlife and what it means to run a wildlife rescue center. Departing from San Jose or nearby provinces, visit an animal rescue center that specializes in rehabilitating injured sloths and learn everything about these amazing animals. The Toucan Rescue Ranch’s (TRR) mission is to rescue, rehabilitate, and then release Costa Rican wildlife. TRR works with a model that focuses on conservation, education, and research to ensure a brighter tomorrow for native wildlife.

San Jose: Animal Rescue Center Entry with Guided Tour

9. San Jose: Animal Rescue Center Entry with Guided Tour

This one hour tour is an intimate yet meaningful experience of Costa Rica wildlife preservation. You will be led by one of our knowledgeable English/Spanish speaking guides around the animal rescue center, where you will have a close look at our wonderful sloths - CR national symbol. You will have a chance to see many more special animals such as various monkeys, coatis, raccoons, macaws, parrots and others. You will learn why and how did these animals arrive to the rescue center and how they are treated. In addition you can better understand the special characteristics of each specie and ask questions on the center's work including the on site wildlife hospital. You will be able to take pictures of most animals but it's not allowed to touch them - this is for their well being and accordance with the local laws. The tour begins and ends in the same point at the rescue center's entrance. You will be able to refill your bottles with cold drinking water and have access to toilets. The revenue from the tours is dedicated to the rescue of wildlife, thus providing resources to the center to continue it's meaningful work and impact on Costa Rica's wildlife.

From San Jose: Full-Day Jaco Beach Canyoning and Canopy Tour

10. From San Jose: Full-Day Jaco Beach Canyoning and Canopy Tour

After pick up at your hotel, cross the Tarcoles river bridge to see the crocodiles. Stop in Jaco Beach downtown to meet your tour guides and learn more details about the tour. Sit down for a delicious traditional lunch in Costa Rica. Hop on a 4x4 safari ride and enjoy the virgin mountain crossing, seeing macaws, toucans, monkeys, and other wild animal cross the path. Pick up your canopy equipment and zip to the first line to enjoy a practical rappel. Walking through the river, try swimming and jumping into the river's pools. Finally, as the highlight of your tour, try your hand at canyoning and rappel 4 lines on a waterfall of around 300 feet. Feel the adrenaline of this high-thrill adventure, suitable for adults and children alike. Enjoy nature and take pictures to share with your family and friends.

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Frequently asked questions about San José, Costa Rica

What are the best day trips and excursions from San José, Costa Rica?

The best day trips and excursions from San José, Costa Rica are:

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What people are saying about San José, Costa Rica

I like this tour because you have a clear view of the sloth and all beautiful animals. You will learn a lot of knowledge regarding those animals as well. I personally find the tour is a bit overpriced compared to the price for other tours, partially due to the transportation. Maybe better to drive by yourself and book a tour directly there.

This was a great tour! Everything was as it said on the website (such as meeting spot, meeting times, where we would go, etc). I loved the mix of seeing historical landmarks and tasting local foods. My favorite thing that I tried was the Sweet Granadilla! I highly recommend this tour.

This was a beautiful tour of dense rainforest & beautiful scenery that involved a nature walk & tram ride. The tour guide was very informative, knowledgeable, kind, & helpful.

Great tour! Danny is an excellent guide. Go mid-day and you won't have to get lunch due to the high quantity and quality of tastings.

Rigo was an amazing tour guide! Learned so much from him and he takes the best pictures!