How to get to Arenal Volcano from San Jose?
San Jose isn’t Costa Rica’s most beautiful city, but it’s a good place to base yourself while you explore the rest of the country. Take a bus and walking tour to get your bearings in the capital, seeing important landmark buildings like the National Theater and the Art Museum while wandering through bustling markets and public plazas for an intro to Costa Rican culture. Then head out on day trips san best day trips san jose costa rica jose costa rica to experience the rainforests, beaches and wildlife of the rest of the country.
A quick 90-minute drive from the city takes you to Irazu Volcano, the tallest volcano in the country, whose crater lake now fills with bright blue water. The quaint town of Orosi Valley is nearby, and it’s also home to Hacienda Orosi hot springs where you can relax and re-connect with nature. Many tours include a visit to all three of these natural wonders for an exhilarating experience in the heart of the Central Valley.
Arenal Volcano is another must-see for anyone visiting Costa Rica, and there are so many things to do in the surrounding area that you could spend a full or even multiple days here. Visit the crater and the nearby hot springs, waterfalls and nature trails on a combo tour or opt for a rainforest chocolate tour to see how cacao has influenced the history of Costa Rica. You can even visit an organic farm or go on a cooking class for an authentic taste of local life.
If you’re looking for a beach escape without the crowds, Jaco is an excellent choice. The waves here attract surfers and sport fishermen, but there are plenty of other activities to enjoy, too – you can get involved in a zipline tour, or try horseback riding on the beach. You can also take part in white-water rafting here, or simply stroll along the sand and watch the sunset while you sip a cocktail at one of the many bars and restaurants on offer.
Alternatively, you can take a short day trip to a wildlife rescue center for an eye-opening animal encounter. This is a country that’s proud to protect its wildlife, so these kinds of centers are great places to see the native fauna close-up. It’s best to visit these attractions on a weekday, if possible, as weekends can be crowded.
If you prefer a different kind of jungle adventure, check out Rainforest Adventures’ Pacific Aerial Tram for an easy-going ride through the forest canopy that lets you take in the scenery and search for wildlife without much effort. The company will pick you up from your Unique hotel in San Jose so you don’t need to worry about renting a car for the day. The tour is a bit more expensive than some of the others on this list, but it’s definitely worth it for an adrenaline-pumping activity in the heart of the rainforest.