Discover the beauty and culture of modern Costa Rican life on a mini San Jose adventure.

You savour San Jose the same way you do a mug of velvety Costa Rican coffee. To really appreciate this Central American gem you need time for all its subtle notes to reveal themselves – plus a friendly local to show you the way. Join us on a stopover in San Jose and discover the city’s historical neighbourhoods and markets jammed with foodie treasures. After having your fill of markets and neoclassical architecture, whiz through the mountains by train to laid back Cartago and explore its colonial streets. If you knew nothing about San Jose when you landed, it’s guaranteed you’ll be best friends when you leave.

San Jose, Costa Rica
San Jose, Costa Rica
Costa Rica
Short Breaks
Physical rating
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 12

Why you'll love this trip

  • Discover the neoclassical architecture of San Jose on a walking tour with a real local.

  • Wander through San Jose’s massive Central Market, tasting exotic fruits and learning the secrets behind a proper cup of Costa Rican coffee.

  • Get active with an included short hike through the mountans, a train ride past tobacco plantations and a guided bike ride through beautiful Cartago.


This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 Jan 2019 to 31 Dec 2019.
View the 2020 itinerary
Hola and welcome to Costa Rica! A welcome pack will be waiting at the hotel including all the information you need for your tour.

With over half the country's population living within its parameters, San Jose is a bustling capital city with lively markets, intriguing museums and a dynamic atmosphere. A good place to start exploring is the main plaza, a fantastic place to get comfy and do some people watching. Artisanal booths are common here and you never know when there'll be a spontaneous art fair. If there's time, perhaps have a look at the Gold Museum and see its amazing collection of indigenous gold art, or head to the outdoor markets at Plaza de la Cultura and Central Market, where you can buy anything from handicrafts to seafood.
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • San Jose - Gold Museum - CRC4490
  • San Jose - Jade Museum - CRC4080
  • San Jose - National Museum - CRC4890
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Rise early and meet your local leader at the Central Market for a food tour. There’s no better place to experience local cuisine than at San Jose’s bustling marketplace, housed in a 120-year old building that’s full to the brim with typical Costa Rican food and drink. Here you can sample local delicacies, learn about the herbs used in local medicines, and hear about the unique chorreado coffee brewing method while sipping on your second (or even third) coffee of the day. The Central Market is an experience that no visitor to San Jose should miss, and with a local guide by your side you’ll unearth all the secrets behind this local treasure.
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • San Jose - San Jose Bites and Sights Tour - Urban Adventures
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Get ready for another early start, this time meeting your local leader in a café across the road from the northeast corner of Espana Park. There’s a lot of ground to cover today so the group will be meeting at 7am sharp. Grab a cup of coffee then take a short stroll to Yellow House nearby. The distinctive building has been used at varying points in time as a presidential residence, meeting place for the Legislative Assembly and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Culture. Continue on to the National Liquor Factory and learn how San Jose’s national drink, guaro, is made from sugar cane juice. Next up, enjoy a quick 10-minute hike into the hills of San Jose and arrive at the Atlantic Railroad, where you’ll hop on a train headed to Cartago. This scenic 45-minute journey travels past the San Jose University campus, through coffee plantations and deeper into the mountains. At the end of the journey lies Cartago, a beautiful historic town where many of the locals still get around by bike – which is what you’ll be doing too! Saddle up and then cruise the streets, stopping to visit the key sites with your leader. Pull up at the Cartago Central Market for another round of delicious local food before catching a local bus back to San Jose. The rest of the afternoon is yours to explore. Perhaps gather together your fellow travellers and celebrate the end of this San Jose stopover with dinner in trendy Barrio Amon.
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • San Jose - Cartago Bike & Train Tour - Urban Adventures
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
This stopover comes to an end today.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast


3 breakfasts


Train, Bicycle


Hotel (3 nights)

Included activities

  • San Jose - San Jose Bites and Sights Tour - Urban Adventures
  • San Jose - Cartago Bike & Train Tour - Urban Adventures

Dates & availability

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There are currently no scheduled departures on our San Jose Stopover trip. If you are interested in other trips in the region visit one of the links below.

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Important notes

1. On Day 1 there are no activities planned so you may arrive at any time. There are no activities planned for the final day so you may depart at any time.
2. This Short Break Adventure is a ‘join in’ departure, which means you are not accompanied by an Intrepid group leader. Instead, our local representative in each location will fill this role. This trip will run with a minimum of one person, so you may be joined by other travellers booked on the same date as you, or you may be on your own.
3. Please be careful when booking flights to/from San Jose; make sure you fly into/out of Juan Santamaría International Airport [SJO]. Please do NOT book flights to/from Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport [SJC] as this is located in California, United States.

Essential trip information

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