For some people, San Jose and it surrounding areas are as much as they will ever see of Costa Rica. While it isn’t easy to make it to the coast and back in a day, there are still plenty of things to see and do just outside of San Jose. The list below gives you some suggestions of fun day trips you can take from San Jose, including one of my favorite places in Costa Rica; the La Paz Waterfall Gardens. All of the suggestions below are close enough to San Jose to bee seen in a day and still offer you plenty of time to get back to the city.
Let us know if you have any other favorite day trips from San Jose, let us know!
Read about adding San Jose to your RTW trip itinerary.
Turu Ba Ri Tropical Park
If you are looking for a truly adventurous day of fun in San Jose, Costa Rica, be sure to pay a visit to Turu Ba Ri. At Turu Ba Ri you can spend the day with the whole family, and are guaranteed amazing fun and adventure. The Turu Ba Ri Tropical Park is 595 acres of pure forest and nature. It features exclusive hiking trails, with hundreds of different plants, trees, birds, and animal wildlife. You can go on many different guided nature tours, or a tour in an overhead canopy. When visiting Turu Ba Ri do not worry about how you are going to get there from San Jose when you visit, you are given round trip transportation from San Jose.
Turu Ba Ri features so many activities for the whole family, from it guided tours, to its sensational cable ride. The cable features a full body ride down a 1150 meter cable, and is sure to please the adventurous type. Maybe you are someone who just likes to walk and enjoy the wildlife, well you are in luck. Turu Ba Ri features exclusive hiking trails to enjoy the view. There are also horseback riding trails, to take in nature like never before. Turu Ba Ri Tropical Park is sure to be a full day of fun for you and the family.
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Plaza de la Cultura
The Plaza de la Cultura, which literally translates to Plaza of the Culture, is a magnificent way to see the culture and history of San Jose. The plaza is a great place to do some shopping, and check out the real way that Costa Ricans live. Located in the plaza, are museums of the Costa Rican culture and various shops. The Plaza of Culture is a huge place of tourism, and is a place for local street vendors. The plaza is also the best place to do all your shipping for souvenirs throughout the drip.
There are different sections to the plaza, such as the south end of the plaza. In the south end, there is a national theater that is considered to be one of San José’s most remarkable experiences. In the Northeast end of Central Park, is the Morrzazan Park which covers four city blocks. The dome Temple is in the parks central, and is the center of all music culture. The plaza’s east is the national museum and the inner cities largest open arenas. The arena features statues, which pay tribute to Costa Rica’s modern democracy. The museum is a home to numerous historical cultural exhibits, including colonial art, jade, and gold from the history of its culture.
La Paz Waterfall Gardens
La Paz Waterfall Gardens is one of the most visited attractions for people visiting San Jose. It is just a few minutes outside of San Jose, and features trails through the forest along the La Paz River. Along the falls are series of fascinating waterfalls, including the masterpiece, La Paz Fall. The falls are in a series of falls as you follow along the river, and is also the location of a beautiful hummingbird garden. The garden is along the trail, and features some of the largest butterflies in the world. The garden has amazing wildlife including various frogs, lizards, and native snakes.
La Paz Waterfall Gardens has recently added a man made trout pond, and is available for visitors to fish for trout. Visiting La Paz Waterfall Gardens is a wonderful time to spend a day of your trip, and is a one in a lifetime chance. You are able to see wildlife that you couldn’t see anywhere else, and walk through the trails leading alongside the river. The waterfalls are a powerful magnificent view, and is a sure sight to see. Mostly anyone on vacation in San Jose will make a stop by La Paz Waterfall Gardens, and enjoy a day to take in the powerful views of nature.
The park also has a wonderful lodge called The Peace Lodge.
National Park Volcano Poás
The national park of volcano Poás, as it is known to the locals as, is a sight that anyone visiting Costa Rica will be sure to see. This volcano national park is extremely popular to visitors of Costa Rica, and offers views of the volcano, that you couldn’t see anywhere else in the world. The volcano Poás is an active volcano, and is sometimes at a danger level. The last actual minor eruption was in 1995, but the worst eruption that it has ever had was in 1953. That is what formed its current location in a 1.3km across, and 300m deep crater.
The volcano is still known to seep off sulfuric gases, that visitors will definitely notice. The volcano has not had a major eruption since 1989, after volcanic ash went flying through the air at almost a kilometer high. Scientists are worried about the condition of the volcano because of a decrease in the lakes water level, which could mean an eruption of the volcano. Nevertheless, the volcano Poás is a amazing sight to see, and gives a view right into the center of the volcano like no other. At the volcano sight there is a visitors center with educational information on the history of this spectacular volcano.
If you aren’t limited to San Jose, check out our post on free things to do in Costa Rica.