Experience the vibrant heart of Costa Rica on a mini break.

Take four days to find the true Costa Rica on a city escapade in sultry San Jose. Savour a stopover in the country’s capital by discovering the historical neighbourhoods and markets jammed with local treasures and colourful characters. See more of the area by whizzing through the mountains by train to sleepy Cartago and exploring its colonial streets by bike. Let San Jose surprise you with its cultural richness and culinary flair as you get a local look around town.

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Terms & Conditions

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

  • See San Jose the local way with time to get under the skin of this Costa Rican centre. With the best bits organised and plenty of time to explore by yourself, you’ll get to know the real San Jose.

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

  • Get active with an included short hike up the hills of San Jose, a train ride on the Atlantic Railroad and a guided bike ride through the laidback beauty of Cartago.

Is this trip right for you?

  • This trip is what we call a Short Break Adventure – a getaway that’s all organised but doesn’t have the same structure as what you may expect from an Intrepid trip. Each day a small-group day tour is scheduled, you’ll be met by a local representative. Your transfers and accommodation are all taken care of, but you won’t have a group leader or the same travel pals for the duration of your break. The best thing is that these trips run on a join-in basis, which means there’s a minimum of one person to guarantee a departure – so you could get this local knowledge all to yourself!

  • Learn the lingo with an informal lesson in the Spanish language. From Hola to Hasta Luego to the all-important phrases – like how to order a cerveza!

  • Costa Rica is tropical, so expect a hot and humid climate and heavy rain depending on the season. Make sure you protect yourself from the sun and/or rain, wear comfortable, light clothing and stay hydrated – especially when out on walking tours.


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 – ideal for 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 - Pre-Colombian Gold Museum (entrance fee) - USD14
  • San Jose - National Museum (entrance) - USD11
  • San Jose - San Jose By Night: Food and Culture - Urban Adventures - USD74
  • San Jose - The Art of Craft Beer in San Jose - Urban Adventures - USD75
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Rise early and meet your local leader at the Borbons Market for a food tour. There’s no better place to experience local cuisine and the colourful characters that sell it than at some of San Jose’s bustling marketplaces, full to the brim with traditional and fresh 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. Your expert local guide will take you past different stalls, tasting as you go, so you can better understand the coffee and food culture of Costa Rica and unearth all the secrets hidden in the markets. Who knows – you may even have the opportunity to test out the local lingo!
  • 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 another local leader near Espana Park. There’s a lot of ground to cover today so the group will be meeting at 7 am sharp. Grab a cup of coffee and then take a 10-minute hike into the hills of San Jose, arriving at the Atlantic Railroad, where you’ll hop on a train. 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 beautiful Cartago – a historic town where many of the locals still get around by bike, and what you’ll be doing too! Saddle up and then cycle 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 freshen up and get back out into San Jose this evening with dinner in the trendy Barrio Amon.
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • San Jose - Cartago Bike & Train Tour - Urban Adventures
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
With no activities planned for today, you are free to leave the accommodation at any time, provided you comply with the hotel’s internal check-out times.
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

Trip departures are unavailable.

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. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm on Day 1. 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’ group departure, which means you are not accompanied by an Intrepid group leader. Instead, our local representative in each location will fill this role and the configuration of any fellow travellers in the group might change during the trip. 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 Santamaria 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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