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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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6 Tours and Activities

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Arenal Volcano Full-Day Combo Tour with Lunch and Dinner

Arenal Volcano Full-Day Combo Tour with Lunch and Dinner

star-5
437
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
From
$160.00
From
$160.00

San Jose Walking Tour: Food, History and Architecture

San Jose Walking Tour: Food, History and Architecture

star-5
184
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
From
$38.00
Price varies by group size
From
$38.00
Price varies by group size

San Jose By Night: Food and Culture Small Group or Private Tour

San Jose By Night: Food and Culture Small Group or Private Tour

star-4.5
134
Discover San Jose’s hidden delights with this unique evening tour of the Costa Rican capital. Get up close and personal with the nightlife in San Jose, starting with the Morazán Park where we will learn post-colonial Costa Rican history. From there, our appreciation for San Jose’s historical architecture continues, with a walk by the Metallic Building, then on to Spain Park for a fantastic view of the Yellow House (now the Ministry of Foreign Affairs). We’ll continue to charming Barrio Escalante, one of the oldest residential areas in San Jose. Finish the night with a 3-course meal and wine or beer pairings at a gourmet Costa Rican restaurant.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$74.00
Price varies by group size
From
$74.00
Price varies by group size

Pub Crawl Costa Rica with FREE cocktails & Skip-the-Line Entrance by Carpe Chepe

Pub Crawl Costa Rica with FREE cocktails & Skip-the-Line Entrance by Carpe Chepe

star-5
38
Experience San Jose’s party scene with a pub crawl through the heart of Costa Rica’s capital, and skip the line with an expert guide and a fun crew of fellow travelers. Learn about the city’s history as you walk alongside your guide, drink like a Tico as you tip back house shots at a series of four bars and clubs, then dance, drink and party the night away in the heart of the city.
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  • 4 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$30.00
From
$30.00

Britt Coffee Tour From San José

Britt Coffee Tour From San José

star-3.5
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
From
$57.00
From
$57.00

San Jose: Insider Spots, City Highlights - small groups

San Jose: Insider Spots, City Highlights - small groups

star-4.5
46
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