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Tours & Activities

Activities

There are plenty of activities you can enjoy while staying in San José, this city offers an interesting mix of cultural and artistic highlights, the city is going through a revitalization process and there is history, culture and architecture everywhere. Walking from the hotel or with a 5 minutes ride in a taxi, you can visit the surrounding areas; we recommend you the following 5 routes:

1. Art Museum and La Sabana Park

Art Museum and La Sabana Park

Just 8 blocks from the hotel you could walk to the Art museum and La Sabana Park. The Art Museum is set in a neoclassical style building, built in the late 30’s; this building was the first international airport in Costa Rica. This museum offers exhibitions of works by local and international artists related to the visual arts. La Sabana Park is the main park of San José, it has an area of 72 hectares (including a lake, the National Stadium, the Art Museum and the National Gym) and it offers many areas for sports, you could take advantage of a beautiful morning or a sunny afternoon to go to the park for a walk.

2. Pedestrian Boulevard and Central Market

Pedestrian Boulevard and Central Market

Only 10 minutes walking from the hotel, you can get to the Pedestrian area which is a boulevard with all kind of stores including: shoe stores, department stores, clothing stores, etc. This boulevard has been improved in recent years, with the addition of decorative lamps, trees, flowers, etc; and during the year exhibitions like the cow parade or the peace parade (with pigeons painted by children from schools) take place in this boulevard. The Central Market was built in 1880, this is a popular market, very crowded and with a lot of booths with people that sells different kind of products like: crafts, flowers, spices, candles, and anything you can imagine, visiting this market is a must. This market is considered country's cultural heritage.

3. National Theater and Gold Museum

National Theater and Gold Museum

If you continue walking along the pedestrian boulevard you are going to get to the Culture Plaza where the National Theater and Gold Museum are located. The National Theater is considered like the most appraised cultural jewel in the capital. Inspired by the Paris Opera House, this Neo-baroque style building was built to impress, this theater has fine finishes including 22.5-karat gold leaf and Belgian ironwork. The construction began in 1890 and the theater opened in 1897. To afford the expensive construction a special tax for each bag of coffee exported was created (coffee was our main export at that time), the opening of the National Theater was a significant event for Costa Rican society. The gold museum is located under the culture plaza; this museum offers archaeological, numismatic and pre-Columbian art collections. After visiting these two places we suggest you to stop and enjoy a famous Pops ice cream or a cup of CR coffee at 1820 coffee shop (both places are located at the Plaza de la Cultura).

4. National Museum and Artisans Market

National Museum and Artisans Market

If you get to the end of the pedestrian boulevard and continue two more blocks east you will get to the National Museum, the building it is housed used to be military quarter. It is the last building of this type still standing in Costa Rica. This building was the Bellavista Fortress, a structure that witnessed two battles and the announcement to abolish the military. The showrooms of this museum make a journey through the history of Costa Rica. On the west of the National Museum sits the Artisan Market, this market consists of a narrow alleyway with booths where you can find almost every type of souvenirs, especially wood works, including: wine holders, cutting boards, salad bowls, etc.

5. CENAC (National Center for culture) and Jade Museum

CENAC (National Center for culture) and Jade Museum

The National Center for Culture is set in a building with a strong influence of colonial style, evident in the simplicity of the front lines and the distribution of internal spaces, built in 1853; this edification was the National Liquor Factory until 1981. Inside the National Center for culture are: The Museum of art and contemporary design, theaters FANAL and 1887 and the Centre for Cultural Heritage Research; where you will find all kinds of cultural events such as arts shows, theater plays, music, dance and poetry all year long. Less than a mile from CENAC, at the National Institute of Insurances, it’s located the Jade Museum, another opportunity to know the pre-Columbian history, culture, beliefs and abilities of elaboration of jade pieces and other beautiful rocks.

Tours

From San José you can take one of a number of daytrips to the rainforest, volcanoes or experience the thrill of white water rafting, to mention just a few. We want to share with you our top ten tours:

Top Ten Tours

1. San José Walking Tour

San José Walking Tour

This tour is the best way to see the city. A guided walking tour of the down town area, this tour provides you with great information about the culture, history and architecture of San José. This experience allows you to learn interesting facts about the city, gives you time to appreciate the beauty of San José and immerse you into the capital’s environment. There are 4 options of tour depending on your likes, for more information: here.
Who can go? Anyone in normal healthy physical condition, there is no restriction of age or difficulty level for this tour.

2. Coffee tour

Coffee tour

If you are a coffee lover and you want to learn about the history and process of the coffee in Costa Rica, this tour is the perfect option for you, you will learn all the secrets that a delicious cup of coffee enclose.
Who can go? Anyone in normal healthy physical condition, there is no restriction of age or difficulty level for this tour.

