Originally founded in 1737, San Jose has grown significantly over recent decades and is now one of the largest and most cosmopolitan cities in Central America. Sadly it has lost much of its old colonial heritage and architecture and consequently is fairly unremarkable as a capital city, but remains a welcoming and safe city to visit with plenty of nice hotels, good restaurants and shopping malls.
- Do some serious white water rafting on the Pacuare River
- Watch the bubbling and steaming cauldron of the Poas Volcano
- Hike the trails of the La Paz Gardens to the five beautiful waterfalls
- Learn all about coffee – the planting, production, history and tasting
- See the artisans of Sarchi produce the ornately painted oxcarts
What is perhaps of more interest is the surrounding area of the Central Valley. Despite being home to two thirds of the country’s population, much of it remains beautifully unspoilt and is home to large coffee plantations, butterfly farms, steaming volcanoes, waterfalls, cloud forests and numerous rivers ideal for some superb white water rafting.
There are some lovely rural retreats within easy reach of San Jose airport, so a few days at the start of the holiday spent exploring or merely relaxing in the glorious scenery of the Central Valley is time very well spent and a lovely introduction to the delights of Costa Rica.