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How to Spend 1 Day in Day in San Jose

How to Spend 1 Day in Day in San Jose

Though many travelers rush through San Jose on their way to Costa Rica’s coast and mountains, spending a day in the city opens the gateway to Costa Rican culture. You’ll enjoy vivid artwork, historic architecture, colorful markets, and exciting nightlife. Here’s how to make the most of one day in San Jose.

 

Morning: Discover the City

Wake to the sound of tropical birds, then head out for a morning of exploring Costa Rica’s capital city. Vehicle tours cover more ground, while checking out San Jose on a walking tour is a great way to take in the vibe: Meeting the famously friendly locals is a highlight of many travelers’ time in the country. To get right to the things that interest you most, consider a themed tour that features street art, traditional handicrafts, history, or the lively markets where many residents shop for food.

 

Afternoon: Taste Costa Rica’s Finest

Pause for a simple lunch—San Jose is known for having some of Costa Rica’s best street food—then perk back up with a coffee tour. With coffee plantations just a short drive from downtown San Jose, you can take your cup straight to the source to see how coffee is grown, harvested, processed, and brewed. In season, you might have the chance to get into the fields to do a bit of picking yourself. Once you’ve got the basics, enjoy what may be the freshest coffee of your life.

 

Night: Check out San Jose Nightlife

Join a guide who knows the scene for a night out in San Jose. You can choose a laid-back craft beer crawl, pub tour, or club tour with perks such as skip-the-line admission and free shots. A night out in San Jose doesn’t have to be all about partying, though; Costa Rica has fabulous cuisine, and evening is the time for special meals out, dinner shows, or food tours, which range from the traditional to the contemporary.

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8 Tours and Activities

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San Jose Walking Tour: Food, History and Architecture

San Jose Walking Tour: Food, History and Architecture

star-5
186
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
135
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

Doka Estate Coffee Tour with Butterfly Garden and Bonsai Garden

Doka Estate Coffee Tour with Butterfly Garden and Bonsai Garden

star-4.5
236
Get the inside scoop on a pair of Costa Rica's most famous exports on a combo tour of the Doka Estate coffee plantation. Learn how coffee beans are grown, harvested, and roasted to perfection, and then follow the sticky-sweet journey of sugar cane at a working sugar mill. Finish the flavorful visit with a tour of the estate’s inedible natural treasures, including hundreds of miniature bonsai trees, colorful orchids, and butterflies.
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  • 1 hour 24 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$96.00
From
$96.00

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
47
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

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
$31.20
From
$31.20

San Jose ART Walking Tour - small groups, creative experience

San Jose ART Walking Tour - small groups, creative experience

star-4.5
19
Whether you’re an art collector or enthusiast, you’ll enjoy this tour that explores the contemporary Costa Rican art scene. Visit galleries featuring indigenous works, fashion, paintings, sculptures, furniture, and more, and possibly meet the artists. Along the way, you’ll also catch sight of the local graffiti and learn about the history of the city and its current events.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$32.00
From
$32.00

San Jose Craft Beer Walking Tour with food pairings by Carpe Chepe

San Jose Craft Beer Walking Tour with food pairings by Carpe Chepe

star-5
19
Sample what’s on tap at local breweries on this pub crawl tour in San Jose. Hear about the beer revolution in Costa Rica while you learn about the brewing process and how to pair beer with certain foods. Plus, as you travel between pubs, discover the city's streets at night on this walking tour.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$57.20
From
$57.20