3. Canopy

Canopy

For those who like to experience the adrenaline of an adventure activity, a canopy tour is a very good choice; enjoy the sensation of sliding through the forest while surrounded by beautiful landscapes. Some canopies include a combination of superman zip lines, equilibrium cable games or rappel. This activity is available for adults and children.
Who can go? Anyone who is not afraid of heights; there are canopies that allow a minimum age of 2 years and others from the age of 6 years, it depends on the availability of equipment of the tour operator. The difficulty level varies depending on the type of canopy (height, length of the cables, etc).

4. Rafting

Rafting

The rafting tour is once in a lifetime experience, you will enjoy the amazing nature of the rainforest via the river, while running the rapids into the heart of the rainforest. There are different classes of rapids depending on the difficulty. This activity is available for adults and children.
Who can go? Anyone in normal healthy physical condition, swimming experience is recommended. The minimum age varies between 12 and 14 years, it depends on the time of year (dry or rainy season). The difficulty level varies depending on the class of the rafting.

5. Tortuga Island

Tortuga Island

If you want to enjoy a day of relaxation, Tortuga Island is the best option for you, this tour take you to a beautiful island in the gulf of Nicoya, during the trip onboard of a cruise, you will enjoy live music, fresh tropical fruits, beautiful landscapes and a sunbath. Once you get to the island there are many activities you can do like: snorkeling, banana boat, volleyball, etc.
Who can go? Anyone in normal healthy physical condition, there is no restriction of age or difficulty level for this tour.

6. Poas Volcano & La Paz Waterfall Gardens

Poas Volcano & La Paz Waterfall Gardens

If you want to see one of the most popular volcanoes of the country, you need to visit Poas Volcano National Park, its main crater is one of the world’s larger (over 1.5 Km wide) and this volcano also presents a lagoon and different ecosystems. La Paz Waterfall Gardens Private Park is an attraction by itself; you will be delighted by the spectacular waterfalls in the middle of the rainforest, inside the park there are also many attractions including the country’s largest butterfly garden.
Who can go? Anyone in normal healthy physical condition, there is no restriction of age or difficulty level for this tour.

7. Rain Forest Aerial Tram

Rain  Forest Aerial Tram

Experience the thrill of being in the middle of the rainforest and at the top of the canopy by taking an aerial tram tour; in this tour you will enjoy the scenic views of the rain forest from different points, get to see some plants and wildlife and learn about Costa Rica ecosystems.
Who can go? Anyone in normal healthy physical condition, there is no restriction of age or difficulty level for this tour.

8. Irazú Volcano, Lankaster Gardens & Orosi Valley

Irazú Volcano, Lankaster Gardens & Orosi Valley

Visit the highest active volcano in Costa Rica, this giant rises 11,000 feet above sea level, while you ascend enjoy the spectacular drive through fields of coffee, potatoes and cabbages. Once in the volcano, walk along the moon-like scenery and if you are lucky you would get a clear view of the crater. Learn about the history of Costa Rica by visiting one of the most scenic regions of Costa Rica: Orosi Valley, a beautiful valley that is crossed by the Reventazón River, in Orosi are the ruins of the oldest church in Costa Rica: Orosi's Catholic Church that was built in 1743. To end with this great tour enjoy the beauty of tropical orchids at the Lankaster Botanical Garden, there are also collections of bromeliads, bamboos, epiphytes and other wonderful plants from various areas of Costa Rica in this garden.
Who can go? Anyone in normal healthy physical condition, there is no restriction of age or difficulty level for this tour.

9. Grecia & Sarchí

Grecia & Sarchí

This is a relaxing and very enjoyable tour, it begins with a drive through coffee and sugar cane plantations; once you get to the town of Grecia, you will see the famous metal church of the Lady of Mercy that has a beautiful architecture with high ceilings, ornate stained glass windows, and classical lines. Then the tour will take you to the capital of handicrafts in Costa Rica: Sarchí, where you will visit a factory of oxcarts, the oxcarts (national symbol of Costa Rica) were once used to transport coffee beans over the mountains to the coast; you will find them in various sizes and splendidly decorated with intense colors, such as oranges and reds. This is an ideal place to find wonderful souvenirs of your trip.
Who can go? Anyone in normal healthy physical condition, there is no restriction of age or difficulty level for this tour.

10. Arenal Volcano & Hot Springs

Arenal Volcano & Hot Springs

One of the most popular tours in Costa Rica, this tour will take you to the more active volcano in Costa Rica: Arenal Volcano. On a clear day you will have the opportunity to observe the spectacular eruptions of incandescent rock and molten lava of this volcano. The tour includes the visit to the Hot springs, a very relaxing experience. If you have the opportunity to stay more than one night in this zone, we recommend you to do it, because there are many activities to enjoy in the area.
Who can go? Anyone in normal healthy physical condition, there is no restriction of age or difficulty level for this tour.

