5 Day-Tour Trips from San Jose

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Traveling to Costa Rica? Have to stay longer in San Jose for who knows what reason? Don’t panic. There are a variety of things to do when staying in San Jose.

We all know that coming to Costa Rica can only mean one or more of the following: beach, surf, jungle, volcanos. And everyone will recommend you stay out of the city. But let me tell you: do not fear! There plenty of options to do from San Jose if by major force you must day an extra day or two or more.

Here are some Day-Trips you can consider if you find yourself in a situation like such. Most of them you can do by a tour agency or you can rent a car and drive yourself around. If driving is your choice, I recommend you use Waze. This app has only failed me twice and Costa Rica has no addresses and the roads are really curvy and confusing.

1 - CATARATA TESORO ESCONDIDO

This is a lovely Day-Trip Tour you can do on your own. It’s less than 2 hours drive from San Jose. I went during the rainy season at the time, so the trail was a bit muddy but totally worth it.

The entrance was really cheap, even for non-residents. At the moment I don’t know the current ticket fee, and I don’t want to guess. But I remember it wasn’t some crazy non-resident fee like most touristic places in Costa Rica.

I recommend you bring your hiking gear and swimsuit underneath. You have a few natural pools to take a dip in. The water is quite cold and refreshing. You can also enjoy swimming and getting under the waterfall. This can be the highlight of the day.

The place is managed by its owners. I suggest you bring water and snacks. As always, preferable fruits and nuts. Maybe sandwiches, but don’t leave any trace behind. Remember to leave the place better than how you found it.

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2 - LA PAZ WATERFALL

This is a typical Agency Tour where they also take you to a Coffee Field. If you like coffee and would like to learn about Costa Rican’s Coffee then I recommend you do it. If you are only in it for the fun of it, then I recommend you drive yourself.

You can go to the public view which is on the road, or you can go to La Paz Waterfall Garden. This is a Nature Park & Animal Sanctuary. I am not much of a fan when it comes to visiting Animal Sanctuaries and similar theme parks. But this one is really nice for many reasons.

You see the efforts and the hours they put to protect the animals and various species while having an educational purpose for each visitor. This place also meets the standards required by the CST (Certification for the Sustainable Tourism of Costa Rica) to be certified as a Sustainable Tourisme Activity.

It is basically a self-guided tour going through different areas, learning about all kinds of species and habitats. The best areas for me were the Butterfly Observatory and the Hummingbird Garden.

The trail to the waterfall has a lot of stairs, which is why it is recommended to wear comfortable shoes and bring water. The trail itself is very well marked and easy to follow.

Tickets are a little expensive but worth it.

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3 - PARAISO MANANTIALES

This is really nice hike for the day. It’s only 2 hours drive away from San Jose and it is a really nice adventure. The trail has its difficulties, but I would say it’s an easy to medium difficulty trail. The entrance fee is really cheap and affordable, it has a small restaurant at the entrance and it is served by the owners. You can tell it is a small family business made with love and effort.

As always bring water and healthy snacks, comfortable gear, and swimsuit. Have an early start, with a full champion breakfast. That way you can hike all day and end your adventure with an amazing home-made late-lunch at their restaurant. The food is really good!

The trail is really easy to follow with some difficulties to cross some rivers and some muddy spots. But the prize is to spend some time at the springs. The water is really nice, and going under the falling water is always relaxing.

Like every other adventure in Costa Rica, nature will be very much present ALL THE TIME. Connect, enjoy, and embrace the freshness.

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4 - BOSQUE LA HOJA

This is another great Day-Trip to do. You can have a walk through the forest, connect with nature, and it has a recreational park as well for you to have a picnic after of before the walk. It’s only 30 minutes drive from San Jose and really easy to get there.

The trail is well marked and easy to do if you are with young children. Regarding the weather, it can get a little chilly. So you might want to bring a sweater just in case.

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5 - OROSI LOOKOUT

Last but not least, “Mirador Orosí”. This is a free lookout that offers great options for you to enjoy a nice day with your family and friends. It is also a great option for a romantic getaway for the day.

At the lookout, you will find tables and grills for you to have a barbecue, picnic section, and playgrounds for children. Meanwhile; you can enjoy the magnificent view of Orosi’s Valley and its river, so don’t forget to bring your camera.

The place offers free parking and has no entrance fee. Which is why it makes it a great option especially if you are on a budget.

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San Jose has a lot of things to offer within a few kilometers. Other options you might like to consider are:

- Braulio Carillo National Park - Barva Volcano
- Wind farms of Santa Ana
- Zarcero
- Irazu Volcano
- Sanatorio Duran

I hope you find this information of use and helpful for your travels to come.

Live, Love & Laugh
A True Nomad - Sol Acevedo