Day tripping overview
Here is a list of some great things to do while you are in Costa RicaThere is so much to do! Of course you can always do nothing – this is YOUR vacation after all 🙂 Here are some ideas:
Poas Volcano is about 1-1.5-hours trip. This is a great trip that runs up through Aluejela and leads you to the top of this wonderful volcano – and if you are lucky you will get a fabulous view into the live fuming crater from the viewing platform! The ride up the volcano will takes you through many coffee plantations and a wonderful cloud forest ecosystem. Take the PanAmerican highway back towards San Jose/ the airport. Get off at the Aluejela exit. Go straight through the city until you see signs for the volcano. Follow those signs all the way to the top. Look for Volcano signs within a few blocks and follow them straight up the mountain. Be sure to bring a sweater or even a fleece with you as the it gets quite cool at the elevation you will be brought to.
La Paz Waterfall Gardens
This breathtaking trip is a just down the road from the Poas summit and makes a great combined day trip with the Volcano. La Paz Waterfall Gardens boasts 5 breathtaking waterfalls that you can walk down in a fabulous cloud forest setting aswell as an aviary, butterfly and hummingbird gardens, and lots more. As you leave Poas, take the first left off the service road (there was a big sign for Churrasco’s, and a little police station on the left when we were there). There is also a sign for the waterfalls, but it faces in the direction for those to see coming up the hill (on the left – or right going down). Go about 4km down the country road and make a left at the gas station. La Paz is another 3-4 km down the road on your left.
Jaco Beach/ The Pacific Ocean
The drive to the beach is quite beautiful with many things to see along the way. Look for a bridge as you get closer to the water that has big crocodiles living under it. There are a few gift shops just before the bridge to park at but of course they are verytourist driven,so there won’t be any bargains. Now that the new highway is complete, your drive is only 35 minutes! Click here to learn more about a day at the beach and how to get there
Carara National Park
A few km past the croc. bridge on the left hand side is the entrance to the Carara National Park (“land of crocodiles”) national park which is one of two places in Costa Rica that is still home to the magnificent scarlet macaw – as well as monkeys, sloths and many other birds and wonderful tropical flora. It’s best to get there early for sightings, but also because it can get quite hot in the afternoon by the beach. So take a hike and hire a wildlife guide – you will be sure to see many critters.
Zoo Ave (ave = bird in Spanish) is a wildlife rescue centre just outside of San Jose, Costa Rica. The zoo takes in sick and wounded birds and treats them for release into the wild. The zoo also rehabilitate birds seized by poachers and runs a successful breeding program.With over 100 species of native birds on display, including rare green and scarlet Macaws and Quetzals, the zoo grounds are packed with towering stands of bamboo, native trees and a wide array of tropical plants and flowers.
Botanical Orchid Garden La Garita. A beautiful orchid garden and nursery. Check out the map on the website,(scroll down on the .website at the visitor info page). The map/directions are from the airport, so just keep in mind you will be traveling from the opposite direction..
La Carata del Toro
About 7km past the small town of Toro Amarillo (or yellow bull – see directions to Bosque de Paz above), this carata or waterfall is a 400m drop that falls deep into a crater in the middle of the forest. There is a platform to the side of the waterfall that you can repel down if you are so inclined, otherwise you can just walk down the trails to the bottom of the falls.
White Water Rafting
Try white water rafting down the Pacuare River !! It is a wonderful full day trip you are sure to remember for a lifetime. We have used Rios Tropicales in the past with great success. The scenery is beautiful and the rapids are challenging but lots of fun! The Pacuare River, with it’s class II, III, and IV rapids ensure a good time is had by all. Rios Tropicales is a great tour operation with experienced guides who will make this experience something you will not soon forget!