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How to Spend 3 Days in San Jose

How to Spend 3 Days in San Jose

With three days in San Jose, you can relax into the city’s natural rhythm, which blends the sounds of tropical birdsong, bustling markets, and salsa beats. You’ll have plenty of time to take in the key sights, including Costa Rica’s lush rain forest, volcanic peaks, and coffee farms. Here’s how to spend three days in San Jose.

 

Day 1: Check Out San Jose Highlights

A chorus of tropical birds is the first sign that morning’s arrived in San Jose, and it’s the perfect prelude to a cup of locally grown and roasted coffee. Next, hit the city streets for a day of exploring. Highlights include the lively Central Market, elegant architecture at the Teatro Nacional, and precious treasures in the Precolumbian Gold Museum and Jade Museum; many tours of San Jose combine one or more of these stops with an introduction to city landmarks.

 

After pausing for lunch—which could range from street food at the Central Market to a high-end meal at a top restaurant—pick one of the city’s top museums for an in-depth visit. Wrap up the day by sipping craft beers as the sun sets over the city, or if you’re looking for San Jose’s most happening breweries and stylish pubs, join a pub crawl for a shortcut into the local scene.

 

Day 2: See Costa Rica’s Wild Side

With one day to get out of the city, you can soar above rain forest trees, paddle through white-water rapids, hike Arenal Volcano, or ride a bike through historic Cartago. Because these destinations are anywhere from one to several hours from the city, it’s worth choosing carefully to make the most of your time on the road.

 

Whatever you pick, keep an eye out for wildlife as you explore the mountains, forests, or coast, because this biodiversity hot spot is home to everything from slow-moving sloths to speedy hummingbirds. When you get back to your San Jose accommodations, reward yourself with a well-earned treat; favorite desserts in Costa Rica include ultra-moist tres leches (three milks) cake, flan, and a sweetened preparation of squash called miel de chiverre.

 

Day 3: Taste, and Toast, Your Way Through San Jose

Now that you’ve explored culture and nature, check out local flavors, whether you’re browsing a neighborhood market or dining with the season’s hottest chef. For a delicious dive into Costa Rica coffee culture, tour a coffee plantation near San Jose to explore how coffee is grown, harvested, and processed right at the source.

 

Next, plan a special dinner to celebrate your final day in Costa Rica’s capital, with options that include prebooking a table at a beloved restaurant or an evening of traditional song, dance, and cuisine. To sample a bit of San Jose’s vibrant nightlife before packing your bags, hit the town for a bar or club crawl that’s designed to find the most happening places, where you can tip back shots and meet a friendly mix of travelers and locals.

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9 Tours and Activities | All San Jose Tours

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Arenal Volcano Full-Day Combo Tour with Lunch and Dinner

Arenal Volcano Full-Day Combo Tour with Lunch and Dinner

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201
In just one day, it’s possible to visit top Costa Rica attractions like Arenal Volcano, La Paz Waterfall, and Arenal Hot Springs when you book this guided tour from San Jose. All-inclusive private transport smooths over otherwise tricky transportation logistics, and your guide keeps you well entertained and informed as you explore. This tour includes all entrance fees plus two meals, adding up to a great value.
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  • 14 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$160.00
From
$160.00
Taking safety measures

San Jose Walking Tour: Food, History and Architecture

San Jose Walking Tour: Food, History and Architecture

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171
Get a taste of San Jose’s culture and cuisine on this 3-hour walking tour. Explore Costa Rica’s capital accompanied by an expert guide and learn about the city’s history, architecture and flavor. Explore the produce stalls of two traditional markets and discover what makes Costa Rican coffee so delicious as you sample some local brews. The tour is capped at 12 people for a personalized small-group experience.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$38.00
From
$38.00
Taking safety measures

San Jose By Night: Food and Culture Small Group Tour

San Jose By Night: Food and Culture Small Group Tour

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119
Discover San Jose’s hidden delights with this unique evening tour of the Costa Rican capital. Wander through a maze of vendor stalls and to learn about staples of local cooking at the Central Market, and see the opulent National Theater and other architectural highlights on a twilight walking tour. Drive to the ritzy Paseo de la Luz the east side of San Jose well known for its gastronomy. Finish the night with a 3-course meal and wine pairings at a gourmet Costa Rican restaurant.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$74.00
From
$74.00
Taking safety measures

Britt Coffee Tour and Chocolate Tasting from San Jose

Britt Coffee Tour and Chocolate Tasting from San Jose

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61
Treat your taste buds to a sampling of Costa Rica’s famed coffee paired with gourmet chocolate on this half-day tour of the Café Britt coffee plantation. See firsthand how this sustainable, gourmet producer grows, harvests, and roasts coffee beans to create the perfect aromatic cup. Visit the on-site coffee bar to taste several of Café Britt’s different roasts, accompanied by chocolate. Round out the day with a farm-fresh buffet lunch of traditional Costa Rican cuisine at the plantation restaurant.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$57.00
From
$57.00
Taking safety measures

Rain Forest Aerial Tram From San Jose

Rain Forest Aerial Tram From San Jose

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17
Discover the amazing treetop ecosystems of Costa Rica’s rain forest on this aerial tram tour near San Jose. Glide through the lush jungle canopy on a 90-minute gondola ride that offers a bird’s-eye view of beautiful hanging gardens and native wildlife not often seen from the forest floor. Optional lunch and transportation add-ons are available for a stress-free wait to explore Costa Rica’s famous biodiversity right from the capital.
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  • 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$66.30
From
$66.30
Taking safety measures

Lonely Planet Experiences: San Jose Tapas, Traditional Masks and Escazu Visit

Lonely Planet Experiences: San Jose Tapas, Traditional Masks and Escazu Visit

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Enjoy an insider’s perspective of San Jose on this half-day city walking tour. Accompanied by an expert guide, you’ll get a sense of daily life in the Costa Rican capital as you ride public transportation, stop by a beautiful local park and visit the artisan workshop of a third-generation craftsman. Taste local flavors while you browse stalls at the historic Central Market, savor a traditional lunch at an 80-year-old inn and learn to make tortillas.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$65.00
Price varies by group size
From
$65.00
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

Britt Coffee Tour From San José

Britt Coffee Tour From San José

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2
Visit a coffee farm located in Barva de Heredia and learn about Costa Rican coffee on this guided tour. Along the way, see how the beans are grown, processed, and roasted, and find out why Costa Rica’s climate and diverse landscape provide ideal growing conditions for gourmet coffee beans. At the end of the tour, enjoy a buffet lunch with local ingredients and visit the coffee bar.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$57.00
From
$57.00
Taking safety measures

San Jose: Insider Spots, City Highlights - small groups

San Jose: Insider Spots, City Highlights - small groups

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45
See the best of San Jose on this incredible walking tour that takes travelers through more than 40 different sites, including galleries, parks, art houses and iconic buildings. Whether you're a first time visitor or returning to this beautiful city this two-hour tour is the perfect way to hit all of the highlights.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$32.00
From
$32.00

Dinner Show Ram Luna From San José

Dinner Show Ram Luna From San José

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2
Take in aerial views of San Jose and the central valley while you dine and enjoy a traditional show during this dinner and a show tour with transportation included. Sitting high in the mountains at Ram Luna restaurant, watch the vibrant performances while dining on your favorite Costa Rican foods from the buffet. Learn about local folklore through traditional dances performed by artists and musicians.
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  • 5 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$72.00
From
$72.00
Taking safety measures