Please note that every tour operator has more detailed information regarding the age and difficulty level of the tours depending on the person and the type of tour.

Other One day tours

For the following tours we suggest a one night stay, however if you don’t have time and you definitely want to visit these beautiful areas, there are one day tours available from San José:

1. Monteverde

Monteverde

Monteverde cloud forest is located north of Puntarenas; the main attraction in this area is the Monteverde Biological Reserve, characterized by its variety of flora and fauna, much of which is unique in the world, this has made of Monteverde a “must” for ecotourism travelers. Monteverde is internationally known for its conservation efforts. The one day tour will take you to the hanging bridges to appreciate the beauty of the cloud forest from the highest points; you will also visit the butterfly and hummingbirds gardens.

2. Tortuguero

Tortuguero

Tortuguero is a National Park located in the Northern Caribbean side of the country; Tortuguero has been described as our little Amazonas, because of its abundant wildlife. Surrounded by a natural canals system, it is one of the most important nesting sites in the world for the green sea turtle. The one day tour will take you to the Caribbean area to get in a boat and trip into the jungle of the park. After lunch you will walk to the village of Tortuguero to learn about the history of the town and the Afro Caribbean culture.

Private tours

For any destination you want to visit, you have the option of taking a private tour. We can coordinate for you to have a private driver who speaks English and can take you wherever you want. If you only need a driver we can also arrange it for you.

There are some places you could visit with a private driver, we give you some recommendations:

1. Take a pineapple tour

Take a pineapple tour

Visit an operating pineapple farm, trip through the farm in the comfort of a unique trailer, learn about the history of the pineapple and enjoy freshly cut pineapple and juice.  For 13 years, Corsicana farm has been dedicated to pineapple production; their farm has an extension of 3200 acres and is divided into 4 different projects: conventional production, organic production, ornamental productions and protected areas.

2. Spend your day at La Paz Waterfall Gardens

La Paz Waterfall Gardens

La Paz Waterfall Gardens is a private park where you will have many things to do; you can spend a whole day in this wonderful place. Some of the attractions are: spectacular waterfalls, the country’s largest Butterfly Observatory, Hummingbird Garden, Serpentarium, Frog Exhibit, Tica House, Trout Lake and many bird watching areas. They offer buffet lunch at the Colibries Restaurant with multiple selections of traditional Costa Rican dishes.

3. Visit Zoo Ave

Zoo Ave

Zoo Ave is not only a zoo but also a conservational and educational facility, Zoo Ave is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the environmental conservation, in this place you can find all sorts of animals like: monkeys, turtles, pigs, peacocks, crocodiles, caimans, besides an extraordinary number of birds including: raptors, parakeets, parrots, toucans, scarlet macaws ostriches, emus, and various songbirds. They also offer a botanical garden and cafeteria.

Combined tours

If you want to have different options of activities in only one place, these places could be interesting for you:

4. Colinas del Poás

Colinas del Poás

Colinas del Poás is a project that integrates recreation in harmony with nature, the project offers: a canopy tour, the fishing of trout, trails, services of bar and restaurant, animal footpaths and breeding grounds, everything integrated under the concept of harmony with nature. This project has 15 hectares of secondary cloudy forest, with water springs, great amount of plant species and animals and it is located in Alajuela in the route to the Poás Volcano.

5. Hacienda Pozo Azul

Hacienda Pozo Azul

Hacienda Pozo Azul is a 2000 acre working ranch located at only 90 minutes from San José, you will enjoy a great variety of eco adventures in a nature rich environment with first class equipment and trained guides to provide you a safe and unforgettable experience. The one day tour includes breakfast, lunch and 2 adventures that you choose between the following: canopy, rafting, rapelling, horseback riding and hiking.

Other activities

If you are in our hotel for a short time and you don’t have enough time to take a tour, we recommend the following activities:

  • Relax and unwind at our bar/lounge. We have an extensive drink list with many delicious beverages including: Champagne Cocktails, Martinis, Virgin Cocktails, etc
  • Read a good book, we have a small bookcase for book exchange
  • Have a relaxing massage or other special treatment in our massage room
  • Enjoy the evening resting on our Jacuzzi terrace
  • Take a walk to La sabana Park, just a few blocks from the hotel
  • Finish the day off with a leisurely dinner in our tropical Victorian influenced restaurant

Our reception desk will be pleased to answer any questions you may have about these or other tours or activities. Tours and activities can be booked through our receptionists prior to or during your trip.