Things to do in

San José, Costa Rica

Costa Rica's capital rewards explorers with lively markets, must-see museums, and unforgettable volcanos close by.

Enter your dates to find available activities

Our most recommended things to do in San José, Costa Rica

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

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

    Admire the beauties of Costa Rica in one single day while doing multiple stops in interesting places across your journey. Travel on the most scenic route to the Arenal Volcano area. While stumbling upon a coffee plantation, you will receive a brief introduction into the world of Costa Rican coffee and you will enjoy a degustation of one of the best coffees in the world. Moving forward, you will get the chance to admire two natural wonders: the waterfalls called "La Paz" and "San Fernando". Have a look at the exotic tropical birds of Costa Rica, including many species of hummingbirds and rare emerald toucanets, while you reach the San Fernando Waterfall observation point. Around the area of "Iguana Bridge", where you will have the chance to see plenty of iguanas but also sloths, monkeys, toucans, etc. Enjoy an authentic Costa Rican lunch in a restaurant located in "La Fortuna". After a ...

    Fernando Moss was an excellent guide, who gave us terrific detail on our trip, sights. He was patient and he clearly loves what he does. I can't recommend this tour enough!

  • Manuel Antonio National Park Combo Tour from San Jose

    2. Manuel Antonio National Park Combo Tour from San Jose

    On your way to Manuel Antonio, stop to have breakfast in a local restaurant located next to the biggest fruit market in the country where you'll be able to observe the large variety of tropical fruits in Costa Rica. 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, a common sight in the area. Then, stop at the Jaco Bay lookout point and take pictures of Costa Rica’s most popular coastal town. Once in Manuel Antonio, hike the rainforest trails of the national park with your guide for about 1 hour and search for local wild animals commonly observed here, including monkeys, sloths, toucans, agoutis, and more.   After hiking, enjoy free time to relax on the pristine beaches of the Manuel Antonio National Park...

    Amazing tour!! Fernando Moss was great a great guide, very knowledgeable about the area and animals. Would highly recommend!

  • San Jose: City Tour by Night

    3. San Jose: City Tour by Night

    Learn about the rich culture and history of Costa Rica on a guided tour of the city of San Jose by night. Start the tour with pickup from your hotel and travel to La Sabana Park where you will meet your guide. Here, get an overview of the history of Costa Rica's capital city. Learn about the history and current political climate of Costa Rica as you wander through the city with your guide. Stop outside sites of historical interest such as the National Theater, a monument built in 1897 known as "the Jewel of San Jose." See the Costa Rican Gold Museum, several national embassies, the National Stadium, and the University of Costa Rica. At the end of the tour, enjoy a delicious traditional dinner in one of the most fashionable areas of the city.

    Had a great tour guide, very informative. You get a choice of where to eat and we chose the first option, the food was okay. otherwise it's something nice to do as a relaxing night in between all of the adventure stuff.

  • San Jose: Tortuguero Park Day Tour with Breakfast & Lunch

    4. 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 a...

  • San Jose: Monteverde Sky Tram & Hanging Bridges Day Tour

    5. San Jose: Monteverde Sky Tram & Hanging Bridges Day Tour

    Discover the lush Cloud Forests of Monteverde on this Sky Tram and Hanging Bridges trip from San Jose. Travel to the Northern Highlands of Costa Rica on a very scenic ride where you will get great views of mountains, farms, local towns and the Coast of the Puntarenas Province. See the largest fruit stand of the country, where you will see a large variety of tropical fruits. Visit the “Monkey Lady House” and several white-faced monkeys at very close range. Once in Monteverde, savor a delicious lunch and then proceed to ride on the Sky Tram, with great views of the whole Monteverde-Santa Elena area. Spend about 15-20 minutes at the highest look-out point, and then ride the Tram down for about 15 minutes.  Then, walk on the amazing Sky Walk Hanging Bridges in the Cloud Forest, where you will hike with your expert naturalist guide for about 2-3 hours, learning interesting aspects of the fl...

    Karina was the hanging bridges guide, and she was great. She went out of her way to spot bugs, monkeys, butterflies, humming birds, etc. What we didn't know was our tour bus was split between activities, and our driver seemed put-out that this causes confusion.

  • Poás Volcano, Coffee Plantation & La Paz Waterfall Gardens

    6. Poás Volcano, Coffee Plantation & La Paz Waterfall Gardens

    Experience Costa Rica's nature and culture on this full-day tour San José. Your first destination is the Doka Estate coffee plantation, where you'll learn all about the ancient techniques of producing some of the best coffee in Costa Rica and around the world. Experience the careful process involved in the cultivation, harvesting and roasting of the Golden Bean before tasting the delectable product. After your coffee tour, continue to Poás Volcano National Park, where there is a noticeable change in temperature and beautiful scenery in a cloud forest. Climb up Poás Volcano, an active stratovolcano that most recently erupted in 2017. The crater of the volcano is over a mile across and 1,050 feet deep, making for breathtaking views. Hike on a trail to the beautiful Botos Lagoon as you learn about the different ecosystems in the park. Then, continue to La Paz Waterfall Gardens and enjoy a...

    The views were amazing, the coffee was excellent, and our guide Will was so funny and kind. The perfect last day in Costa Rica!

  • San Jose: Guided Nature Walk With Biologists Seeking Sloths

    7. San Jose: Guided Nature Walk With Biologists Seeking Sloths

    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.

