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Located in Costa Rica’s lush Central Valley, the country’s capital San José is almost entirely European in flavour.

This is partly due to the influx of Spanish, soon after Costa Rica’s discovery by Christopher Columbus. The tendency, also, for the wealthier classes to travel and study in Europe during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries added to the European influence, which can be seen in the city’s architecture.

Standing in the centre of the country at an elevation of around 1,200 metres, it enjoys an average temperature of 21⁰ C year round, is the home of the main international airport and where the majority of Costa Rican’s live and work. A busy, vibrant Latin American metropolis, it has the country’s pristine natural attractions on its doorstep.

View suggested itineraries

Key info

  • Where: San Jose Province, Costa Rica

Wildlife trips

This location is featured in the following itineraries:

Natural Highlights

An exceptional trip to discover Costa Rica’s abundant birds and wildlife amid its forests, lagoons and beaches. Highlights include the canals of Tortuguero, Arenal’s volcanic landscapes and howler monkeys, spectacular birdwatching in Monteverde’s cloud forests, canopy walkways and idyllic beaches.

  • When to go: Jan-Dec
  • Duration inc. flights: 14 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £2,995 pp
  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea

Cloud Forests & Mountains

Enjoy the beauty and spectacle of Costa Rica's flora and fauna on this fantastic trip encompassing the best of the country. Exploring rainforests and coastlines, the itinerary is designed to introduce you to the incredible variety of birds, wildlife and plant species to be found in Costa Rica.

  • When to go: Jan-Dec
  • Duration inc. flights: 14 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £3,445 pp
  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea

Coast to Coast

Travel from coast to coast to understand Costa Rica’s complex mosaic of ecosystems, with the Caribbean and Pacific coastlines offering a great contrast to the interior’s steamy rainforests. This suggested itinerary visits some of the lesser-known parks and includes some relaxation time on the Pacific coast.

  • When to go: Jan-Dec
  • Duration inc. flights: 15 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £3,395 pp
  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea

Costa Rica Family Adventure

This family trip has plenty of interesting activities to introduce you to tropical wildlife, yet there is also ample time to relax (all hotels have a pool) if you wish. The distances are not great, so you won’t waste time travelling, but have maximum opportunity to enjoy Costa Rica to the full.

  • When to go: Jan-Dec
  • Duration inc. flights: 16 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £3,395 pp
  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea

Pacific Coast Journey

Discover the natural wonders of Costa Rica’s cordillera region and Pacific coastline. From the small yet spectacular Manuel Antonio National Park to the hummingbirds of Monteverde, the trip culminates with a few days at the remote Osa Peninsula, a beautiful natural paradise on the Pacific Coast.

  • When to go: Jan-Dec
  • Duration inc. flights: 13 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £3,595 pp
  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea
Suggested accommodation options are shown below. Please contact us for further recommendations.

Bosque de Paz Lodge

Set in a private reserve just over an hour’s drive northwest of San José, between Juan Castro Blanco and Poás Volcano national parks, this small lodge is in a jungle paradise, surrounded by magnificent cloud forest and rainforest. Consisting of just 12 rooms, it is the perfect stop en route to Sarapiqui.

Hotel Bougainvillea

Situated in a quiet suburb just north of San José, 25 minutes from the international airport and a mere 15 minutes from the city centre, this pleasant hotel makes a good base for exploring the Central Valley. Its extensive gardens are particularly beautiful and attract a variety of birds and frogs.

Hotel Grano de Oro

Situated on a shady side street just off Paseo Colon, San Jose’s main thoroughfare, the Grano de Oro is a true oasis, a peaceful sanctuary in the heart of the city. Originally a tropical Victorian mansion, it is now an elegant and refined boutique hotel, yet still maintains the warmth and comfort of a private home.