Travel Attractions in San Jose and area
San Jose is the capital of Costa Rica and also its big central city. The international airport is here, so most of the tourists pass through the city, but many tourists don't stay, opting to travel from there to other places in the country. This is because San Jose is supposedly boring and not very safe. It's only unsafe compared to the rest of Costa Rica, which is incredibly peaceful. I do recommend staying in the city for a while.
You can safely tour the city in the daytime (though I don't recommend going out at night), or tour the nearby Poás Volcano. Many tours to the volcano leave from San Jose, and some include a tour to one of the many coffee plantations in the the area (Costa Rica is one of the leading coffee manufacturers in the world) one of them is Doka Estate. In the coffee plantations you will hear explanations about the coffee industry of Costa Rica and see demonstrations of how the work is done.
Recommended Hotels in San Jose:
4 Star new modern Hotel. Centrally located. Outdoor pool, hot tub, snack bar and a fitness centre. Air conditioned rooms, mini bar, coffee maker and a flat-screen cable TV. Free Parkink and very good free WiFi.
4 Star Hotel. Located in the heart of San José. Free
breakfast buffet and free WiFi access.
Gym, Spa and 2 large hot tubs. Free Parking.
Luxury hotel near San Jose Airport:
5 Star Luxury Hotel. 2 Outdoor swimming pools, a golf driving range, spa, restaurants.
Downtown San Jose is about 15 minutes’ drive away.
For those who love nature and volcanoes, I recommend going on a tour to Poás volcano as well. This volcano is 2700 metres high and has the largest active volcano crater in the world – 1.5km wide and 300 metres deep. The volcano has erupted 39 times since 1828, and it erupts in geyser form frequently. The mountain's hiking trail starts at the visitor centre of the park and splits into three paths: one leading to the active crater of the volcano, one leading to Botos lagoon, and one a nature trail through the cloud forest on the mountain. The crater is very impressive -- you can actually see volcanic activity and steam coming out of it.
Botos Lagoon is another crater which is no longer active. A beautiful lagoon surrounded with greenery was formed there instead.
On the way to the volcano you will see a great view of the valley where San Jose is. I recommend getting to the volcano in the morning, because after noon the mountain is usually covered in clouds and you can't see the lagoon or the view.
Other recommended tours in the area are to La Paz Waterfall Gardens and to another volcano, Irazu. At 3400, it is the tallest in the country, and has a beautiful sulphuric lagoon in its crater.
La Paz Waterfalls:
I recommend combining the trip to Poás with a visit to the gardens of La Paz Waterfalls, located only a short drive away. These are breathtakingly beautiful gardens and one of the best places in the world to see butterflies, hummingbirds and orchids. The gardens have safe and stylised trails going along the La Paz river which includes 5 big waterfalls. Many visitors to the gardens say that it is exactly what they had envisioned Costa Rica to be – green forests full of birds, butterflies and flowers.