    Our guide Gladys is a Biology Student working on finishing her degree at UCR, and she was fantastic during our tour of the nature reserve and campus. She was very knowledgeable about many of the local plants, birds, and insects. We definitely got some interesting stories about the unique habits of local animals and how they interact with each other. There are no guarantees of seeing any specific types of animals on this tour except the farmer ants, but you are pretty likely to see at least a handful of unique birds and insects around the campus. Although we didnt get to see a sloth on campus, we did get to see and learn a lot that we didnt expect. Definitely a great time and a very informational tour.

  • From San José: Monteverde Hanging Bridges Day Trip

    8. From San José: Monteverde Hanging Bridges Day Trip

    Your tour begins in the morning with pickup in the San José area. Then travel towards the northern part of the country on a very scenic drive, with great views of beautiful mountain ranges, local towns and farms, and the Pacific coast. On the way to Monteverde, enjoy multiple stops. Learn about local fruits at the largest fruit stand of the country. Explore a place where several monkeys are normally observed in the wild at a very close range. Photograph amazing landscapes from a lookout point. Once in Monteverde, savor a delicious lunch and then proceed to do the amazing hanging bridges tour in the cloud forest. Hike with your guide for two to three hours, admiring the beauties of this rare ecosystem and searching for the local wildlife, including monkeys, emerald toucans, coatimundis, and the rare resplendent quetzal, the most beautiful bird of Costa Rica. This hike is approximately 3...

    Booked this tour on GetYourGuide in San Jose. Was such a nice day tour out of San Jose. Juan speaks very good English and was a great guide, he was attentive, friendly, helpful but also respected our own space. Monteverde was amazing - there was a local guide who led us on the hike and he was very knowledgable and the hanging bridges and the the rainforest were simply breath taking. Other people on the tour were super friendly and nice too. The lunch was at a really nice restaurant providing high quality local cuisine. Not like a typical tourist spot. This is a must-go experience!

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

    9. 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 re...

    This was expected a 8 hours activity and it took around 5 hours. The rafting part was not long enough. But we have seen very nice views along the way.

  • Welcome to San Jose: Private Tour with a Local Host

    10. Welcome to San Jose: Private Tour with a Local Host

    Benefit from pick-up at your hotel or Airbnb accommodation in San Jose city center, and then discover the best places to eat and buy groceries in your local neighborhood. Alternatively, meet at a central landmark to start your walking tour with a local host. Get tips about the easiest ways to get around, learn where to find hidden gems and more. After booking, a local representative will contact you to ask questions and discuss your needs to select the right host based on your interests. Get a completely customized itinerary, created exclusive to you and your group. Avail of the inside knowledge of a San Jose resident who is passionate about where they live and loves to meet travelers to share what they love the most. Learn what it’s like to live in the city, chat about cultural differences, hear about local events and much more. Feel more comfortable navigating the city on your own, ...

Frequently asked questions about San José, Costa Rica

What top attractions are a must-see in San José, Costa Rica?

Planning Your Visit

  • Eat like the locals

    To taste the real flavor of Costa Rican cuisine, you shouldn't miss out on San José's central market, the Mercado Central. This gigantic market is not only one of the best spots in the city for food (as well as souvenirs), but also one of the cheapest, where a delicious meal will set you back as little as $3 – a fraction of most restaurants!

  • When to go

    While the city's pleasant climate allows for visits throughout the year, the best period is December, right after the rainy season. But even though the days are warm, the nights do get chilly, so make sure to bring a sweater. Moreover, both the Festival de la Luz and the Fiestas de Zapote take place in December. The whole city comes alive during the festivals and these typically Latin American festivities are a singularly delightful experience.

Good to know

  • Language
    Spanish
  • Currency
    CRC (₡)
  • Time Zone
    UTC (-06:00)
  • Country Code
    +506
  • Best time to visit
    December is the best month to visit, when the rainy season has ended, the days are warm, and the city comes alive with festivities.

Sightseeing in San José, Costa Rica

Möchten Sie alle Aktivitäten in San José, Costa Rica entdecken? Sehen Sie hier die vollständige Liste.

What people are saying about San José, Costa Rica

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 400 reviews

Our guide Gladys is a Biology Student working on finishing her degree at UCR, and she was fantastic during our tour of the nature reserve and campus. She was very knowledgeable about many of the local plants, birds, and insects. We definitely got some interesting stories about the unique habits of local animals and how they interact with each other. There are no guarantees of seeing any specific types of animals on this tour except the farmer ants, but you are pretty likely to see at least a handful of unique birds and insects around the campus. Although we didnt get to see a sloth on campus, we did get to see and learn a lot that we didnt expect. Definitely a great time and a very informational tour.

Yordan was a great tour guide. I am an exchange student from the united states and he went out of his way to teach me things about costa rican culture on top of an already amazing tour. also, he went out of his way to make sure i got home safely the night after the tour, as i am a female traveling solo, and so it was much appreciated. highly recommend!!!

Ferando Moss was amazing. He gave us all of his attention and showed us around a lot. Not only does he get up at 3:30 to make sure he gets us on time, but makes sure that we get there safe!!! I 100% would go on another ride with with them. Please have Fernado Moss be your driver next time! :)

Fernando Moss was an excellent guide, who gave us terrific detail on our trip, sights. He was patient and he clearly loves what he does. I can't recommend this tour enough!

The views were amazing, the coffee was excellent, and our guide Will was so funny and kind. The perfect last day in Costa Rica!